Fuzzy check module

The purpose of this module is to verify messages for certain fuzzy patterns that are stored in the fuzzy storage workers. At the same time, this module is responsible for teaching fuzzy storage with message patterns.

Fuzzy patterns

Rspamd utilizes the shingles algorithm to conduct fuzzy matching of messages. This algorithm operates in a probabilistic manner by using word chains as patterns, which helps to filter out spam or ham messages. A detailed description of the shingles algorithm can be found in the research paper.

In Rspamd, we employ trigrams (3-grams) for the shingles algorithm, and we use a set of hash functions, including siphash, mumhash, and others. Currently, Rspamd uses 32 hashes for shingles.

Note that attachments and images are currently not matched against fuzzy hashes. Instead, they are verified by blake2 digests using strict match.

Module outline

# local.d/fuzzy_check.conf
    max_errors = ...; //int: Maximum number of upstream errors; affects error rate threshold
    min_bytes = ...; //int: Minimum number of *bytes* to check a non-text part
    min_height = ...; //int: Minimum pixel height of embedded images to check using fuzzy storage
    min_length = ...; //int: Minimum number of *words* to check a text part
    min_width = ...; //int: Minimum pixel width of embedded images to check using fuzzy storage
    retransmits = ...; //int: Maximum number of retransmissions for a single request
    revive_time = ...; //float: Time (seconds?) to lapse before re-resolving faulty upstream
    symbol = "default symbol"; //string: Default symbol for rule (if no flags defined or matched)
    text_multiplier = ...; //float: Multiplier for bytes limit when checking for text parts
    timeout = ...; //time: Timeout to wait for a reply from a fuzzy server, e.g. 1s, 2m, 5h
    whitelist = "..."; //string: Whitelisted IPs map

    rule { //Fuzzy check rule
        algorithm = "..."; //string: rule hashing algo
        encryption_key = "..."; //string: Base32 value for the protocol encryption public key
        fuzzy_key = "..."; //string: Base32 value for the hashing key (for private storages)
        fuzzy_map = { //object: Map of SYMBOL -> data for flags configuration
            max_score = ... ; //int: Maximum score for this flag
            flag = ... ; //int: Flag number (ordinal)
        fuzzy_shingles_key = "..."; //string: Base32 value for the shingles hashing key (for private storages)
        headers = "..."; //array: Headers that are used to make a separate hash
        learn_condition = "..."; //string: Lua script that returns boolean function to check whether this task should be considered when training fuzzy storage
        max_score = ...; //int: Max value for fuzzy hash when weight of symbol is exactly 1.0 (if value is higher, then the score is still 1.0)
        mime_types = "..."; //array: Set of mime types (in form type/subtype, or type/*, or *) to check with fuzzy
        min_bytes = ...; //int: Override module default min bytes for this rule
        read_only = ...; //boolean: If true then never try to train this fuzzy storage
        servers = "..."; //string: List of servers to check (or train)
        short_text_direct_hash = ...; //boolean: Use direct hash for short texts
        skip_hashes = "..."; //string: Whitelisted hashes map
        skip_unknown = ...; //boolean: If true then ignores unknown flags and does not add the default fuzzy symbol
        symbol = "..."; //string: Default symbol for rule (if no flags defined or matched)

Module configuration

The fuzzy_check module has several global options, including:

  • min_bytes: minimum length of attachments and images in bytes to check them in fuzzy storage
  • min_height: minimum pixel height of images to be checked
  • min_length: minimum length of text parts in words to perform fuzzy check (default - check all text parts)
  • min_width: minimum pixel width of images to be checked
  • retransmits: maximum retransmissions before giving up
  • symbol: default symbol to insert (if no flags match)
  • timeout: timeout to wait for a reply, e.g. 1s, 2m, 5h
  • whitelist: IPs in this list bypass all fuzzy checks


# local.d/fuzzy_check.conf
# the following are defaults in 1.9.4
fuzzy_check {
    min_bytes = 1k; # Since small parts and small attachments cause too many FP
    timeout = 2s;
    retransmits = 1;
    rule {...}

A fuzzy rule is defined as a set of rule definitions. Each rule is required to have a servers list for checking or teaching (training), along with a set of flags and optional parameters.

The servers parameter defines upstream object that can be configured to rotate or shard as needed. Sharding is performed based on the hash value itself.

The available parameters include:

  • algorithm: rule hashing algo; one of: fasthash (or just fast), mumhash, siphash (or old) or xxhash. The default value is mumhash currently.
  • encryption_key: Base32 value public key to perform wire encryption
  • fuzzy_map: Map of SYMBOL -> data for flags configuration
  • fuzzy_key: Base32 value for the hashing key (for private storages).
  • learn_condition: An Lua script that returns a boolean function to check whether this task should be considered when training fuzzy storage
  • max_score: float value: score threshold for this rule’s activation/trigger
  • mime_types: array or list of acceptable mime-type regexs for this rule. Can be: ["*"] to match anything
  • read_only: set to no to enable training, set to yes for no training
  • servers: list of servers to check or train
  • short_text_direct_hash: whether to check the exact hash match for short texts where fuzzy algorithm is not applicable.
  • skip_unknown: whether or not to ignore unmatched content; if true or yes then ignore unknown flags and does not add the default fuzzy symbol
  • symbol: the default symbol applied for a rule.

