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Scot

What Do You Fight Spam With?

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Scot

Hey, everyone. There are a lot of people out there looking for a utility that can help them fight spam. Many are looking for a better one than they have now. Some are just looking for anything that will work! This topic is meant for us to share ideas about current and future antispam products and services.So drop a quick note here. Tell us the name of your product, provide a URL (web link) to it (just copy and paste it into your post), and tell us why you like it. Also, be sure to let us know whether it's for a specific email program (such as Outlook) or whether it's a separate client that works for all email programs. We're looking for Windows and Linux solutions!I'll start. I'm not in love with it, but I use Spamnix 1.0 Build 43:http://www.spamnix.com/It's a content-filter program based on the SpamAssassin open source database. Spamnix is exclusively for Eudora under Windows, although a Mac version is under development. The program's integration with Eudora is first-rate. Its primary weakness is the SpamAssassin content filter it's based on. Scot's Newsletter, for example, is tagged as spam by this tool about 50% of the time. Still, it's the best antispam product out there for Eudora, that I'm aware of.For more info about Spamnix, see my review of it:http://www.scotsnewsletter.com/37.htm#review1So I told you about mine. What's your favorite antispam tool? :o -- Scot

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havnblast

Currently, all I am running for an e-mail program is Microsoft Outlook XP and I installed "iHate Spam", which can be found at Sunbelt Software iHateSpam. There are two versions available one for Microsoft Outlook and one for Outlook Express. Overall it is like filter program that creates 3 folders and when it recognizes spam it delivers them out of your inbox and into one of the 3 folders, where you can view or delete them. You are able to bounce e-mail back to the sender and it is has quite a few options. I do notice at times that the program will cause MS Outlook to hang on startup and you have to close it out and restart it to get it going and it may take several restarts to get it to go. It's not a bad program and will continue to use it, now if I could find something for linux I would happy.I have not tried spamnix, but I will check it out. :o

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Scot

I sure hope some of these antispam companies come out with versions for Eudora. I'd really like to try IHateSpam and some of these others. I have some friends at Sunbelt Software, i kinda got the sense that they're not thinking much about Eudora or other "second tier" e-mail packages. :o

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Stryder

The best way I found to fight spam is to follow this formula. 1. Do not use your ISP email except for family, friends and business contacts. Be sure to let the previously mentioned know not to give that email addy out to any site what so ever. 2. Set up a "throw away" email account threw yahoo, hotmail, etc. Use this account when any website wants email info. Also inform your friends and family of this "throw away" account so if there is some site that they feel you just have to see the funny picture, or cute greeting card, or great news story, etc., that they can insert that email addy into the "send to" field. My grandmother is the worst about putting my email addy into everything that she wants me to see. I am sure we all have one of these in our families. This is a great way for them to get to send you the site and your "REAL" email to remain spam free.3. Whether it is a "throw away" or your "REAL" email account, never open spam. If you do not know who the sender is, delete it immediately. A lot of spam now-a-days sends a message back to the sender upon opening to help them analyze what "Subjects" got people to read their junk. Lets not inadvertently help them improve their tactics.If you follow those three rules, you should cut down the spam from your "REAL" email addy by 99%.

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quark

There's spam fighters for the big guys, and then there's spam fighters for the rest of us.I don't get overwhelmed with email, so I'm able to use Mailwasher to preview my mail. I never download my onto any of my computers without first using Mailwasher to see if it's legit. (I do not use Mailwasher's auto spam identifying system to automatically delete mail identified as spam--I want to reserve deletion for myself.Okay, Scot's had enough of Mailwasher. My wife uses Mailcall to do the same.Again, the basic rule is--catch it before it gets to your computer. And if you can't catch it, don't open it. (I'll bet 75% of the problem with viruses and other malacious emails come from people who run Outlook or Outlook Express with the default two-pane configuration, which is basically a welcome mat for malicious mail.Quark outLower Umpqua Addictive Conundrum Institute

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Ugly

I had a spam problem, likely caused by someone getting my address from a Monster or HotJobs posting.MailWasher solved it.No more spam after two weeks of use and still spam-free eight weeks later.best fishes, Ugly

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drullens

Hi y'all, I still use the first anti-spam tool I installed a while ago. Thanks for that to Scott, because I first read about it in his newsletter. It's SpamNet by Cloudmark. It works great for me and has never failed. Updates are provided automatically and the user community keeps the anti-spam database/signatures/rules very up to date. Should a spam message stay in you inbox, you can block it and it gets submitted to the database.As far as I know it only works for Outlook, but if you are an admin for a company, they also have a product called Cloudmark Authority which filters out spam before it gets to the MTA of your internal company mailserver.You can find out all about it at: http://www.cloudmark.comGood luck and keep posting!Dave

