Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Scot

What Do You Fight Spam With?

Recommended Posts

MailWasherPro. But then, I don't open any email from people I don't know and I don't 'surf' to places other than the 17 Forums and 2 game sites that are listed in my 'trusted zone' in IE ! :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've added SpamAssassin to our mailserver using a custom written Sendmail milter. It's part of a product so worth the effort. In this environment, SpamAssassin just scores the e-mail and the clients filter based on the score. It's not perfect and the amount of missed spam seems to be increasing. I think the SpamAssassin rules need regular updating and tweaking.Is there a content filter that adapts over time as the Spammers adapt?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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
I second that motion!I've tried many anti-spam programs with varying degrees of success, but even the best wasn't worth it (to me).A few weeks ago I installed POPfile... and have been both surprised and pleased with its results. Surprised at how fast it "learns" how to identify spam; pleased at how little extra work it takes to accomplish it.You DO have to "train" the system, but it's pretty quick and easy... nice web interface, too. I have it set up to tag suspected spam and Outlook puts it into a separate folder. Not only have I simplified my inbox... but I'm no longer EXPOSED to the filthy, graphic emails nor have to wade through the repetitive appeals to refinance my mortgage, etc.I am now getting about 97% accuracy and receive about 500 emails a week (and multiple email addresses).Try it. HIGHLY recommended.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.
When I read Alan's post I thought "You've got to be kidding... how can you say POPFile is easy to use?" I'd looked at it before and put it in the too-hard basket. Then I re-read what Alan had to say, and decided to try it again (who says I'm not flexible?). Also, Scot had mentioned that it was more effective than MailWasher, which I had been using for quite a while. I had found MW to be very good for my needs, and I was happy with it.Well, surprise, surprise... when I persevered and got POPFile working properly, it was magnificent. It IS easy to use once it's set up, and it learns quickly. I've only been using it for a few days, but already it's making only one or two mistakes a day (I receive around 20 - 50 emails per day, and often 70-80% are spam). I think the only criticism I'd have of POPFile is that I end up with the spam emails on my computer, from where I need to delete them (unless I set Calypso to delete automatically all the email POPFile identifies as spam, and I'm not ready to do that yet). I'd prefer that I could delete them from the server, as I did with MailWasher.Overall, though, POPFile is easier to use than MailWasher. It works in the background, and only needs attention when it makes a mistake.Thanks Alan! :)POPFile is my first line of defence. I've also begun a campaign to try to eliminate spam from my inbox. All of the spam I receive comes into two POP3 addresses which I unwisely gave out sometime back in the Dark Ages. I've begun to transfer all legitimate email to other addresses, and I'll eventually kill off the two offending addresses. It will take a little while because I keep finding legitimate newsletters and some irregular mail still addressed to those two addresses. I began this campaign about a month ago, and I'm almost to the stage where I can discard the two unwanted addesses. Now, if I can just keep the other addresses away from the spammers... :oAs a third line of defence I use (Spam Gourmet (already mentioned in an earlier post) and SpamMotel which both provide free disposable email addresses, although in a slightly different way. An unrelated but relevant service is one provided by the registrar where I have my domains registered. The registrar hides my real email address in the whois record. It seems that spammers harvest email addresses from this source too, so my registrar's service is another deterrent to their adding me to their lists. No more spam! No more spam! :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ComputerBob

