This year has been the worst year for SPAM. I have been under a deluge of SPAM this year like you wouldn’t believe. I’m talking hundreds of e-mail a day pouring into my in boxes to the point that using my e-mail was next to impossible. You may be saying to yourself, “Just delete them, that’s what I do”, and believe me I tried. But when I’m getting 500 a day it’s just too much to handle. Even if you’re just deleting them, you still have to scan the title and address to see if it’s someone you know. When the Sobig virus hit this summer, I got so many virus e-mails and so many false positive replies from servers that I threw up my hands and said uncle! 😐
From everything I heard and read, SpamAssassin is the best server-side solution out there. Although it may be great, I haven’t yet figured out all there is to install and configure it. I’m working on it, but I’m just not there yet and I needed something NOW. I tried a couple of programs, including Ella for Microsoft Outlook, but none of them worked that well and most needed training. What I really wanted was SpamAssassin for the desktop and lucky for me I found it.
SpamPal installs on a Windows desktop and is an extra program that stands between your ISP and your e-mail client. What it does is flag any e-mail that it suspects is SPAM by inserting “**SPAM**” in front of the subject. Then you simply create a filter/rule that moves any e-mail with “**SPAM**” in the subject to a special folder. I created a folder called “Junk E-mail” and any e-mail flagged by SpamPal goes in that folder. Nothing could be simpler! SpamPal uses blacklists which tags mail sent from certain parts of the Internet: those parts which statistically send lots of spam. There are a wide array of blacklists to choose from and you can even create your own whitelists, because not all mail sent from blacklisted addresses is actually spam.
The only thing that’s a little bit peculiar is that you have to change the settings for the mail server in your e-mail program. For example, the e-mail server for mashby.com is “mail.mashby.com” and I had to change it to “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Why did I have to change it? Well, that change makes sure that it pulls the e-mail through SpamPal and doesn’t go to the mail server directly. With this change, e-mails go first through SpamPal and then on to my e-mail client. For more information on the setup, check out the Quick Start guide.
So how well does it work? Very, very well I’m happy to say. A few SPAM messages get through. On average, I’d say maybe 5 a day out of 400-500 SPAM e-mails a day. Also, I do scan the folder from time to time just to make sure there haven’t been any false positives. There were a few at first until I created a whitelist entry for a few mailing lists I belong to. Overall it’s been a roaring success and I’m finally enjoying, and reading my e-mail again. Oh and in case I haven’t mentioned it, SpamPal is free. 😀
We use SpamAssasin server side and it needs some tweaking to make it run well. Hubby & I butted heads a bit on how to handle false positives – if you set the SpamAssasin levels too tightly you get a fair number of false positives and I was getting tired of having to plow through my spam folder every day to find the false positives.
I ‘solved’ the problem by ditching the email address that was getting all the spam. That’s not necessarily the best solution, but at least my new address is not in every spammer’s email list.
I use PopFile, which is free and open source, and does pretty much the same thing the same way as SpamPal, but uses Beyesian filtering instead of blacklists. After only a couple days training, it’s just under 100% accuracy and I love it. You can even set it up to be more than just a spam filter, and use the power of the Beyesian filters to sift things into other folders in your email client. I get as much spam as you do, Mike, and this works great. 🙂
Thanks for the heads up on PopFile!
For what it’s worth, SpamPal offers a free Beyesian plugin in, so it will support those type of filtering too. I tried it, but found that there was too much training involved and I got too many false positives. PopFile may handle Beyesian filtering better, but the blacklists are working great for me.
Thanks again for the comment.