Email getting out of hand? There are ways to get it under control.
Recently we noticed a huge up swing in the amount of SPAM emails being delivered from our mail servers in spite of having some fairly strong filters and blocking in place. So what is happening? For one thing the spammers are getting creative. They know how filters work and they have found ways around them. For example, we run a free program called MailWasher to help reduce the amount of junk emails that get downloaded to our computers. The program works well and has many features to help reduce spam. Here is how it works.
Instead of opening Outlook or Outlook Express directly we check our email using MailWasher. The program shows us a list of all the emails ready to be downloaded and gives us the opportunity to decide which emails we want and which ones we donít. If we donít want an email from a particular sender we simply right click on it in the list and add it to a Black List. Once it is in the black list we will never get another email from that sender. We can also add a sender to our Friends list to insure their email always gets through if we want as well. My favorite option allows us to block a specific email address or block an entire domain. If we get a spam message for example from Billybob@spammers.com , and block the specific address we could still get emails from Badboy@spammers.com. But if we block the entire domain then any email sent from spammers.com would be blocked. For a number of years now this method of blocking has been very effective. Spammers needed to come up with lots of different domain names to get past the blocking.
In response spammers have adjusted their systems and now concentrate on the domain name side of the return address. Since most of the return addresses are fake or stolen they really donít care if it is an actual address as long as someone gets their messages. Now they are using what appears to be randomly generated domains to get their messages past all the filtering. Here is what the new address for Billybob would look like (Billybob@abcdefg.spammers.com). The letters really donít mean anything but the number of different combinations of these letters is astronomical and give the spammer almost an unlimited number of different domains to use as a return address without ever using the same one twice. Think of it this way. You send out 30 million emails using the letters just as they are in the example above, then send out another 30 million changing only the first letter to a (b) instead of the a. Now you can see why blocking is not as good as it once was. But it is still worth while. Keep in mind that the more filters you use the more likely it is that an important email you wanted gets blocked. Set your filters carefully and do not select the auto delete option. Manually review each new email before adding the sender to the blocked list.
You can download the Free Mailwasher program or get the Mailwasher Pro version for $29.95 from their web site.