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More Mail & Antispam Improvements

More Mail & Antispam Improvements

More Mail & Antispam Improvements

In the last Update on Webmail Deliverables we talked about some of the changes being made to the Manage My Mail controls found in the PlusNet Member Centre. We also hinted at further improvements and tweaks that we would be making over the coming months, such as the often requested ability to black hole or edit the default mailbox on an account. Anyway we're pleased to report that the next 'wave' of improvements is almost upon us, most of which will be launched the week commencing 9th July. Here are some of the goodies customers can expect over the coming week or two... Switch off email to your 'Virtual Domain' addresses The free.uk domain name we've been offering over the last week or two has been well received, and we've recently published an FAQ to answer some of the more commonly asked questions concerning the offer. We've had over 3000 customers express an interest so far, and many of these have already gone on to register their own personalised domain name. To register your domain simply login to the Member Centre, click 'Domains' and follow the instructions from there. Registering a new domain name, whilst perhaps giving you an easier to remember email address, doesn't by itself reduce the volume of spam you may be receiving to your mailbox. Shortly though we will be giving you the opportunity to 'switch-off' the email being sent to your @Username.plus.com, @Username.force9.co.uk or @Username.free-online.co.uk address. You'll still continue to use your existing mailboxes, the difference being that they'll only pick up email addressed to your new .uk domain. Done correctly this is a fantastic opportunity to put a halt to all the junk email you might be receiving, and the only thing you should need to do is update the address in your email program and let your contacts know about your new, spam-free .uk domain. To begin with customers will need to raise a ticket requesting that email to their 'Virtual Domain' is switched off however if this proves successful we'll introduce the option to do this via the Member Centre. Delete spam automatically At the moment customers can choose from three levels of spam protection:

  • Off
  • Mark as [-SPAM-] and deliver to your Inbox
  • Mark as [-SPAM-] and deliver to your 'Spam' folder

Soon we'll be offering a fourth option that will delete all the emails marked as [-SPAM-] automatically before they even reach your Inbox or the newly introduced 'Spam' folder. Mailbox Summary Whilst the new 'Manage My Mail' tool is a big improvement over the old system, it can become confusing, especially if you have multiple aliases, mailboxes, redirects and/or mailing lists. We're hoping to make things a little clearer by introducing an 'at a glance' overview of your email settings. This will be accessed by simply clicking the hyperlink at the top of the 'Manage My Mail' pages. Rename Default Mailbox In the fight against spam, you may have recently taken the decision to switch off your 'catch-all' email address. What this does is allow you to receive only email to the addresses you actually use. One thing this doesn't do though, is prevent email being sent to your 'default' email address. This is the address that is given to you when you first sign up and is normally in the format: <username>@<username>.<virtual_domain> eg. <abuse@abuse.plus.com>, or <forename>@<username>.<virtual_domain> eg. <peter@abuse.plus.com> Whilst it isn't possible to completely remove this mailbox (all your other mailboxes are built around it), it will be possible to rename the part before the '@' sign to match an address that you do use, or an address that doesn't attract any spam. Edit the Postmaster Alias When turning your 'catch-all' off the system checks to see if you have an arrangement to collect email addressed to <postmaster>@<username>.<virtual-domain>... (This is currently one of the requirements of our T's & C's – as we use it to email you). If no arrangement exists then an alias is automatically created to your default mailbox. This was causing problems for our customers because the alias couldn't be moved or deleted and not all of you wanted to, or were able to check your default mailbox due to the amount of spam being sent to the address. Shortly we will be adding the functionality that will let you point this alias to a different mailbox. Spam buttons in Webmail If you receive a message that's marked as [-SPAM-] that wasn't, or a message slips through the filter that wasn't marked as [-SPAM-] but is, then you can forward them to our spam training addresses. Some customers have expressed concern that this is a little cumbersome and often get confused about what detail we actually require. We're set to make this easier for users of our Webmail system by introducing 'Spam' and 'Not Spam' buttons to the SquirrelMail interface. This will allow you to train our spam filters at the touch of a button. One of our customers, 'Webwise' on the portal forums, has also taken the time to create a plugin for Outlook Express that some of you might want to check out here. Deletion of email in the 'Spam' folder We recently started the work to automatically delete email that has been delivered to customers' 'Spam' folders. We will shortly be making a slight change to the way in which this works and will be deleting email in the Spam folder every 14 days as opposed to 30. This will help customers who are unable to access their 'Spam' folder due to the number of messages it contains as well as preserving storage space on the email platform. We do hope that these changes are welcomed and go some way towards making customers lives that little bit easier. We are continuously looking at improving the spam protection we offer and have recently been trialling a third party antispam appliance on our internal email systems. We hope to extend this trial to the wider customer base soon, so watch this space!

 

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7 Comments
Superuser
Could I draw attention to [url=http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php?topic=229.msg1678#msg1678]this post[/url]. I know PN reckon supporting individual blacklists/whitelists is resource intensive but it keeps getting mentioned.
Hi there, Whitelisting would be handy for eliminating false positives however the problem with blacklisting on a per user level is that it's not really going to achieve much. Spam is more often than not sent from zombie machines that have been compromised by a BOT. Blacklisting by address would be useless as the sending address is almost always going to be different. Similar constraints apply if blacklisting by IP too. Chances are the mail's going to be coming from the IP addresses of residential DSL users and will not remain constant. I personally think greylisting would be a great benefit to us. I use it for my email and it prevents a *lot* of unneeded junk. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greylisting
N/A
I've been asking for a user level whitelisting option for some time on the PlusNet forums. To block emails unless they are from known senders would be really useful for some people. I have another suggestion, regarding the problems with short emails not training the spam filter: please can we have a user level blacklist for subject words? In addition to other improvements this would help all those people who are trying to protect children etc. from the barrage of spam with obscene subject content.
Hi there, We're hoping to implement blacklisting on Subject matter some time this week but at this stage it will not be user-configurable I'm afraid Sad
N/A
It's over three weeks since this post was made - where are the spam/no spam buttons in webmail?
We're waiting for QA resource before we can roll the changes live. It's pretty tight at the moment Sad
Newbie
If at all possible I'd also like that the SPAM is reported, rather than just deleted. Just deleting SPAM and hoping it'll go away is rather optimistic in approach. All it means to the SPAMMER (to be polite) is that, "Oh they received that one, let's send another....">