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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    There is one important rule for completely avoiding spam - don't use email! No, I'm quite serious. You can take all the precautions you want, but if you send even one email to someone from your primary email address, then you cannot guarantee that that email will not be forwarded to someone else, and someone else, ad infinitum. This has happened to me. Send a joke/article/column to a friend and eventually, 1000's of people could get your email address as one person after another forwards it. I've tried putting warnings on my email not to forward it and I've tried to instruct people on how and why they should copy the content and paste it into another email if they want to forward it, all to no avail. I've come to the conclusion that the only safe way to send mail is to ALWAYS do it from a decoy address. But then you may run into the problem of people thinking what you are sending them is spam because they don't know the source email address, which may change from time to time. I am looking into getting a decoy email service and considering dumping my present domain name and email all together, essentially starting over again...

    Also, if you have your own domain name (like I do), then there really isn't any way to stop spam at all. Verisign, et al, will sell access to the internet domain dB to essentially anyone in their quest for profits. These people, the bulk mailers, then download every extant domain name where they know that at least something like postmaster@domainname will work. I'd like to see a way to make domain private. But then you might not be able to track down the cretins, sigh.

    However, give the above, you can eliminate most, if not all spam. Here's how I've done it:

    I've looked at a variety of pop3 email filtering tools but none have solved the problem of blocking 95%+ of spam until I stumbled on a little-known free program called SpamWeasel (http://www.mailgate.com). I've had this program on my system for about 6 months but recently have spent a lot more time getting to know to SW intimately. This program is absolutely terrific. It is head and shoulders above Outlook filters. Once set up correctly, SW does the job automatically, without me having to preview mail on the server and make choices or go through a junk file in Outlook and delete it from there.

    On average I get 25-30 spam mails daily. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been getting 99-100% successful catches on spam! As a new variant comes in, I verify and teach SW what to throw away. None of this spam ever gets into Outlook, which eliminates a lot of potential security issues. I review the SW deleted email archive (a text file) to ensure that a valid email wasn't inadvertently deleted. When I find something that should have been allowed to pass through the filter, I add its address to a pass-through filer in SW for future receives and re-queue it to be sent to my Outlook inbox. One trick I've noticed recently that the spammers have adopted is to make the subject line essentially meaningless and the spam body has no real HTML or text content. The content is instead an image file. This can't be parsed by SW. But by viewing source, I can block the domain it is coming from. The ad-blocking software I use (http://www.filtergate.com) also has good success blocking the IMG links in Outlook 2000.

    At first, the help file is difficult to grasp w/o some serious thought and the interface could be better designed. Sadly, SW is not for the novice. But it is all understandable after working with it for a couple of weeks. SW includes a scripting language and I have modified and added a few rules to further enhance processing for my needs. There are helpful docs at http://www.mailgate.com/download/docs.asp, though they are a bit out of date. But again, still very useful.

    I have been told by the support staff that there will be a Spam Weasel Pro version coming out in the near future. I have heard the cost will be about $20 but don't know what it will add to the free version. However, I will pay it

    It's almost boring these days to look at my Outlook mailbox and only have to deal with my regular mail [g]. SW saves me a great deal of time. Take a look.

    P.S. I've attached a segment of the SW archive viewer which shows the spam email that was caught today (and not sent to Outlook). This is not the whole display because I want to protect my real email address.

    P.P.S. I do not have any business relationship with Mailgate. This is just a real example of something that works and that you might want to try.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    As an aside, when you register a domain, you sometimes have an option to opt out of the bulk resale database. If you registered with NSI and want to opt out now (too late?!), you supposedly can:

    <table border=0><tr><td valign=top>[b]Q:

  3. #3
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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    mailwasher (http://www.mailwasher.net does an excellent job of removing spam from pop mail - WYB (http://www.grinningshark.com) can remove scripts and image tags from mail and more.

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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    What the world needs is for email servers such as exchange, sendmail, Notes, groupwise etc. to have an MX record checking option.

    This option, when activated would refuse to receive mail if the senders IP address (their SMTP Server) did not match a server on the senders domain name MX record list. This would not stop spam as such but you could at least positively identify the source of the email.