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shfwilf

I use Mailwasher, Spamnix, and Eudora. I screen everything using Mailwasher (as Scott notes, not perfect) and make sure to send bounces when I can. Thishelps, but it takes time to have an effect. Over several months, I have noticed my spam volume decreasing slowly.I then use Mailwasher to start Eudora, which has Spamnix attached. Spamnix generally gets everything that Mailwasher(or I!) have missed. I use Eudora because I consider Outlook to be a trojan magnet, and I really do NOT care aboutseeing mail in HTML format, although this can be enabled in Eudora.Anything that gets through all this goes directly to Spamcop. I hate spam.

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Alanmuk

I have used several options in the past: various programs that hook into Eudora (my preferred mail client), or work separately from it. By far the most effective and easy to use is PopFile.http://popfile.sourceforge.net/PopFile is an Open Source automatic mail classification tool. It uses Bayesian filtering to learn what spam is, and then simply adds a header - 'X-Text-Classification' to the email, and passes it through to your email client. You then use your email client's filter capabilities to file off anything with X-Text-Classification=spam to a spam folder, and bob's your uncle.Training the software is simple, and even though I started out with 13 different email classifications and chopped it down to 2 (Work and Spam), it only took about 100 emails to learn the difference. I am currently getting 96.96% (and rising) accuracy on classification with the 2 buckets, and even when I had 13, it was 96%. :blink:It is extremely stable, and runs on both Windows and Unix/Linux, as it is simply a collection of Perl scripts. A windows installer is available for download along with the Unix/Linux version.POPFile is currently (18 March 2003) the 4th most active project on Sourceforge, and the guys steering the project are a dedicated and friendly bunch.I liked it so much I donated $20 to the authors (John Graham-Cumming) donation link.Try it. You'll like it :DrgdsAlan

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dchaney

Ihave a very complex and ongoing battle plan.I have used the same email address for the last 5+ years. And as such I average over 200 spams a day.I use pobox.com for a permanent email provider. They have spam filters in place. I forward my email to a web based provider (with pop support), www.fastmail.fm. They also use spam filters. Anything that gets tagged as spam from BOTH pobox.com and Fastmail is AUTOMATICALLY rejected by a filters that I have setup on Fastmail.I also set filters up to move tagged spam that is only tagged by one of the two. They are moved into SPAM folders that I check for false positives every few days. No lie, not counting what is automatically rejecected, my Fastmail spam folder gets about 100 messages a day. Then my pobox.com folder gets about 10.Anything not tagged by spam from one of the two methods on fastmail goes to my inbox for download via POP.On both of my primary computers that I POP from I run Spam Pal. I great little program that catches about 80-90% of all remaining spam.And then on my home PC since I am currently using OL, I also use SpamNet.There, does that make sense? It sounds difficult but it works pretty well.If questions, please ask.David M. Chaney

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Scot
I have some friends at Sunbelt Software, i kinda got the sense that they're not thinking much about Eudora or other "second tier" e-mail packages.
Update on this post I made a little earlier. I talked to Alex Eckelberry, Sunbelt's president. They are thinking about other clients (besides OE and Outlook) for IHateSpam. I hope they're not alone in thinking this way. All I've been getting is hollow promises from a lot of these companies for six months now. The only thing that seems to rate is Microsoft email clients. :ph34r: -- Scot

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brainstem

Let's try a different vein. How do you avoid spam? I'm using the free spamgourmet.com web site. Best thing since sliced spam.When I drop my email addresses all over the web I just give them my spamgourmet email address. I can set a counter as to how many emails I will allow this company to send me before they start getting bounces.Question: It's probably a conculsion that replying to "remove me"'s don't work, or even make the problem worse. Has anyone had experience in going to a spammers web site and changing your email address to a bogus one? I realize some spam have no linkback for this feature, but other ligit places might. Any success?- Brainstem

