Saturday, March 20, 2004
SPAM BUSTING ?
Having been plagued by SPAM ( unsolicited bulk e mail ) for months and with the recent unpleasant development of more and more of the Spam I get containing attachments with hiden viruses and worms, I was pleasantly surprised when it seemed my Internet Service Provider, NTL, were geneorously offering a free program to help contain the Spam epedemic.
In fact , the program was simply a trial version of "Spam Butcher" which I downloaded from
. It did manage to filter a fair amount of my Spam and enabled me to delete it without opening it, but still, a great deal was coming through. At the end of the trial period, I simply uninstalled the program.
( To be honest, I was disappointed that a huge company like NTL weren't actually offering their customers a free means of identifying and blocking Spam they were getting, and in fact, they were very probably getting a nice reward for advertising/recommending this company's modest program.
Then I remembered that an on-line friendly commentator, Mick, had left a note referring to a free program he used called " Mailwasher" and I did a search, found the program and downloaded it. (From
The program is the work of an altruistic guy in New Zealand called Mick Bolton and I think it has become a very popular program largely through word of mouth. ( three million downlaods sort of says it's good I think !)
As with other anti-spam software, the program checks for e mails on your server, that is before it is downloaded, ready for opening in your e mail program. In a way it a bit like picking up the mail from your letter box and then examining it before opening. When you spot obvious junk letters, they just get binned.
Here is a quote from the mailwasher website "Frequently asked questions" section.
"MailWasher works directly with your email server, exactly like your email program does. But there is one important difference: you can tell MailWasher to delete a message at the server, without downloading it - or you can bounce an email back to the sender so that it looks as though your address is not valid.
MailWasher retrieves information about all the emails on the server. With that information (some of which is also processed by MailWasher) you can decide what to do with each individual email - download, delete, or bounce back.If you check your account with MailWasher first, you can delete or bounce the emails you do not want. Then, when you use your email program, it downloads only the remaining emails, those that you want to read."
There were several features of the program that I really liked. Firstly, you can download blacklists of known spamming companies and sources and Mailwasher rejects those. You can blacklist additional spam you spot as it appears .You can also assign e mails it tells you it suspects are spam, but you recognise as legitimate and welcome e mail to a "friends" list. But what I really like is the ability to bounce spam back.
You'll know that, when you open Spam, there is often an "unsubscribe" link. In nearly all cases, if you click on this and send your e mail address to the spammer, you will not be removed from their listings. You are simply confirming that you have an active e mail account and that information will be sold on so you are increasing the amount of Spam you will get by trying to get off these lists in this way.
Mailwasher, if you tell it to, will bounce back the Spam automatically to the sender as "undeliverable", and thus prevent the system that sent it thinking it has a valid e mail address to send more Spam to.
So, to use Mailwasher, you simply open the program, not your e mail program. You will see details of any e mails on your server waiting to be delivered. At this point you can tick various boxes to simultaneously delete, bounce back and blacklist any unwelcome mail and not tick e mail that is genuine. Once this spam has been removed, you can proceed to open your e mail program.
Here is a screenshot of part of the interface you see when you open Mailwasher, showing the all important tick box facility that is so easy to use.
Mailwasher tick boxes
I think it is kind of sad that I can find a much better anti-spam program , better than my rich ISP recommends , on the advice of a friend ; New Zealand pretty soon will be getting my cash for an excellent progam. I'd recommend Mailwasher as a way to minimise the violataion of your privacy by Spammers.
johncoxon 12:40 PM - [Link] - Comments ()