Combating and Filtering SPAM with freeware
Outlook / Outlook Express |
Mozilla IMAP | Yahoo and Hotmail
Quite a few people have asked me what's the
best freeware solution out there. Since I only use IMAP (not POP3) and
webmail it sure wasn't easy finding one. The best I've found for Outlook/Outlook
Express POP3 users is K9
which uses bayesian learning. In other words, you train it by telling
it what is spam and what isn't. After about 50 emails processed it'll
work pretty good and then after a few hundred extremely accurate in detecting
what is and isn't spam.
The best for IMAP is Mozilla
which has built-in bayesian filtering. (I've tried thunderbird 0.5 and
it isn't working so hopefully soon it will..until then I'd suggest sticking
Download and install K9
for Outlook / Outlook Express installer version
(advanced instructions / detailed manual is on K9's official
K9 detects what is spam and moves it to your Junk
folder automatically when you check for email messages. You must have
K9 running while you check your messages in Outlook Express. It'll create
a shortcut in your STARTUP folder so it'll always run on boot up.
Once you launch K9 it'll detect your POP3 account
and click YES to let it auto-configure the settings for
Advanced tab I recommend checking to use Real Time
Recent Emails is where you tell it whether it's Good
email or Spam email by highlighting the email and clicking
Good or Spam. At first it won't know
but after time it'll mark it correctly with a Yes for
spam and a No for legitimate email. Once your satisfied
spam is really spam and vice versa, click Organize button
to move them to the Storage Area.
Storage Area you can flip between your Good
and Spam storage areas. Click Score
button to see the percentage. The higher the percentage the more K9
determined it to be spam (85% or above typically). The
Good storage area (legitimate email) has scores usually
less than 10%.
Statistics show an overall accuracy. Usually 97% or above. The more
emails processed the more accurate it'll inch towards 99%.
Creating a Junk Folder and creating a Message Rule to allow
K9 to move spam to Junk folder
K9 will tag each email it suspects as spam by appending
the subject line with [Spam]
Since Outlook Express can't filter based on customized headers we have
to filter based on subject.
Right-click on Local Folders and choose New
Type Junk for the Folder name.
Click Tools | Message Rules | Mail
Check the above 1. Condition and 2. Action.
3. Click contains specific words and type in [Spam]
Click specified folder and highlight Junk
folder and click OK.
4. Name of the rule type in Spam
When done it should look like the above screenshot and K9
can move spam to your Junk folder.
Mozilla IMAP Junk / Spam Controls
Open Mozilla | Tools | Junk Mail Controls and the screen below will
appear. Mozilla works great as an IMAP client or POP3 too. Some
people are use to Outlook using POP3 so for some hate change and for those
K9 is great spam solution for them.. Mozilla is codebase for Netscape
so they're very similiar in interface and features and is what I use.
Check Enable junk mail controls and the screenshot
shows my recommended settings.
It'll move detected spam into the Junk folder with
about a 99% accuracy.
Before the bayesian filtering starts working you'll need to train
it. All new messages you need to mark them as either Junk
or Not Junk. Then after say 30 or 50 messages it'll become
more accurate. Give it a couple of weeks and you'll absolutely love the
results it does it filtering your spam automatically to your Junk folder.
Shows one day of spam email that it automatically detected and threw
into my Junk folder. Don't forget to clean out your Junk
folder daily which makes it easier for you to sort out any messages which
might be legitimate.
Yahoo Webmail reducing spam
Mail Options | Spam Protection then follow these 3
Turn on SpamGuard on. Yahoo does a relatively great job filtering spam to
your Bulk folder.
Check these two options. Report spam that made it through to your Inbox.
Image Blocking is the one of the MOST important parts.
If your friends sends you a photo you can easily see it by clicking Show
HTML Graphics. If spammers find out your address is active your
screwed, see example below.
Hotmail Webmail Turn off HTML Graphics | web beacons
Click Options (top right corner) | Mail
(left side) | Junk E-mail Protection | Mail Display
Choose Remove images until messages are reviewed. This
is the exact same as Block all images in Yahoo.
Here's a spam which came to my yahoo account. See the 3 little grey boxes.
Those are spam HTML images.
Let's examine the source of the message and we'll see a link like this.
<a target="_blank" href="http://email@example.com"
Now if you didn't block these HTML graphics it would have alerted them your
email is an activate account and expect to get an avalanche of spam that'll
inevitably grow exponetially.
Ok for demostration purposes I clicked Show HTML Graphics.
Within minutes I was spammed by those idiots with 5 more spam emails. Geez
the crap I go through to show how potent this spam is.
Also never fail for this trap of telling them you wish to be removed. Only
time you should ever do it is if it's with your own bank or a very well
known company. Most of the time your just telling them unintentionally that
your email account is activate and you wish to receive tons more spam.
Updated May 4, 2004