    I think it's about time the makers of mail servers pulled their fingers out and gave us such an option. Perhaps a programmer out their can write us a front end SMTP Server to implement this.

  5. #5
    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    I tried Mailwasher and didn't like it. Like many others of this ilk, what you actually get is the ability to look at the mail out on the server. Then you have to plow through it and decide what is spam and what isn't spam and should be allowed through. That is all extra daily work that I didn't want to do. MW also allows you to "bounce" email back to the sender, to look like they have a bad address. BUT it only works with one account. If you have your own domaine name and get mail to abc@domainname.com and xyz@domainname.com, MW can only bounce back one email address. If you bounce for another email address, then the spammer will have your second email address when he discovers that the address sent to doesn't match the one bounced.

    Finally, there is, of course, the begging for "donations" (suggested $20) for the "free" program..

    ---------------------------
    Q. How does MailWasher work?
    A. MailWasher works directly with your email server, exactly like your email program does. But there is one important difference: you can tell MailWasher to delete a message at the server, without downloading it - or you can bounce an email back to the sender so that it looks as though your address is not valid.

    MailWasher retrieves information about all the emails on the server. With that information (some of which is also processed by MailWasher) you can decide what to do with each individual email - download, delete, or bounce back.

    If you check your accounts with MailWasher first, you can delete or bounce the emails you do not want. Then, when you use your email program, it downloads only the remaining emails, those that you want to read.

    MailWasher can be thought of as a "first line of defence" which can weed out junk, large wasteful attachments, and potentially harmful viruses.
    ---------------------------------

    http://www.grinningshark.com looks interesting. Hadn't hear of them before. You didn't mention that the registration fee is $12. I do wonder about the authors though. On the "why you need it" page, they spend 8 bullet points telling you that the software can protect you against read receipts. Well, you can easily do that yourself in Outlook. On the tracking options of email options, you can choose to respond automatically, never respond or be asked if a response should be sent.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    There are (add-on) products that offer this option, but they warn that it slows down processing due to the multiple DNS look-ups involved. It also means that when I send using my work e-mail address in From and Reply-To, but through my personal ISP's SMTP server, you would ding my message, even though that is the only way I can send when using my dial-up account (unless I want to incur the overhead of a VPN connection into my office). And that just wouldn't be right. <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15>

  7. #7
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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    I've tried using a number of the different proxy server type rule based spam filters (eg SpamWeasal) and found them to be more trouble that they are worth. They generally rely on filter definitions which require very careful set up <img src=/S/hairy.gif border=0 alt=hairy width=15 height=15> or you miss e-mails that you should receive <img src=/S/bummer.gif border=0 alt=bummer width=15 height=15>, so you have to go and check the filer rejected list to make sure you haven't missed something important, and you have to keep adding the address of the Spammers to a blacklist of some sort. Then, of course, they only catch and reject (filter) what you have listed in in your blacklist. Works fine if the spammers keep using the same source addresses and "to be filtered" text. These types of filters also rely on downloading everything first for filtering, which can take a considerable amount of time, especially on a slow old dialup service. Using this type of filter software I was still getting about 50% of the spam messages onto my laptop Inbox.

    I've been using MailWasher and find that it's filtering function works as well as any other, but lo and behold, spammers rarely use the same source address and keep finding new wording to defeat automatic string filters. For me, there's nothing that beats to old mark one eyeball and human brain at this filtering task. I find the single filtering job, with the ability to blacklist tag, with MailWasher before downloading e-mails from the server overall more personally (and connect ) time effective than using the above mentioned proxy type "automatic" filters <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>.

    As to the "free" and donation - I find MailWasher suits my modus operandi, so the donation was gladly made.

    I guess it's a case of "to each his own".

  8. #8
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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    I believe that Filtering Out is a filter that goes in the wrong direction.

    Preferable is Filter IN, which is a much smaller qty of email. I.e., move your friends' email to the apropos folder. The Outlook Inbox becomes a spam trap (for the most part).