Here is an example rule:

# local.d/fuzzy_check.conf
  # List of servers. Can be an array or multi-value item
  servers = "";

  # List of additional mime types to be checked in this fuzzy ("*" for any)
  mime_types = ["application/*"];

  # Maximum global score for all maps combined
  max_score = 20.0;

  # Ignore flags that are not listed in maps for this rule
  skip_unknown = yes;

  # If this value is false (i.e. no), then allow learning for this fuzzy rule
  read_only = no;

  # Fast hash type
  algorithm = "mumhash";
  # This is used for binary parts and for text parts (size in bytes)
  min_bytes = 1024;
  # Text parts only: minimum number of words
  min_length = 64;
  # Divide min_bytes by 4 for texts
  text_multiplier = 4.0,

  # Minimum dimensions for images (in pixels)
  min_height = 500;
  min_width = 500;

  # Scan all archives mime parts (e.g. zip attachments)
  scan_archives = true;
  # If part has num words < min_length, use direct hash instead of fuzzy
  short_text_direct_hash = true;

  # Apply fuzzy logic for text parts
  text_shingles = true;
  # Skip images if needed
  skip_images = false;

Each rule can have several fuzzy_map values, ordered by an ordinal flag value. A single fuzzy storage can contain both good and bad hashes that should have different symbols, and thus, different weights. To accommodate these varying needs, multiple fuzzy_maps can be defined within a fuzzy rule, as follows:

# local.d/fuzzy_check.conf
rule "FUZZY_LOCAL" {
fuzzy_map = {
    # Maximum weight for this list
    max_score = 20.0;
    # Flag value
    flag = 1
    max_score = 10.0;
    flag = 2
    max_score = 2.0;
    flag = 3

Based on the information provided above, we can deduce that email messages accumulating a max_score above 20.0 will be assigned the FUZZY_DENIED mapping, thus being categorized as spam.

However, the concept of max_score can be somewhat ambiguous. It’s important to note that all hashes in the fuzzy storage have individual weights. For instance, if we have a hash A that has been marked as spam by 100 users, then its weight will be 100 * single_vote_weight. Consequently, if the single_vote_weight is 1, the final weight will be 100.

In the context of fuzzy rules, max_score refers to the weight that must be achieved by a rule in order for it to add its symbol to the maximum score of 1.0 (which is then multiplied by the metric value’s weight). For example, if the weight of a hash is 100 and the max_score is set to 20, then the rule will be added with a weight of 1. However, if the max_score is set to 200, the rule will be added with a weight likely calculated through hyperbolic tangent as 0.2.

In the following configuration:

metric {
    name = "default";
    symbol {
        name = "FUZZY_DENIED";
        weight = "10.0";
fuzzy_check {
    rule {
    fuzzy_map = {
        FUZZY_DENIED {
            # Maximum weight for this list
            max_score = 20.0;
            # Flag value
            flag = 1

If a hash has value 10, then a symbol FUZZY_DENIED with weight of 2.0 will be added. If a hash has value 100500, then FUZZY_DENIED will have weight 10.0.

Training fuzzy_check

Module fuzzy_check is not only able to check messages for fuzzy patterns, but it can also learn from them. To accomplish this, you can use the rspamc command or connect to the controller worker using HTTP protocol. For learning, you must check the following settings:

  1. Controller worker should be accessible by rspamc or HTTP (check bind_socket)
  2. Controller should allow privileged commands for this client (check enable_password or secure_ip settings)
  3. Controller should have fuzzy_check module configured to the servers specified
  4. You should know fuzzy_key and fuzzy_shingles_key to operate with this storage
  5. Your fuzzy_check module should have fuzzy_map configured to the flags used by server
  6. Your fuzzy_check rule must have read_only option turned off (read_only = false)
  7. Your fuzzy_storage worker should allow updates from the controller’s host (allow_update option)
  8. Your controller should be able to communicate with fuzzy storage by means of the UDP protocol

If all these conditions are met, then you can teach rspamd messages with rspamc:

rspamc -w <weight> -f <flag> fuzzy_add ...

or delete hashes:

rspamc -f <flag> fuzzy_del ...

you can also delete a hash that you find in the log output:

rspamc -f <flag> fuzzy_delhash <hash-id>

On learning, rspamd sends commands to all servers inside a specific rule. On check, rspamd selects a server in a round-robin manner.

Usage of the feeds provided by rspamd.com

By default, rspamd.com feeds are enabled. However, if you decide to use these feeds, it’s important to ensure that you comply with the free usage policy. Failure to do so may result in being blocked from using the service. In such cases, the special FUZZY_BLOCKED symbol will be assigned to the messages in question. It’s worth noting that this symbol has no weight and will not affect any mail processing operations.