Testing SPAM and Virus Filters

I’ve recently performed a complete upgrade of Open Solutions’ mail servers and I’ve now moved onto doing likewise for one of our ISP customers with a lot of users.

These retrofits include installing virus and SPAM filters to protect both ourselves and the ISP customers but also to stop customers who have infected computers from spewing these emails out.

When everything’s up and appears to be working, I like to test both filtering systems to ensure they’re working. Quoting from eicar:

Using real viruses for testing in the real world is rather like setting fire to the dustbin in your office to see whether the smoke detector is working. Such a test will give meaningful results, but with unappealing, unacceptable risks.

Fortunately, test files exist for virus checkers and SpamAssassin:

  • The EICAR standard anti-virus test file can be found here.
  • SpamAssassin created the GTUBE (Generic Test for Unsolicited Bulk Email) for the same purpose and this can be found here.