    Full details at The Ki to Antispam

  9. #9
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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    Exchange offer reverse dns lookup, as do most mail servers. however - it's server intensive... uses a lot of processing power on a busy server and if the sending domain is not set up proerly, it will reject valid mail... and it's too easy for spammers to get past.

    orbs is better - it checks the spam blacklist and refuses domains on the list. It's safer, except for domains with open relays. but like reverse dns, sucks up processing power, although i don't think it's as bad as reverse lookup. it's not a native feature of mail servers, you need a utility to do it.

  10. #10
    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    What you say is true. Which is why I originally said that SpamWeseal is NOT for novices.

    That being said, SW provides a robust set of filter possibilities (you don't have to use every one) and a scripting language for extending what they have given you in terms of rules. There are also a wide variety of wildcards that you can use. With SW, you CAN add spam addresses to a filter, just like Outlook. But SW allows the use of wildcards so you can easily block spammers who, for example, change their email address by manipulating some number at the end of the address. Or you can block a whole domain. For instance, I block everything from JUNO.COM since I have never seen anything but spam coming from there. Blocking a domain like JUNO is as simple as adding this line (*@juno.com) to the Know Spam Addresses. These wildcards can be used to parse the headers, subject and body of an email. Wildcards make catching phrase variations in subjects and bodies easy. For instance, "re*fi*" will catch all variations of "re-finance" such as "re-fi", "refi", "refinance", "re-finance", "re_finance", etc. There are also filter-in lists that allows any email address (wildcards can be used) or subject to bypass SW and automatically pass through to Outlook.

    If you dedicate some time to SW up front, the ongoing maintenance is minimal. I hardly have to update the filters anymore. And I am getting 98-100% successful blocks without having to much of anything! I do check the archive viewer daily to make sure that emails I want aren't being trapped. This usually happens with people who weren't in my Outlook contact list and I haven't heard from in a while. When this happens, I just drag the email to a pending queue and it goes back to Outlook. I then add the address to my friendly pass-through list.

    As to performance, I don't notice anything out-of-line. I have a DSL connection running on an 866 mhz machine with 256 mb ram and Win2k Pro SP3. My system runs 24x7. And all the people I know have DSL connections, so I can't comment on those with dial-up connections.

    It's beyond me as to why anyone who isn't paying their ISP by the hour or minute would want to waste their time looking through emails on the server and deciding if they are good or not? This reminds me of some hold-over from 1993 or something. Maybe that is practical if you get 5 emails per day, but it isn't for me. Counting spam, I get between 25-40 emails a day.

    IMO, Spam Weasel is to Mail Washer what a Ferrari is to a bicycle <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> .

  11. #11
    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    SW has FILTER-IN capability. You could add your "friendly" email addresses (using full addresses or wildcards and segments) to the firendly address pass-through filter (which I have done). You can then block everything else easily. Then you could use Outlook rules to disburse your desired email to certain folders.

  12. #12
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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    For those with a Ferrari (DSL) operating 24/7 no doubt SpamWeasal is just fine. I spent about two weeks trying to set it up, including using wide card, copying spam addresses etc, and still received a half dozen or more (down from around 10) spam messages in my 20 to 30 messages per day through the system, together with sidetracked messages I needed and in some cases was waiting for - something that happened too often as I work with different clients all the time. SW was effectively forcing me to check the sidelined e-mails each and every time I checked what had lobbed into my Outlook Inbox <img src=/S/bummer.gif border=0 alt=bummer width=15 height=15>

    BUT, on my slow old PSTN dialup service, it is quicker for me to review all e-mails in MailWasher while on the ISP's server immediately I logged on, tagged the junk, spam and optional deletes, then downlown rather than to download and do the clean job later.

    In Bangkok traffic a bicycle always beets a Ferrari <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

  13. #13
    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    Speaking of spam, take a look at http://www.cluelessmailers.org/spamdemic/. It's fascinating the amount of work this person has done to show how spam propagates!

  14. #14
    Silver Lounger t8ntlikly's Avatar
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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    I've been doing this for years using OE. and its teriffic...Safe reliable,,,and doesnt cost a penny...Now that I have MSN its even more handy. I have never seen so much spam. Seems they like to target Microsoft.
    Thanks John
    Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at. (Murphy's War Laws #39)

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    Re: You can eliminate spam email (Any)

    Many thanks for this info. I plan to put it to use both at office and for personal use.

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