I've tried many, many anti-spam tools, but currently, I use a simple POPmail checker (PopTray along with Cloudmark's SpamNet.I've read many good things about POPFile, but I won't use it because it uses the "download and then filter" methodology that I don't like. The main reason that I haven't been happy with most of the tools that I've tried is that I don't want to download all that spam and then delete it -- I want to delete it off the mail server without ever downloading it at all.I used the free version of MailWasher for a month, and it worked exactly the way I would like my anti-spam tool to work. Like PopTray, it allowed me to automatically check for new messages every x minutes, but unlike PopTray, MailWasher also identified spam messages for me while they were still on the mail server, and gave me the option to delete/bounce them. Unfortunately, during the month that I used it, MailWasher caused my Win98 SE PC to completely lock up four different times in the middle of downloading messages. When I checked for a MailWasher bug-fix/update, there was one, but it would only work with one email account, and it no longer had the preview feature that my month-old version had. I realize that the MailWasher people have every right to do whatever they want with their software, and to charge whatever they think the market will bear for that software, but it appeared to me that they had intentionally crippled the free version of MailWasher in a kind of bait-and-switch effort to make their $29.95 MailWasher Pro look better by comparison. So, I stopped using MailWasher.After that, I tried using PP MailCheck, which works in a similar way to MailWasher, but I found its interface to be overly complicated and confusing.So, I'm currently using both PopTray and SpamNet. PopTray automatically checks my email accounts every x minutes. It tells me that I have xx messages, and allows me to view their titles, senders, size, etc. I can even preview any message in text mode, to see if it is spam or not. Then, I can select and delete the spam messages right off of the server, without ever downloading them. Then Outlook 2000 (with its Preview window closed and with SpamNet installed) downloads the messages that I haven't deleted from the server. On the rare occasion that I missed deleting a spam message, or one arrives in the few seconds in between using PopTray and Outlook, then SpamNet catches it and puts it into a separate Spam folder for me to deal with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ComputerBob, you've confused me. MailWasher is a product from New Zealand, written by Nick Bolton. MailWasher freeis still available; MailWasher Pro is marketed by FireTrust, a New Zealand company.As far as I know neither has anything to do with Cloudmark, which is a Californian company. When I was using MW it worked perfectly with multiple accounts on my WinMe system, including preview. Was the bug you mention peculiar to Win98SE?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ComputerBob

OOOOOPS! :P You're right -- thanks for letting me know!As I stated in the first sentence of my post, Cloudmark is the publisher of SpamNet. I re-used their name later in my post, mis-identifying them as the publisher of MailWasher. I better go have some breakfast and get my blood sugar up to normal. :P I will go back and correct that earlier post, so as not to continue confusing people.Re: MailWasher vs. MailWasher Pro, I followed the hyperlink to their Web site that was in MailWasher itself. That's where I learned that the newer bug-fixed version of MailWasher Free was crippled, compared to the month-old MailWasher Free that I had been using. And that's the same place that offered me MailWasher Pro (that had my old MailWasher Free's features) for $29.95.Re: the four lock-ups that I experienced with MailWasher while using it for one month, I was able to confirm that other people had had similar problems, but I wasn't able to confirm whether or not the problem was specific to Win98SE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:D Surfing through this forum topic, I haven’t seen anything similar to my setup, so here goes:First off, I’m not an advanced user but I do have some computer savvy, and I try to keep my computer squeaky clean. In the past I’ve used Symantec products, and others. A couple of years ago I got interested in OnTrack’s products, and downloaded and installed their System Suite , which included a firewall and an anti-virus checker among other utilities. (http://www.ontrack.com) but System Suite is now owned by V-ComSystem SuiteNot knowing much about them at the time, I proceeded very cautiously and somewhat suspiciously even :D . However, the more I used System Suite, the more I was impressed. The firewall is custom made I believe by Sygate, and seems to be easily configurable both for novice users and more advanced users. The AV software is from Micro Trend, with regular and timely updates. And the amount of space taken up compared with Symantec was truly significant.For email I use OE, the latest version, as I’m running Windows XP Pro. I never use the preview pane, period. I never open attachments unless I am sure of them, and I never reply to spam. I also set up rules. Recently I decided to go one step further and downloaded and installed Spam Inspector, the MS Outlook Express edition (Spam Inspector) I had read a good review somewhere about it, and decided to try it. I used to use Mail Washer, but with WinXP I was running into some funny complications. Spam Inspector is working pretty well so far. What it does is give the user the option to go through a “learning phase â€. I turn off my "automatic empty deleted