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Spam filtering in Mail.app for beginners Apps
I recently followed a hint here to enable some robust UNIX spam filtering options (spambouncer, etc.) and have been delighted with the results. Unfortunately, the instructions are a little complicated for novice users to employ. So I began looking at how people like my Mother can use the very basic filters in Mail.app to block spam.

Read the rest of the article for some ideas on how to use rules to help filter spam from your inbox...

While Mail's filtering options are rudimentary, there are three very simple rules you can set to block most spam. I'm sure others have suggestions but here's a quick solution:
  1. Create a new Mailbox called "Junk"
  2. Create a new Mailbox called "Subscriptions"
  3. In Mail's preferences create three simple rules:

    Rule 1:
    Criteria: TO or CC: DOES NOT CONTAIN: "enter part of your domain name"
    Action: Move to folder: Junk

    Rule 2:
    Criteria: Body: CONTAINS: unsub
    Action: Move to folder: Junk

    Rule 3:
    Criteria: Body: CONTAINS: click here
    Action: Move to folder: Junk
If you subscribe to lists or newsletters, just add filters to move those mails to your Subscriptions Mailbox. Drag these rules above the spam filters in the Rules list so that they occur prior to spam filtering. For example:

Rule:
Criteria: From: CONTAINS: versiontracker
Action: Move to folder: Subscriptions

Now just peek in your Junk Mailbox every now and then and delete. Look in your Subscriptions Mailbox for newsletters and such.

The first rule blocks a ton of junk because spammers don't usually include a legitimate TO: header. It is also unlikely that your friends or co-workers will give you a chance to 'unsubscribe' to their emails. It is conceivable that a friend could send you an email to telling you to "click here", but we are about simplicity here.

While not perfect, these rules seem to have stemmed the tide of spam for others with whom I have shared this hint. It is also easier than blocking specific subjects as you don't have to create a hundred different rules with words like "rape" and "porn", etc.

Now I can hold out for the improved filters in OS 10.2. (aka Jaguar).
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Spam filtering in Mail.app for beginners | 8 comments | Create New Account
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Multiple accounts = out of luck
Authored by: Anonymous on Jun 18, '02 10:05:10PM

Those of us who use several accounts with Mail.app are out of luck as far as filter number one - there is no way to filter spam that does not go to *any* of your accounts. At least, not until 10.2's Mail.app - which everyone can't wait for ANYWAY. Seriously, I'm thinking of pirating Jaguar JUST for Mail.app! (Unless GNUMail.app pulls through in the meantime)



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Multiple accounts
Authored by: zs on Jun 19, '02 04:13:13AM
I have something similar set up with my accounts except for each account I put a rule like this at the end of the rules list: Criteria: TO or CC: CONTAINS: "enter part of your domain name" Action: Transfer to mailbox: inbox and then this to filter off the crap: Criteria: From: DOES NOT CONTAIN: OBAFGKM Action: Transfer to mailbox: spam spam spam Since mail doesn't have a criteria to just activate a rule, I had to make something that every message won't match and move it to the spam bin. Also, thanks for mentioning GNUMail.app! It is at 1.0.2 and appears to be in good working order. What's keeping you from using it?

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Multiple accounts = out of luck
Authored by: Hiram on Jun 19, '02 04:50:24AM
I would not advise you to `pirate' Jaguar. The Installation readme specifically states that updating from the beta to the retail version will likely be impossible. This means that, unless you have a dedicated machine to test run the new Mail.app on, you'll have to back up all your files on a different partition before installing the beta. I chose to wait, and satisfy my curiosity by looking at screen shots here and there.

By the way: it seems Mail.app in Jaguar will still not filter outgoing messages automatically. You can apply your filters to the Sent Messages mbox manually, as you can now, but it would be nice if filters were applied upon sending, with no user action required.

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Simpler simply..
Authored by: charles a on Jun 19, '02 01:33:43PM

To kill 95% of spam:
1) create your "whitelist" filters - allow through stuff from mailing lists (which won't be addressed directly to you but which you want to see)
2) create filter to delete anything which doesn't have your *exact* address in the To: or Cc: fields.

3) complain like hell about the ones that get through. (They will, unfortunately.)

This is much faster than any filtering system which examines the body of the mail, which could be enormous. Also, spammers are getting wise: I saw a spam today in HTML which ran "to uns<!---mine--->ubscribe from th<!-- mine -->is list...
You'd miss them on body scanning for words like "unsubscribe".
Various other header checks, such as binning stuff from .kr, .cn, .jp (though excluding whitelist above) are getting pretty useful too nowadays.

Does this work? Sure. I have about 5 very public addresses, get 200 emails a day, and I get about 3-4 "beat the filter" spams per day. Those, I take some work to kill the spammer.
That 200 emails figure, BTW, is why I don't do tests on the content of the mail. Too large, too slow.



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Bouncing -- for real
Authored by: mhollis on Jun 20, '02 02:12:22PM

dennisbest got me really interested when he mentions "bouncing" in his article. I would love to hear of a technique that would literally do that instead of "bouncing" unwanted e-mail to another folder.

If only there were such a program that would literally send as "undeliverable" all e-mail back out, killing all traces that it ever did exist on our computer.

And I'm particularly interested in something like this because today I received two apparent virus programs in e-mail from someone with an AT&T Worldnet account. Virus immunity is yet another reason why Macs are better than PCs but everyone here knows that.

BTW: The account that received the virus programs and the junk mail is an Earthlink account. Apparently their "spaminator" doesn't work perfectly.



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Bouncing -- for real
Authored by: beastie on Jun 20, '02 02:34:36PM
i don't think it's possible.... at any case bouncing can be implemented only on the server side (your ISP probably).

No program on your client-side computer can perform real bouncing because the message in question has been received already by your ISP mail servers. What happens after that is simple mail retrieval from /var/spool/mail where your email gets stored.
Mail.app feature "bounce" works by spoofing message body so it only looks like it was bounced by sendmail... it's not real bounce...

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Spam filtering for NON-beginners
Authored by: dennisbest on Jun 20, '02 03:17:53PM
I posted this hint for people with little or no experience.... or for power-users to help Mail users who have little experience.

If you want a comprehensive spam solution go to:

http://ceicher.homeunix.com/mt-static/docs/FreeSpamFilteringForMacOSX.html


These instructions are easier than they look and, man, they WORK! Bye bye spam.

I'm reluctant to install this for others because I won't be around to troubleshoot. That's why I looked for a simple solution.




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Bouncing -- for real
Authored by: Louis Ghio on Mar 18, '04 05:14:22PM

Incredimail Premium build 1361 has a Bounce Button.
The sender gets back this:
"I'm sorry to inform you that the message you have sent
could not be delivered to one or more destinations".



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