ISP Spam filters: looking for case studies

  PC Advisor. 16:51 23 Sep 03
Locked

Hi folks,

Spam appears to be the hottest story around at the moment, so it's feature time. What measures are the good folk at PCAdvisor.co.uk taking to combat electronic junk mail?

We're particularly interested in hearing from:

1) AOL 8.0 users - did upgrading to 8.0 make much of a difference?

2) Any Tiscali users out there making use of the ISP's latest spam blocking tools?

3) Any BT Yahoo Broadband out there using BT's latest spam blocking tools?

4) Anybody using other pay for spam filters, such as McAfee SpamKiller 4?

5) Anyone who has found any other ways of combatting spam.

AS USUAL IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE QUOTED BY YOUR REAL NAME PLEASE SAY SO.

Many thanks.

  Djohn 17:03 23 Sep 03

Hi, I'm using AOL 8.0 and since using the Spam control button, spam has dropped from 30 to 40 per day to just 5 or 6 each week. This is still reducing.

I have been using Ver. 8 for the past 12 months as a Beta tester. It took approximately three months to reduce the spam to figures quoted above, and has made a tremendous difference. Regards. j.

  961 17:08 23 Sep 03

I use 4 ISP's and basically find that on 2 (Freeserve and Freenetname) I have no spam at all. I have a little on Tiscali but the megaspam ISP is zoom. It's fair to say that Zoom is the ISP I use when needing to give an e-mail address when ordering over the internet or whatever. I use it because it is an easy to remember name. I don't use chatrooms or newsgroups at all.

Zoom produces from 10 to 20 spam messages a day just now and I have asked the ISP in the past why they don't use some sort of filter, if only to ease pressure on their own servers. The only response was to offer to transfer me to another ISP in the group where filters were in operation, but this would be at a cost.

Some time ago I tried Mailwasher and, finding it good, made a voluntary payment to keep the software. When Mailwasher Pro was introduced I was offered a free upgrade and have used it ever since. I find it easy and effective and it seems to cause no problems with other software on my computer. As the blacklist files build up I have arrived at a stage where no spam gets through and it only takes a couple of seconds to delete the lot.

I never bounce, because I found that in the short period I did that, spam increased dramatically

Hope this helps

  PC Advisor. 17:08 23 Sep 03

Djohn,

Fantastic. This is exactly the kind of response we're looking for. Could you possibly give us a little more detail?

What percentage of your inbox would you say was plagued by spam before moving up to 8.0, what were your expectations, has 8.0 blocked anything it shouldn't, ease of use and would you consider actually paying for a standalone package?

Many thanks.

  Djohn 18:08 23 Sep 03

(1) Percentage. approximately 80 to 85%. This was caused mainly by me either replying to Spam mail, asking to be removed, or attempting to bounce them back.

(2) Expectations. I first thought it was a gimmick and would not make much difference at all. For the first couple of weeks I seemed to be receiving mail even from the same, or similar address as the one's I was reporting via the "Spam" button. Then slowly it started to decrease and continued to do so the more I used the Spam button.

(3) Yes! The spam button is next to the "Delete" button on the AOL mail window. On two occasions I have accidentally reported PCA as spam, [Sorry] and several times AOL themselves. A quick [free] phone call, or an e-mail sorted the problem immediately.

(4) If I was not with an ISP that provided protection, then yes, I would consider paying for a program that could offer complete control with ease of use. The proviso of course would be the cost of such a program. If it was kept to a reasonable amount, then yes. Regards. j.

  Djohn 18:14 23 Sep 03

Just remembered! When we did the "Star Office" test. The e-mail from yourselves informing me I had been chosen to take part, was blocked and treated as Spam. So the arrival of the CD package was a surprise. I'm not aware of any other mail being blocked. j.

  mikef. 18:35 23 Sep 03

I'm on BTOpenworld, not changed to BT Yahoo yet, and using their spam filter I find that I only get about 2 or 3 spams a week but on checking what spam is blocked on BTO's site find they have blocked on average about 30 a week.

I also have an old email address with Freeserve which I have stopped using now as I was recieving over 90% spam with no spam blocking, last time I checked it was 165 messages with 11 non spam and this was only over 2 weeks.

  Jester2K II 18:46 23 Sep 03

5) Anyone who has found any other ways of combatting spam??

I used to get loads of spam on one of my e-mail address from my website (just in case you ever missed it!!! click here) I read about Obsfucation Techniques and used it to "hide" my e-mail address. Plain text links were replaced by graphics and they were linked to Obsfucated e-mail addresses (See click here)

example

made.up @ address.com becomes made. etc etc

Since then spam is minimal, in fact most of the unwanted e-mail i get is from the muppets that can't keep their AV upto date..... Mailwasher gets rid of those...

I also have a plain text e-mail address hidden in the webpage to monitor "normal" spam levels. Its never been used outside the website. That hit a high level a while back but has dropped off again since using Mailwasher to delete the messages....

  powerless 19:59 23 Sep 03

5) Anyone who has found any other ways of combatting spam.

Delete key works a treat and also Block sender.

  tbh72 20:43 23 Sep 03

I'm afraid I am not able to help this time. I use OE & I have set up a series of rules, similar to a YES / NO flow diagram. It took time & thought to impliment but I find it to be more successful than SOME spam utilities I have tried..... There should be a thread around here with the basic idea behind my message rules!!!!

Regards
T

  wags 21:29 23 Sep 03

I use Yahoo Mail ,which is very effective at diverting most spam to a "bulk" folder rather than my inbox. Some spam gets through, but it is a minimal amount. There is an easy to use reporting tab, whereby users can advise of spam that has got through the net and supposedly this helps Yahoo improve their filtering by adding the sender to their database.

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