folder upon exit" option for this phase, and then I can keep a close eye on what Spam Inspector is tossing. I can add either email addies or domain addresses to the “Friends†list, and others to the “Enemies†list.Spam Inspector is not free, but so far I find it quite helpful, especially since spam has stepped up so much in the past little while. I also have one web mail address at this point where mail is forwarded to my ISP server, so I can use that when it seems advisable. When necessary I can just change the name and email address. There is a download trial version available, and if you decide to purchase it the cost is $29.95.My other line of defense is Ad-Subtract, (Ad Subtract) and every day I get rid of tons of tracking cookies and other footprints left behind. Periodically I run Ad-Aware 6 , the free version (Ad-Aware) and The Cleaner from MooSoft for trojan horses (The Cleaner). I am also able to get rid of unneeded Internet Plugins, Activex controls, history files, etc. through System Suite.Miz_bean :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use popfile it is a free open source software that scans for words and learns from your corrections. the web site is: http://popfile.sourceforge.net/It works with web based email. I think it is referred to as a bayseian type of scan?But it works 95% of the time. and I can correct mistakes as well as set specific buckets and paths to those buckets. I use Outlook rules along with popfile to sort emails after they arrive too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a control freak so I don't use 3rd party software, only the rules in Outlook.I know who I should be getting mail/newsletters/etc from, and their addresses are all added to my contacts.If it ain't listed there, the mail gets dumped in a Junk folder.It gets a final quick check there, I add the spammers to my blocked senders list, before being dispatched to oblivion.This leaves my contacts list quite full, but I have a Personal Address Book for those I frequently mail.I know this only works for those who know who their senders should be, but for me it catches 100% of Spam.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started using Cloudmarks' Spamnet 4 or 5 months ago. It removes about 75 to 80% of the Spam, with almost no mistakes. I have enjoyed the accuracy to much I now I have the spam dumped directly to the trash.Two weeks ago, I added Spammunition to my Outlook's e-mail defenses hoping to catch the remaining junkmail. It is fairly stable. I do not like having to store the spam continuously for it to reanalyze. After two weeks of "training" I have decided that it learns slower than PopFile and perhaps the results will improve with more time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm saving all my mail on an IMAP server at home. I do this because I use a variety of computers from different locations and having access to my mails from everywhere is nice.So, the setup looks like this. I have fetchmail querying all my pop3 accounts every 5 mins or so. Mail that is fetched this way is forwarded to my SMTP server (postfix), and delivered to my mailbox. On the way to my mailbox, the mails are filtered with procmail. This way, I can sort newsletters, mailing lists right on the server. I receive some high volume mailing lists, and it's nice not having it all pour into my inbox. Also, this is where I filter out the spam: I'm using a program written in C that uses a naive bayesian analysis as detailed by Paul Graham in his A Plan For Spam essay (and I implemented some of his ideas in the follow-up essay). I formerly used bayespam, a perl script, which I modified for my needs. Later I rewrote it from scratch in Perl, and then in C cause the Perl scripts memory consumption was a bit high :)I am completely rebuilding my word database every night. This means that the spam filter is very easy to use: I drop a mail into my spam folder, and during the next update it's counted as spam mail. If I take a mail out of the spam folder and drop it into another folder, it's counted as good mail. Since the database is rebuilt nightly (takes about 2 mins), there's no need to unregister or register mails with it, as there is with other bayesian filter solutions. One drawback is that I can't delete my spam. Doesn't worry me much though.The filter catches more than 95% of my spam, and so far hasn't catched a single good mail. The spam it doesn't catch is usually a new type of spam. Eg this week I started getting spam in an asian language... since the filter hasn't seen any asian words before, it'll take a few mails to adapt, but it should recognize them eventually.All in all I'm satisfied with the performance, and maintenance is virtually non-existing, since I never need to interface with the filter directly. It works silently in the background.If someone wants the code, drop me a message.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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%.