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jonny_boy

I am an Outlook user so have tried a few of the ones mentioned above. I enjoyed IHateSpam but decided not to pay for the product after the trial was up in the hope of finding a free solution that worked as well for me.The solution I am currently using and would highly recommend is Spammunition which uses the Bayesian filtering technique which you can read up on at this site.For me it has been very effective and captures over a 1,000 spam messages a month for me while leaving very few spam blasts in my Inbox. I will say it captures the occasional legit email but with the whitelist address and subject feature you can tweak it to minimize those occurences.It is in beta still and is a personal project of the author so he works on it as time permits. The next feature he is working on is a big one in my book. Currently, you run an analysis on your legit mail boxes and the Spam folder and it calculates all the percentages for the words, etc. Currently, you need to leave the spam in the Spam folder for this to work but he is working on setting it up so that you will be able to delete the Spam permantently. Anyways, I thought I would share this excellent free product. Unfortunately it doesn't work with Outlook Express or any other email packages but hopefully those of you who use Outlook 2000 and up will appreciate it as much as I have.

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crp

I use a combination of procmail recipies and bogofilter.Whats that? Well, my recommedation is that you (and get your work place as well) get an ISP that provides shell access on a Unix/Linux box. Our workplace has sendmail running on RedHat7.2 , and I am able to setup many filters to keep out spam, including many RBL's . I know Scot :ph34r: on RBL's , but the ones I use are pretty intelligent. They haven't blocked newsletter from Scot :angry:

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LilBambi

I use the built in filtering in Outlook Express in conjunction with block sender and reading the message source to determine what's spam and what's not and filter accordingly. I just find it better to do it myself.I have not found a 'spamfilter' that does as good a job as I can with the filtering. This is mainly because as a webmaster of websites, I have quite a few emails that I monitor and have most of them already filtered into specific folders and spam filters would mess up my filing system :ph34r:

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dicknite

I use Spamnix, same version as Scot. I too am not totally satisfied with it, but it IS the latest and greatest for Eudora.I have the threshold limit (the ranking where Spamnix decides it's spam) set to 3.5 now, from a default of 5.0, and am seeing only 3 or 4 spams make it through to my inbox. The false-positive problem is still an issue, with one or two a week, but I catch those.Spamnix edits the spam messages with a note at the bottom listing all the reasons it tagged the message, and then sets up a filter in Eudora that checks for the Spamnix verbage - if it's there, it gets filtered. I modified the filter to send all the Spamnix messages to the Trash folder and label the messages as "Spamnixed" so that I can quickly eyeball those messages and see if I recognize any names - if not, poof!With over 300 emails coming in every day, I need something like this to do some of the work for me. This, along with the filtering abilities of Eudora and my own domain so I can use site-specific email addresses when putting an address out on the web (Same as having throw-away accounts elsewhere), has cut my email processing from about 3 hours a day down to 1 to 1.5.d|:^)Dick

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Scot

Hey, Dick. In the previous build of SpamAssassin that Spamnix used, I used a threshold of 5.0, and I was seeing a lot of false positives. Then Spamnix opted for a newer build of SpamAssassin, and suddenly the opposite was true. Many fewer false positives, but a lot more spam started coming through. So a future upgrade could turn the tables again.I'm at 4.6 on the threshold scale, but I've been meaning to twist it down. If anyone else is using Spamnix, and you've adjusted your threshold, what is your setting, and how is it working?-- Scot

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Guest ThunderRiver

My policy with spam is that when I see one, don't click it. Also, I have made an archive of all my emails, including spams as well.It actually serves me one main purpose. Creating a nice statistics of how much spam has grown over a period of time. So far the data has been interesting. I don't actually worry about spam fighting. My college has a built-in spam detector, which automatically marks out the ones that are spam. It hasn't quite working for me yet, but it is improving I suppose.Here is the info of the spam detecting tools my college uses.X-Scanned-By: MIMEDefang 2.26 (www . roaringpenguin . com / mimedefang)

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ibe98765

I struggled for years with Outlook rules, trying to use them (unsuccessfully) to control spam. So a while back, I set out to try some of the spam filter programs like MailWasher, etc. Most didn't work all that well, were difficult to use, crashed regularly or required constant manual attention. Then I stumbled on Spam Weasel (SW).SW takes some time to configure/tune and it is not a program for novices. You have to figure out how to setup the rules to make them work well and you have to manually add additional filtering keywords in the right places/formats to catch the spam directed to you. I've also built some of my own filters and rule extensions on top of what is provided in the base program using the scripting language. To use SW, you make an easy change to your POP3 mail settings and enable the SW proxy. SW retrieves your email from the server and parses each one according to the rules you have set up. You can set up 5 categories and each rule ties into one of them. When spam is identified, it is saved in a daily archive file outside of the email client. Each category has its own daily archive folder. You can also specify if the mail in a category gets passed to Outlook or not. At first, I set up multiple categories and passed some of the possible spam to Outlook. Now I don't pass anything back to Outlook and just review the archives now and then to see if any non-spam got mistakenly identified. I run an 866 machine with 256mb and Win2k Pro. I don't notice any resource impact from using SW.I am getting 100% spam filtering (about 25-35 spam messages daily). False positives are rare and when I get one, I add that email address to my "friendly filters" to send it immediately to Outlook. Now, I don't have to do maintenance at all. If I do find a false positive, it is easy to send it to Outlook through drag & drop in the SW archive viewer.Spam Weasel is free at http://www.mailgate.com. The authors are developing a shareware version, for release in mid-2003.

