Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi
 


Monday, October 7, 2002

Mini-dossier: What to do to limit junk email, spam and email viruses

by Luigi Canali De Rossi
September 2002

Here are the best solutions available. I have researched up and down and I did find some interesting answers:

1) You may wish to subscribe to a service like spamcop.net they operate a service that can track the originating source. Their address is http://www.spamcop.net.

2) Stop using Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express. That will make for a profound and memorable difference.

3) While many of you will strongly resist and dislike me for saying this, if you can opt or move away from a Microsoft operating system in your office or on your server, do so.

4) Make it difficult for spammers to harvest your e-mail address from the Web. Disguise your email by using JavaScript, by adopting forms for feedback where possible, or tools like Spam Vaccine (http://www.matterform.com/).

5) Evangelize a bit in favour of standard use of anti-virus software and systematic check of all outgoing and incoming emails from all of your colleagues and acquaintances.

6) Do not let the spammers know you are there. Don't reply to spam expecting to be removed, you've just confirmed your existence. Also, turn off automatic HTML image downloading in your email program. You can do this both in Outlook and Eudora and you will certainly see a significant drop in the amount of spam arriving in your inbox.

7) Utilize Server-side Spam Software.
There are two approaches to filtering unwanted spam: server-side and client-side. Server-side solutions nip the problem at the ISP level before they ever get to you. Here are some of the many solutions available:

Brightmail - Spam Wall, popular ISP option works with "sendmail"
http://www.brightmail.com/, http://www.sendmail.com

Sendmail anti-spam measures:
http://www.sendmail.org/antispam.html

Spamcop.net lets the spam flow go directly to the ISP while allowing you to redirect your email to this service and getting it filtered.
http://www.spamcop.net

SpamShield - Perl-based filtering technology for "sendmail"
http://www.spamshield.org/
http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/ 2002/09/12/spamshield.html

8) Utilize Client-side Spam Solutions

Spamfire (Mac)(Windows coming)
http://www.matterform.com/index.php? page=/spamfire/index.php
Spamfire is an anti-spam email filter. Deletes unwanted commercial and pornographic email. Works with any email program.

Spamassassin
http://spamassassin.taint.org/
SpamAssassin is an open-source product aimed at UNIX systems.
However, Deersoft sells Exchange and Outlook versions of SpamAssassin, and there is also Spamnix, a commercial Eudora plug-in (http://www.spamnix.com/).
Other interfaces for plugging SpamAssassin into your mail systems are listed at:
http://spamassassin.taint.org/where.html

Spam Killer
Novasoft's SpamKiller is a spam-filtering tool that periodically checks your mailbox and deletes any messages that appear to be spam. SpamKiller, USD $30 tool sits in your PC system tray, running in the background to filter Spam. A trial version is available at:
http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/ file_description/0,fid,8173,00.asp

Choice mail, permission-based approach
http://www.digiportal.com

Matador, utilized different approaches
http://www.mailfrontier.com/

Mail Washer, freeware
http://www.mailwasher.net/

SpamKiller from McAfee
http://www.mcafee.com/myapps/msk/

Mailbox Filter
http://www.mailboxfilter.com/
It removes spam before it even gets near your PC. That's because e-mail is filtered through Mailbox Filter's server first. Price is USD $44.95 and there's a 15-day trial.

9) Utilize your e-mail program filters or specialized add-ins

For Outlook users:

a) Spam Inspector from Giant Company
http://www.giantcompany.com/
Offers specialty spam filters for all Outlook versions and for AOL email clients. Price USD $ 19.95
Download a free trial at:
http://www.giantcompany.com/ download.aspx

b) "Sherwood's Top Three Spam Filters in Outlook 2000/2002"
http://www.overcomeemailoverload.com/ outlook/top3.html

c) "Outlook Rules"
http://www.mailmsg.com/outlookrules.htm

d) "Sherwood's Top Three Spam Filters in Outlook Express"
http://www.overcomeemailoverload.com/ oe/top3.html

e) "Outlook 2000 Spam Filter Configuration" a visual tutorial
http://www.impulse.net/screenshots/ spam/outlook2000/index.html

f) Outlook Sentinel
Outlook Sentinel is a Microsoft Outlook add-in that filters incoming email. Price USD $ 29.95

g) Spamassassin for Outlook
http://www.networkassociates.com/us/ products/mcafee/antispam/category.htm