Common sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.
(Stryder Mar 18 2003, 11:07 PM)If I use mailwasher or the new Outlook to preview header lines & delete or bounce back to the sender & don't download to my computer, I assume that this prevents a message from being sent back to the spammer telling them what was read. Is this correct?I use 2 addresses like Stryder & also Mailwasher.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ComputerBob
If I use mailwasher or the new Outlook to preview header lines & delete or bounce back to the sender & don't download to my computer, I assume that this prevents a message from being sent back to the spammer telling them what was read.  Is this correct?
That is correct. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mailwasher fan here !Used the free version, donated a few $ because I was so happy with it !Got a lifetime free update garanty for the money I did send.Now I recieved the pro version for free. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm kinda stuck with trying to figure out a good setup for PocoMail's junk filtering... I don't think I should have to go through a bunch of work just to get my email... I've got one account that goes on the internet (it's my college account that won't be around forever anyway)... Everything else (3 accounts) goes out only to family & friends...I get probably 15-20 junkmail messages a day, so I don't want to go through the hassle of running an outside program to filter my mail (seems like a waste of time and system resources)... It's a hassle getting pocomail to filter out the correct messages (I've only been using it for a day)... It seemed to think that messages from my Yahoo groups were junk, but pornographic email wasn't... Getting most of it straightened out, but figuring out the exact ins and outs of the filtering system is annoying...Is there anything (preferably free?) that would integrate with Pocomail and give me easier spam control? Otherwise I'll just have to keep tinkering until I get the settings figured out

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use Mailwasher, like it overall, doesn't really reduce spam to any real degree. Bouncing Spam is probably a worthless venture as most Spam is made with fake headers or dead-end post office addresses any ways. Going to look at POPfile, based on Andy's message.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nline here,I use POPfile. with the OUTLOOK add-in OUTclass.I was a Mailwasher user but the amount of work I was doing was to much. Computers are supposed to automate your dull work work, YES?Popfile allmost never gets a message wrong anymore. I get 97% overall and closer to 100% in recent days. I've only moved one message from a wrong bucket in a week. Ironicly it was the automagic message that I need to join this BBS! :D I read some of the other posts that gripe about not wanting to spend time to download spam. I just don't follow the logic. Too many spam now contains bogus headers and subject lines. Just using Mailwasher or someother header only spam killer is ineffective. And all the time you must spend managing this is also ineffective. Which is why I dumped Mailwasher. POPfile looks at the content and acts on it accordingly. Even with downloading all the mail I spend less time managing it.Why use anything else?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ComputerBob
I read some of the other posts that gripe about not wanting to spend time to download spam.  I just don't follow the logic.  Too many spam now contains bogus headers and subject lines.  Just using Mailwasher or someother header only spam killer is ineffective.  And all the time you must spend managing this is also ineffective.
I don't want to spend time downloading spam because I'm on a dial-up connection, and I receive 30-40 spam messages a day, some of them 150KB or even larger. Not only would downloading all that spam count against my monthly transfer, it would also waste network resources and waste my time waiting for it to download, even if I were to use POPFile or other sw to filter it for me once it's been downloaded. That's why I use PopTray (a tiny program that runs in my system tray) to check for new messages, view the message headers, preview any that I want to, (in a text-only preview window), and delete spam right off my mail server. It really only takes a few seconds, compared to minutes that I would have to spend each day downloading spam and then deleting it if I didn't use this technique. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A computer tech on DIAL UP? Eck! How do you get any work done? I would kill anyone that tried to pry me away from my DSL line.You have my deepest sympathies. :) Well I don't have to spend a lot of time deleting mail. OUTLOOK is setup on my system to purge the spam folder once a week. Once POPfile has seen a message it doesn't need to keep a copy.How much slips through for you? One of the reasons I dumped Mailwasher was because of too many false hits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ComputerBob
A computer tech on DIAL UP?  Eck!  How do you get any work done?