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davecol

I used to get a lot of SPAM, and tried a few different solutions.I was surprised to discover that McAfee's SpamKiller was just what I needed. The interface is a little clunky, but it works more or less straight out of the box, without having to do anything.Nowadays I get one or two a day - a vast improvement!Dave CollinsSharewarePromotions Ltd - Be Seen Be Soldweb site: http://www.sharewarepromotions.com

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Guest ThunderRiver

Well, does your SPAM detection tool automatically deletes spam off the POP3/IMAP server or what? Or does it mark the email as spam and let you check and see if it is truly a spam or not?''I personally don't trust spam detection tools that delete emails for you because it might some how marks the wrong one and delete important messages that I am not aware of

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Keith2468

I use spamcop. It is at spamcop.net -- spamcop.com is a totally different content based filter, and spamcop.org seems to be a squatter.Things to know about spamcop.net. While spamcop.net generates the spamcop blacklist (BL) spamcop is not the spamcop blacklist.The spamcop BL is driven by spam complaints made to spamcop by paying members and registered free members. The methodology of getting on the BL has changed quite a bit in the past year. As of 2 weeks ago it now requires a minimum of 2 complaints to get an IP address blacklisted. The blacklist is constantly updated, and ISPs who use it generally set up to accept the continuous updates.Here is a link that explains how the blacklist is maintained:http://mailsc.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/297.htmlNow, about how I use use spamcop.net to filter my email ...http://mailsc.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/289.htmlYou can set spamcop to use a combination of the spamcop black list, a variety of open mail relay black lists, and country based blacklists to filter your email.Filtered mail isn't bounced, but is held for 2 weeks for review.So I have the spamcop BL filter, and some far east country filters turned on. (I don't know anyone in the far east, and the companies there, I white list when I see their mail being held.)You can forward your old email addresses to your spamcop account for filtering, and either read the filtered mail on spamcop (as webmail), or have it forwarded to a new pop3 email account.You can start giving out your new spamcop email address. You can also create compound addresses, like BobSmith+SNL@spamcop.net. Everything after the "+" is up to you. The "+SNL" means I can track what Scot's Newletter does with my email address.At least once every 2 weeks, users go and check their filtered (held) email. You review the email, release that which isn't spam, and report that which is spam (to drive the filters). When you release the spam you can also white list the sender. In the options you can also whitelist domains, and email address patterns (from the left). Reporting spam helps drive the spamcop BL, and reports complaints to the spammers ISP, and upstream ISPs. I find reporting spam to be a bit of an emotional release. I do it once or twice a day. ;)Also, spamcop.net does a virus and worm scan of your email.I like spamcop very much. I think I'm paying US$3 per month for it.The spamcop BL holds 95% of my spam, the country filters hold another 2%, and it only holds maybe 2% of real mail as suspected spam.You can also use spamcop.net for free, just to report spam, or just to find the abuse email address. That helps drive the spamcop BL, and reports complaints to the spammers ISP, and upstream ISPs.http://mailsc.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/285.html

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ibe98765
Well, does your SPAM detection tool automatically deletes spam off the POP3/IMAP server or what? Or does it mark the email as spam and let you check and see if it is truly a spam or not?''I personally don't trust spam detection tools that delete emails for you because it might some how marks the wrong one and delete important messages that I am not aware of
Hi - It's not clear what post you are referring to but since your reply is one post away from mine, I'll take a shot.Spam Weasel does a normal download of mail. It parses the mail after the download and then routes that which passes the filter checks (whitelist, whatever) to the POP3 client. I use Outlook, but it should work with Eudora, etc. The bad mail is kept in a Spam Weasel archive that you can puruse. If you find something that isn't spam, you drag it to a "pending" queue from which it is sent back to your POP3 client in full glory (correct format, all attachments, etc.). You should then update your filters or add the sender to your whitelist.You can view the bad emails in text format in the archive. There is also a seperate log file kept of every email, good or bad. A new log file and archive file is created daily.To date, I have accumulated around 40MB of spam mail (including headers and attachments. When I get enough, I will archive to a CD. One day this crap will be worth big money! So many spammers include emails of others that I could harvest and start my own spam biz :)

