Spam Filters

Monday, September 27, 2004 at 8:58 pm | Comments off

The spam is getting ridiculous. I need to try to find some sort of spam filter. I currently use Outlook as my mail program, so any solutions need to work with that. (When Mozilla Thunderbird hits 1.0, I'll probably switch.)

I'd like to find something that errs on the side of being too lose, where it'll allow some spam through so I don't have to worry (much) about losing mail that I want. I had SpamAssassin running for a while, but it would occasionally filter out something that I wanted. It would even filter out the feedback forms I have set up on my sites... Not good. Perhaps I should just set up some whitelisting and continue to use SpamAssassin, but I was curious if you guys knew of any good spam filters that you didn't have to babysit. If I have to go through all the spam to be sure the spam filter isn't deleting things I want, it's not saving me much time.

Comments

Jish
September 28th, 2004
1:16 AM | #

http://www.knowspam.net/

My friend uses this. The first time I e-mailed him I had to go to a website and verify that I was a "human" but now it knows who I am and lets my email in.

It's kind of like whitelisting, but other "humans" can still e-mail you too.

Also, you have to pay for it. Which is the only reason I don't use it =/

Jonathan M. Hollin (DarkBlue)
September 28th, 2004
3:32 AM | #

Ryan, I don't get ANY spam. Read "No More Spam" to learn how.

Robert Wellock
September 28th, 2004
4:14 AM | #

I get spam but you can normally count the amount I receive on one hand, for the whole year... A lot depends on how you distribute your details.

Placing an unencoded e-mail address on a site is a sure way to get harvested by the spambots.

Bill
September 28th, 2004
5:00 AM | #

Bayesian filtering with Outlook works like a dream. Just be patient while you train the filter to your specifications and you'll learn to love Outlook again.

SpamBayes
http://spambayes.sourceforge.net/windows.html#outlook

POPfile
http://popfile.sourceforge.net/

I recommend SpamBayes. I've been using it for over a year and have never had even one real mail classified as spam. This one will give you the leeway you want.

Tim White
September 28th, 2004
7:20 AM | #

At home I use ThunderBird .8 and it works really well. After one training session it is catching all of the spam coming in.

And Jonathan's article is really interesting. I'm going to have to look into some of that.

Amit Karmakar
September 28th, 2004
7:27 AM | #

Moved to Thunderbird a fortnight back from Outlook. Have tried many different softwares on Outlook over the years. They are slow, and inconsistent. Yes even Bayesian Filter, Thunderbird does it beautifully. Spam filtering is very strong. And no where near as RAM hungry as outlook was.

Dave Mabe
September 28th, 2004
8:12 AM | #

Which version of SpamAssassin were you using? I have used it since 2.4. Just recently 3.0 was released and has made giant leaps forward - I no longer have to babysit it and I haven't had one false positive since I upgraded. It uses SURBL which (at least for now) has been excellent at assigning high scores to spam. This along with Bayes auto learning makes for a spam filter that just works and is constantly learning without manual intervention.

Richard@Home
September 28th, 2004
8:25 AM | #

At work I *have* to use Outlook and I get a LOT of spam :-(

Fortunately I stumbled on K9 (http://keir.net/k9.html) a while ago.

305 days later and its been 99.73% successful!

Oh, and it's free!

Ryan Brill
September 28th, 2004
9:40 AM | #

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, guys. I'll be looking into some of them shortly, and will let you know what I decide to try.

Jonathan - I'm not sure I like the idea of challenge / response, especially since I use this address for business. Personally, I don't think it should be work for people to contact me. If I can find a filter that will eliminate most of the spam and none of the wanted email, I'll be a happy guy.

Jonathan M. Hollin (DarkBlue)
September 28th, 2004
9:46 AM | #

"I'm not sure I like the idea of challenge / response"

I understand. It's not for everyone.

"a filter that will eliminate most of the spam and none of the wanted email"

Well that's the Holy Grail isn't it? :-)

Ryan Brill
September 28th, 2004
9:49 AM | #

Lol... yeah. While we're talking about the Holy Grail, maybe we should just hire some "Spam Assassins"... ;)

Jonathan M. Hollin (DarkBlue)
September 28th, 2004
9:56 AM | #

Or even Spammer Assassins! ;-)

Chris
September 28th, 2004
10:11 AM | #

i vote none of the above,

check this out.

http://www.jeftel.com

It's the next generation of email (you have to pay £25 for an annual fee)

Jonathan M. Hollin (DarkBlue)
September 28th, 2004
10:23 AM | #

How does that solve the spam issue Chris?

Chris Robins
September 29th, 2004
4:17 AM | #

GO TO THE SITE AND READ IT!

