Most of us have some kind of junk filter, but it’s not always effective. We’re going to take a look at the best ways to counter spam email attacks in both webmail and desktop email clients. That said, if you’re drowning in spam you might want to consider a shift to Gmail, as it has—as far as I’ve seen—the most effective means of blocking spam that you can get. There are a few ways to migrate your email to Gmail, and if you want to use Google Apps with your own domain name (it’s free), Google offers a migration tool to copy your inbox to their servers. We know not everyone loves Google as much as we do, so we’re going to go over as many other options as we can, but if you’ve been thinking about switching to Gmail and you’re having serious trouble with spam, now might be a good time to join up.
If you’d prefer to stick with your current email offering, however, we’ve got a bunch of stuff that’ll help you out. Every option we’ll look at it is currently free.
If your using Gmail (or Google Apps), Yahoo! Mail, or AOL Mail to handle your email, BoxBe is a free service that will help you take control of your inbox. One great feature of BoxBe is Guest List. The way Guest List works is pretty simple: if you receive any email from someone who isn’t on the list, they’ll be asked to verify that they’re human and that they know you. Once they do that, their email will be delivered to your inbox unless you decide to take them off the list. Emails from unverified senders will sit in your Waiting List for review, so you don’t have to wait for a sender to approve themselves if you’d prefer.
To make the Guest List process easier, BoxBe’s junk filter is configurable to allow certain types of messages to be auto-approved. It rates junk messages on a scale of 1 to 10 and you can set which ratings will be automatically allowed into your inbox. For example, allowing messages with a junk rating of 3 or lower will increase the likelihood of messages from people you know, who aren’t already on your guest list, getting to your inbox without any intervention. You can also automatically block messages with a high junk rating so those messages never even cross your path.
If you don’t have Gmail/Google Apps, Yahoo! Mail, or AOL Mail, BoxBe provides a forwarding address so you can still use it with any service you’ve got.
Bayesian Filter Plug-ins
If you’re not already using a Bayesian spam filter of some kind, you’re probably wondering what it is. Here’s a quick definition, courtesy of SpamBayes (one of the options we’re going to look at):
A form of statistical analysis used (in a form) in Paul Graham‘s initial “Plan for Spam” approach. Now used as a kind of catch-all term for this class of filters, no doubt horrifying statisticians everywhere.
Some email apps already use Bayesian filters, but these plug-ins tend to be more accurate thanks to more frequent updates. Here are some of the best free options at your disposal.
SpamBayes is a cross-platform, third-party spam filter that works with a bunch of stuff but most simply with Thunderbird, Outlook / Express, and Windows Live Mail. SpamBayes works by classifying messages as spam, ham (that middle ground between spam and normal, such as a newsletter), and unsure. It won’t work effectively straight out of the box. SpamBayes will need you to train it, initially, but should grow smarter as you use it. Within some time, it should be detecting and removing your spam email without your assistance.
JunkMatcher is a free, open-source plug-in for Apple Mail that doesn’t just implement a bayesian filter, but also checks for spam-like language and IP addresses to see if they’re common senders of SPAM. It integrates directly into Apple Mail and allows for a ton of customization.
Apple Mail blog Hawkwings offers a collection of spam-filtering plug-ins, but JunkMatcher is the only free version among them. Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of Apple Mail you may want to keep an eye on that section in case other free options show up in the future.
Article Source: LifeHacker