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I had a brainwave!

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,236
Registered: 02-08-2007

I had a brainwave!

Ok. Only sharing this with you because I was so impressed with my idea.
My problem was Plus net like we know do not technically have a spam mail filter, They just flag the emails and the unwanted content ends up in your inbox anyway. To solve this I used an Orange email account to recieve and PN to send mail. Addresses of the accounts are not important as I send and recieve mail from several domain names I own and only need an account to send the mail through to get filtered.
My problem was to get a lot of storage with Orange I had to have a connection with them so I created a free dial up connection and my plan worked perfectly until after 3 months they suspended my account for not connecting. I just kept forgeting about it. This is when I had my idea. I installed a dial up modem in my little server that runs 24/7 in my attic and set it up to connect to the Orange dial up account at 5 in the morning for 2 minutes every 6 weeks. So now I have my spam filter and a backup connection so I can check the service status feeds if PN are having broadband issues.
7 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 13,882
Thanks: 506
Fixes: 6
Registered: 01-08-2007

I had a brainwave!

I have a better idea.

Setup a whitelist in Outlook express. Set a rule so that only emails from people in that list get through to your inbox. Then set a rule above that that only emails with a certain word in the subjct can also get through.

If you send a email to someone who isn't on your whitelist, then put that word in the subject - When they reply, the reply gets in because their email starts with "Re: <Your subject>".

Easy to do and very effective. You can even set an auto response to emails that never made it to your inbox telling them why - though be warned this does increase the spam thats sent your way (even though it's deleted).

Saves the hassle of what you are doing and also saves the phone bill.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
N/A

I had a brainwave!

Could you not just blacklist (divert to folder/delete) everything with [SPAM] in the subject line?

Maintaining a whitelist of allowed addresses seems next to impossible to me, especially with the increasing use of automated e-mails by companies to (legitimately) keep in contact with their customers.

I don't know about you, but I give out e-mail addresses to friends and on business cards all the time and- although it's not unsolicited- I'm not always expecting mail from any given sender address.

Something that works well for me is having a variety of e-mail addresses for this purpose. The one I will give to any person/organisation depends on the context of my contact with them. So for example trusted friends, family, girlfriend etc. get one e-mail address; bank, online retailers etc. get another; with free "throw-away" e-mail addresses (as a matter of habit I've been using Yahoo, which also has fairly good spam filtering, but it might also be worth looking at Gmail for this purpose) whenever I need to give them to anyone else.

If you're having a particular problem with spam it might also be "blackholing" your catchall mailbox, i.e. <mailbox>@<username>.plus.com gets through, but <something-else>@<username>.plus.com is deleted by the server. At the moment anything sent to your domain will be sent to your default mailbox, whereas most users only require a small number of pre-defined addresses. See here for more details.
Community Veteran
Posts: 13,882
Thanks: 506
Fixes: 6
Registered: 01-08-2007

I had a brainwave!

Quote
Could you not just blacklist (divert to folder/delete) everything with [SPAM] in the subject line?


Yes but then you have to manually look at every spam mail and manually add each address to your blacklist - time consuming.

Quote

I don't know about you, but I give out e-mail addresses to friends and on business cards all the time and- although it's not unsolicited- I'm not always expecting mail from any given sender address.


And as long as they use your chosen word in the subject line (as I mentioned earlier - EG 'incoming') then their email will still get through.

I've been doing it like this for ages. Just to clear up one thing, those emails which don't make it through the filters don't have to be deleted - you can have OE put them in another folder for review later.

Hope that helps
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
N/A

I had a brainwave!

Quote
Quote
Could you not just blacklist (divert to folder/delete) everything with [SPAM] in the subject line?


Yes but then you have to manually look at every spam mail and manually add each address to your blacklist - time consuming.


Not really, scan for any that are legit and whitelist those addresses to bypass your filter. Then simply delete the rest. I haven't spotted PN marking any legitimate e-mail with [SPAM] as yet, so you could just take a chance and delete everything without reviewing it, although that's obviously at your own risk.

I guess we'll agree to disagree on this one.
Community Veteran
Posts: 13,882
Thanks: 506
Fixes: 6
Registered: 01-08-2007

I had a brainwave!

Quote
Quote
Quote
Could you not just blacklist (divert to folder/delete) everything with [SPAM] in the subject line?


Yes but then you have to manually look at every spam mail and manually add each address to your blacklist - time consuming.


Not really, scan for any that are legit and whitelist those addresses to bypass your filter. Then simply delete the rest.


Quote
I guess we'll agree to disagree on this one.


How are we disagreeing? - I said to use a whitelist in the first place. It was yourself who said to use a blacklist. You cannot use both at the same time (Well you can in some complex scenario's but OE isn't really capable of it) so what do you agree/disagree with?

I said that you could whitelist approved address's and move other emails to another folder for later review. Now you've just repeated that. You also now mention the use of a whitelist after slating my previous reply and suggesting a blacklist.

Besides, if you manually whitelist address's and delete spam manually, then how did the spam get through in the first place if you have a whitelist in force? - Also, what makes this different from a normal unprotected inbox? - Nothing.

Sorry mate, but I ain't going to agree to disagree with anything you've just said. You clearly have not read and understood what I said and you've decided to spin the table round and take the whitelist side of the arguement. Bang out of order.

Cheek..
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
N/A

I had a brainwave!

In essence you are applying a whitelist to only allow pre-approved mail or mail with a pre-established phrase in the subject line. I am saying that works fine for a small group of contacts you know well, but less well where you're giving out your e-mail address to people at events or to companies (whose mail is almost always from a dynamic address and automated, so they couldn't add the "safe" word if they wanted to).

I am applying a filter to move mail with the word [SPAM] in the subject line to one side, except where the sender is in my address book/ on an approved list (references to whitelisting). Depending on the software you use, you could simply delete anything with that phrase- but obviously you then have a risk of deleting something legitimate. Depends how much you trust the PN spam filter really.

I find that the Thunderbird Spam filter and the PN spam filter combined get almost everything, almost never have spam hit my inbox.

Apologies if I have somehow offended you by this view, but I still don't feel that a "pre-approved" list is workable on any kind of scale.
Community Veteran
Posts: 13,882
Thanks: 506
Fixes: 6
Registered: 01-08-2007

I had a brainwave!

Quote
Apologies if I have somehow offended you by this view, but I still don't feel that a "pre-approved" list is workable on any kind of scale.


No offence taken m8 but as I previously stated in my very 1st reply, you can setup OE to automatically reply with a template email. This can quite literally have instructions on how to bypass your mail filter. EG:

Quote
In order to ensure your email reaches me, please use the word 'Huh?' in the reply to this email and re-mail it to me.


That way all the recipient has to do is add the safe word in the reply and re-send the reply to you which will have the original email attached. Spammers won't read it as they receive thousands of replies attacking them etc. Spam bots only have the intelligence god gave garden slugs so they won't understand it either. The only downside is that some bots will recognise the email address as active and continue to spam you (also stated in 1st reply). This however isn't a problem if your still using the whitelist as their spam continues to be either blackholed or diverted to another folder.

There is also a few online email services which offer a whitelist service which also has image verification challenging - where the sender is replied to asking them to type in the letters/numbers in order for their email to reach the recipient.

All in all, whitelisting IS the only realistic way forward to protect yourself from the ever growing problem of spam and worms.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!