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Beginners Guides: Stopping Spam e-Mails

Beginners Guides: Stopping Spam e-Mails - PCSTATS
Abstract: According to one recent opinion, over 45% of all email sent over the Internet is unwanted and uninvited.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Nov 27 2006   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Spam Blocking/Filtering Software

There are many, many commercial and freeware spam blocking software packages available. spam blocking is a common concern, especially for businesses that run their own servers and are seeing precious bandwidth and storage space eaten up by awaiting unsolicited commercial email. For this reason, many high profile software companies like Symantec have weighed in with commercial spam blocking solutions.

Generally these software packages will give you the option to delete spam outright or funnel it into a 'junk' mail folder. To identify spam, they use one of three methods: Blocking spam by examining the contents of the email for words and combinations of words that indicate spam, blocking spam by using an updateable list of known spam senders or blocking all email that does not come from approved sources ('whitelisting').

The major issue with all spam-blocking software is false positives. In an ideal world, your software would delete all spam before it even got to your inbox, and many current programs are capable of doing just that. The trouble is, they will also inevitably munch some email that you actually wanted to receive. The solution to this, as it seems to be with all methods of spam filtering, is to funnel the suspected spam into a separate folder where it can be checked occasionally without interfering with workflow.

While there are too many spam-fighting programs available for us to give how-to's on each one, most offer free trial periods so you can get a sense of how they will work with your computer. Also some free web browser alternatives to Internet Explorer (like Mozilla) offer built in spam filtering that is a bit more robust than the options included with Outlook Express.

Some examples of commercial antispam software include:

Norton Antispam 2004

Stata Lab's Saproxy Pro

Giant's spam Inspector 4

And Freeware antispam software:

Extravalent's POPFile

Using POPFile and Outlook Express message rules to filter out spam email

As POPFile is one of the more popular and mature open source mail filtering software packages, we thought we'd give a quick tutorial on setting it up to sort your mail. Note that this tutorial is not intended to replace reading the POPFile manual, and we recommend you do that as well.

POPFile works by analyzing your mail before it reaches your mailbox, then assigning it to a category (bucket) depending on the contents of the message. It needs to be taught by the user to recognize what is or is not spam at first, but it will 'learn' from the choices you make and gradually become more efficient and independent.

Note that while POPFile can be set to quarantine certain messages, it will not otherwise interfere with the email reaching your client. It is a sorting program only, so it is good if you are signed up to several newsletters which might otherwise stop being received if they have to be manually authenticated. If you want something specific done with the email than POPFile classifies as spam, for example, you will have to create message rules to do this. Fortunately, POPFile can attach 'tags' to the subject line of suspect emails so it is easy to sort them out. Let's take a look at how to do all this...

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Stopping Spam e-Mails
 Pg 2.  What Makes Spam Tick?
 Pg 3.  Techniques to Avoiding Spam
 Pg 4.  How to institute message rules
 Pg 5.  Filtering with Message Rules
 Pg 6.  — Spam Blocking/Filtering Software
 Pg 7.  Working with POPfile

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