:) It's not unusual for me to be online 6-12 hours per day. I really get my money's worth from my $12.50/mo. unlimited dial-up account.I described this in an earlier message, but I didn't repeat it in my latest post: In addition to PopTray, I use SpamNet in Outlook 2000, to recognize and separate any spam that gets past my manual deletion method. Only about 1 message per week slips past my methods, and when that happens, I immediately use ZoneAlarm's "Stop All Internet Activity" function, and delete the offending message. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A computer tech on DIAL UP?  Eck!  How do you get any work done?
;) It's not unusual for me to be online 6-12 hours per day. I really get my money's worth from my $12.50/mo. unlimited dial-up account.
ComputerBob --I hear ya ... dialup here and seem to be always online ... except when out on client calls and errands. :lol: It's really just just become an extension of the local computer network ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I use Mailwasher, like it overall, doesn't really reduce spam to any real degree.
I've only been using MailWasher (free) for a couple of weeks, and frankly I'm amazed at how good it works. Spam has been almost completely eliminated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, after running PocoMail for a week and fighting with the junk mail filters, I decided to try out Mailwasher Pro. I'd use the free version, but have three major accounts. So far so good with MailWasher, although it's going to take a couple weeks of testing before I decide to dish out the money for it... I'm not sure that I like having to use 2 programs to handle my email, but this is better than using PocoMail by itself and getting more junk in my inbox. I'll report back on this in a few weeks when I decide whether or not to buy MWPro.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I currently use 3 levels of local protection against spam, 4 if you count me inspecting the spam sometimes. My ISP also filters spam and while a lot gets past them, they catch a lot too.Anyway, Mailwasher is one of my local lines of defense. In fact it's the first. If you are one of those people who don't want to download any spam from the mail server then Mailwasher can do the job. The key to making Mailwasher as effective as it can be is a good filtering system. I used the free version of MW for a couple of years, but was frustrated because I had to do a lot of "housekeeping" to make sure that I wasn't throwing out good mail or letting bad mail slip past.I found a web site where someone has put together an excellent filter set. It was written generically enough so that it can mark a large percentage of the incoming spam that hasn't yet been blacklisted on your system. It can and needs to be customized for your specific situation, but they provide the instructions on what needs to be done. The filter list can be found here: http://w5hq.com/MailWasher.I've got all of my known good email addresses in the Whitelist and set to never expire. The Blacklist is set to delete individual addresses after 7 days. I've set it so short because many of these addresses are only used once or for a short time. When I found several different addresses with the same domain I added a wildcard address using that domain and set those to expire after 6 months of non-use. If you make sure that the blacklist has no "good" addresses in it then set MW to automatically delete all blacklisted emails, that way you will never see them and they won't be downloaded. Anything remaining is either good mail or "new" spam which can be added to the blacklist.Since I started using MW in this way the spam that I actually see has gone from about 40-50 a day to around 5-6. Those 5-6 spam are then added to the blacklist. If anything should get past MW and my inspection then POPfile is my next line of defense. POPfile is now running at about 97-98% accuracy. The only downside is that you need to download the mail for it to work. The last line of defense is something called SPAM Inspector. It integrates into OE (my mail client) and is updated automatically with new versions and new rules.I know some of you will say "he's crazy". But the fact is with POPfile and SPAM Inspector I don't have to do anything to them unless I choose to. MW allows me to remove spam before it gets to my computer. With this combination I haven't seen a piece of SPAM in my inbox for months.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ComputerBob

Hi davidnnc,I can't speak for whether or not you're crazy <_< , but I like your multi-layered spam defense system. Thanks for describing it for us! :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with drullens. Spamnet is the way to go. I've used in on my Win2k/OL2k system here at work for about 6 months and it's caught 95% of the spam that's sent to me. I also like the feature that allows one to whitelist an email either manually or automatically. And best of all IT'S FREE!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...