For Eudora users:
a) "Using Eudora's Filters to Avoid Spam"
http://www.greene-family.org/tony/ eudora/no-spam.html

b) "Eudora Spam Filter Configuration" a visual tutorial
http://www.impulse.net/screenshots/ spam/eudora51/index.html

c) Spamnix
http://www.spamnix.com/

10) Use collaborative solutions

Spamnet
http://www.cloudmark.com/
http://www.cloudmark.com/products/ spamnet/
Built to work on a peer-to-peer network of computers - similar to the old Napster system.
Internet users interested in fighting spam sign up for the free SpamNet service on Cloudmark's Web site and download a small piece of software onto their computers.
The program works with the users' e-mail programs and allows them to choose which messages that appear in their inboxes are unwanted spam messages. The program breaks down each message into digital codes and generates a small unique "signature."
The signatures are then uploaded to a SpamNet server, which then distributes the signature file to other members, enabling them to block copies of the suspect e-mail.

The greatest strength of the system is that it relies upon a completely collaborative, grass-roots effort to stop spam.

SpamNet software, which for now is available only for PCs using Microsoft's Windows and Outlook e-mail software, doesn't delete the suspect messages automatically, but sets them aside in a special folder.

DCC
http://www.rhyolite.com/anti-spam/dcc/
DCC, or Distributed Checks on Clearinghouse, it's software that resides on a company's or ISP's e-mail server - the computer that handles all incoming and outgoing messages. The software analyzes and creates a numerical value for each message that is passed sent to the server. The DCC or Distributed Checksum Clearinghouse is a system of clients and servers that collects and count checksums related to about 1,000,000 mail messages per day. The counts can be used by SMTP servers and mail user agents to detect and reject or filter spam or unsolicited bulk mail. DCC servers exchange or "flood" common checksums. The checksums include values that are constant across common variations in bulk messages, including "personalizations."

Vipul's Razor
http://razor.sourceforge.net/
Vipul's Razor is a distributed, collaborative, spam detection and filtering network. Through user contribution, Razor establishes a distributed and constantly updating catalogue of spam in propagation that is consulted by email clients to filter out known spam. Detection is done with statistical and randomized signatures that efficiently spot mutating spam content.

User input is validated through reputation assignments based on consensus on report and revoke assertions which in turn is used for computing confidence values associated with individual signatures.

11) Get and use a SEPARATE free email account for all of your transactions with suppliers, new services, testing new products and the general public.

12) If you are on a PC, get a Mac.

To find out more information about spam and how to stop it please see also the following links:

"Anti-spam Resources and Tools"

and also:

Spam vs. the Kitchen Sink
Fed Up With Spam
Spam and Email Filters: Reader Solutions
Six approaches to eliminating unwanted e-mail
E-mail onslaught to feed anti-spam firms
More on Bayesian Spam Filtering

 
 
 
Readers' Comments    
2005-01-23 23:00:37

diane c

When I get junk mail, it goes in the junk folder...it's pretty simple. Never thought that I needed a thicker filter if I just regularily empty the trash. It's what we do naturally isn't it?



2004-10-02 15:17:52

Casualwalker

I tried numerous spam filters and finally I settled down with SpamWeed. It stops almost all spam. Great application.



2004-06-28 13:35:34

Sony

Where can I get a spam filter?

There are now many Bayesian filters
available, most of them free.

Is there a Bayesian filter for Outlook?

I know of nine so far:

Spammunition,
Spam Bully,
SpamBayes,
InboxShield,Junk-Out,
Outclass,
Disruptor OL,SpamTiger,
and
JunkChief.

Is there anything that can protect my company's server?

The best commercial server-level Bayesian filter is probably Death2Spam.
SpamProbe,
one of the best open-source Bayesian filters, can also be run
on the server.

Most commercial server-level spam filters are still rule-based.
But there are starting to be some
that use Bayesian filtering. The way to find them is probably
to search in Google.

The question to ask the salesman is, does the filter learn to recognize
spam based on the spam and nonspam mail we receive? If it
doesn't learn, it isn't Bayesian.



2004-06-25 07:02:45

Diana

I currently use http://www.spambully.com spam filter and it works fine for me. It allows you to see detailed information about each email you receive- IP address, country, character set, and how SpamBully ranked it. Tells you why a message was or was not blocked and how to correct this in the future.



2004-06-24 17:03:09

Dan

I currently use Spam bully spam filter and it works fine for me.



2004-01-12 09:32:50

sophia song

Thanks for the information. I've tried the www.mailwasher.net, which is useful for me.



 
posted by Robin Good on Monday, October 7 2002, updated on Saturday, January 21 2006


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