Jonathan M. Hollin (DarkBlue)
September 29th, 2004
6:32 AM | #

Chris, obviously I visited the site before I asked my question. It is because of my visit that I am asking!

What I am trying to say (obviously unsuccessfully) is that people won't change - the Jeftel system is stuck at the first hurdle because it can only truly eliminate spam if everyone switches to it - which is extremely unlikely, even if it were free!

Therefore a Jeftel customer will have to retain a traditional email address to stay compatible with the rest of the world, ergo spam.

Jeftel's fine if you only send email to two or three people and they are all Jeftel clients too - otherwise it's a non-starter.

Unless I am missing something?

Chris
September 29th, 2004
8:28 AM | #

You can send emails to anyone with JefTel not just other JefTel users

john stern
September 30th, 2004
6:06 AM | #

I agree with Chris. This technology is very clever; the genius is in its simplicity. There has to be a starting point unfortunately, and it will take time for the news about jeftel to spread. But as mmore and more people realise there's an alternative to spam, snoopers and alike, i think the masses will move towards this technology. I have.

Jonathan M. Hollin (DarkBlue)
September 30th, 2004
3:46 PM | #

"You can send emails to anyone with JefTel"

Presumably you can also receive email from anyone - including spammers?

"i think the masses will move towards this technology"

I think that's highly unlikely. People won't pay, it's that simple. Oh sure, there might be a couple of million subscribers but that's hardly a dent in the Internet population.

Look at the precedents, even if the technology were free take-up would be extremely slow. The average computer user doesn't like change - it's that simple.

Ryan Brill
October 1st, 2004
11:33 PM | #

I know I said I was going to wait for 1.0, but I decided to download Thunderbird, and see how I like that. So far there are a few little things that I don't like, but we'll see if the good outweighs the bad...

Eric Gillingham
October 3rd, 2004
1:48 PM | #

Ive been using SpamAssasin 3.0.0 and every once in awhile check the spam inbox and have yet to see any false positives so im not sure what version you were using but perhaps it was an older version that wasnt as good.

Ryan Brill
October 3rd, 2004
1:55 PM | #

How easy/hard is it to install SpamAssasin? Is that something that I could install on a shared server? I was using an older version, so perhaps just upgrading would solve my problem.

Eric Gillingham
October 3rd, 2004
11:01 PM | #

Very easy, heck you can use cpan and have it install automagically,
perl -MCPAN -e shell
install Mail::SpamAssassin
Or just your standard make, make install from the source distribution with the addition of perl Makefile.PL prior to make. Theres no funky configuring or installation issues with it.

Ryan Brill
October 3rd, 2004
11:06 PM | #

Awesome. When I get some time, I'll look into doing that...

J. Swan
October 4th, 2004
12:49 AM | #

I originally only used Spam Assassin; which did a great job but as the # of spam messages increased to 2500 to 5000 per day - the amount it missed was becoming frustrating and time consuming. I tried a free trial of Cloudmark's SpamNet on my Outlook installation and was very pleased; recently paid for a year's subscription to it. It catches nearly everything. First time I've had a clean Inbox and Deleted Items folder in years. http://www.cloudmark.com/
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1473816,00.asp

DaveSW
October 4th, 2004
9:59 AM | #

Mailwasher is the best for business - you review mail by it's title, bounce/blacklist/delete as appropriate, it uses the bayesian filters as mentionned above, FirstAlert, Spamcop, etc.

http://www.firetrust.com/products/pro/
or if you really want my affiliate link: http://entier.ecosm.com/link/?wrbtruq

Alain STEVENS, cyberdét
October 11th, 2004
9:17 AM | #

Well, how many people did manage to run jeftel's software ?

How to do for people using a webmail (the fact to use Outlook express is security problem...)

Ryan Brill
October 11th, 2004
9:30 AM | #

I've had SpamAssassin 3 running for about a week now, and only two spam emails have made it through, with 0 false positives. I can live with a few spam emails coming through, as long as it keeps up with it's record of 0 false positives.

Jonathan M. Hollin (DarkBlue)
October 11th, 2004
9:36 AM | #

Excellent! How are you coping in your new, spam-free world Ryan? It took me ages to get used to a quiet inbox, I was constantly clinking "Send and Receive" at first to ensure that my mail client was still working!

Ryan Brill
October 11th, 2004
9:42 AM | #

Lol... I'm doing just fine. ;) I still get enough email to keep me going - just don't have to waste time moving spam anymore. Right now, I still have all the spam being delivered to a separate folder called "spam", so I can be sure it doesn't decide to start deleting emails that I want.

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