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muckshifter

Interesting ... I do not use any "spam killers" but then I don't get much spam. One or two a day on average.Am I lucky? Is my ISP filtering spam? I don't know!Keep the posts coming folks. :)

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dobhar

I used to only get SPAM once or twice a month but that has started to increase to one or two per week. I now use Mailwasher Pro Ver. 3.0 and am quite impressed with it.I also use information that I get from Scott's and other newsletters plus some great web sites to help protect my Mailbox and my PC from SPAM and SPYWARE...

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eksimba

I use SpamNet by Cloudmark with Outlook. It seems to work pretty well, though it's still officially in beta. It's biggest drawback is also its greatest strength; for even though it uses a database built by a community of users who collectively brand messages as Spam, I'm amazed at how many of my opt-in newsletters get labeled as Spam. I don't think Scot's Newsletter has ever gotten dropped in the spam folder, but many other newsletters I get do.There is a capability to whitelist particular senders with SpamNet, but I haven't used it yet because I am curious about how many of these opt-in newsletters get labeled as false-positives. It seems to be a common practice to opt-in, decide you don't want the newsletter anymore, and then brand it as Spam instead of taking the time to cancel the subscription...All in all, though, I like SpamNet.

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LilBambi

My personal email account is with a company that recently started using SpamCop. I have to tell you, I wasn't impressed when they first started using it. It caused more problems than it solved. Many valid emails where being bounced back at friends because their ISP had their email virus checked at a central location and that location had somehow been blacklisted (or something like that, who knows for sure). It was a big mess.That particular situation has since been resolved, at least until someone goes and complains again.I have not seen too many spams recently in my personal mail box now that SpamCop has finally settled in. But I always wonder what I am not getting that I should. I think I might go take a look at my web based personal email client to see if these emails are bounced entirely or put into a box that I can get to to review them.Recently a spam filter was made available for some other email accounts that I monitor, but I have not enabled them and I don't think I will.If I can't get the emails here to sort through and decide for myself which ones I don't want, there is always a chance that a perfectly good email will be squashed.If something is definitely spam, I use the block sender in OLE and I never see anything from that Bozo spammer again. Other emails that I wouldn't technically call spam, I just delete them but don't bounce them.Because of the antivirus issues with OLE's Preview Pane, I use the Message Source to help when it comes to identifying unexpected mail of any kind, or mail that has attachments.

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Big Jeff

On average, I get about 3-5 spam emails a day. Not a serious problem but annoying nonetheless. What I wanted was a freeware notifier that would allow me to preview and delete spam from the POP3 server before I d/l'd the good mail with my email client. Sure enough, I found one at my favorite place to start a search for safe freeware solutions: Nonags.com. So, for the last few weeks I've been using PP MailCheck v1.7. I haven't tried any of the solutions mentioned in this thread, so I can't compare/contrast but I'll list some of the features:

  • Doesn't interfere in any way with the default email client but places a shortcut to the client on its toolbar.
  • Checks for mail at any interval you choose, automatically.
  • Manages up to 12 accounts.
  • Preview email on the server (POP3 only) and delete it or add the address, domain, or keywords/phrases to the spam filter.
  • Reply to or write and send simple emails.
  • Customize the UI and easy configuration of options.
  • Create and save event logs.
  • It even copies itself to a floppy so it can be used to check your mail from anywhere.

So far it works well for me but YMMV.

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eksimba
:D Has anybody read about "MailBlocks"? I read a C|Net news article about it, and it seems to be an 'interesting' way of avoiding spam, as long as you agree to receive some spam from MailBlocks itself. It seems to me to be less of an anti-spam tool than an "authorized spam concentrator". That's not how they are marketing it, though. :D Make sure you read their Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to see what I mean.

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LilBambi

From what I could see from their privacy policy and terms of service, they do have 3rd parties that THEY give your infomation to and they have no responsibility to insure that these 3rd parties do what is appropriate with that information.And you will receive information from their chosen 3rd parties, through them, I guess.All in all, if I was in the market for hand-picked spam ... then and only then would I actually pay for this 'service.' :D

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