Antispam. Aren’t We All! Don’t You Just Hate It?


Antispam. Aren’t we all! Don’t you just hate it? You have much to do without having to filter through a cluster of valueless or inferior yet, unpleasant junk emails in your Inbox.

So what can be done about it? What antispam procedures and software really work?

Spam filtering software is the first step in your antispam campaign, but it’s the easiest to subvert in some ways.
This antispam tool’s work is to tell your email configuration to look for selected hint words – sex, nude, porn, for instance – and to get rid of the messages that include these clue words. Of course, there are straightforward ways to get around these antispam procedures. Have you ever seen a message that comes through with the word sex spelt s*e*x? Well, that asterisk technique has circumvented your spam filter – or the spam filter of your Internet and email provider.

The other setback with this filter is that you could miss genuine messages. A friend, for example, who could mail you that she was”sick of porn sites popping up” may have her message deleted for the reason that it restricted the statement “porn”.
Two enhanced versions of these antispam filtering products are Bayesian and heuristic filters, which try to categorize offensive emails by recognizing phrases as objectionable. SpamAssassin by Apache is probably the best-known example of heuristic filtering. What these filters do that the essential ones aren’t is checking the message personally rather than the main header. Both Bayesian and heuristic filters have a weak spot in that they depend on their filtering on frequency. Should a spammer send a brief message, it would go through.

To further make matters worse by punishing the “good guys,” major ISPs started simply taking into account batch emailing as possible spam. What this did, nonetheless, was to break up opt-in products such as e-zines and newsletters. So that didn’t work fine. The spammers found a way around it anyhow. As they sent out their batch emails, they inserted a program that created a variant in each subject. Possibly a word that didn’t even make sense but still individualized each mail enough to have the batching not appear as batching.

Some non-profit Internet regulating agencies started keeping lists of the IP addresses of spammers. When these addresses cropped up in the mail they were stopped. The way all over this for spammers was simple – they tweak IP addresses. The outcome was even worse in that those addresses then got handed out to entirely innocent folks who now had problems sending an email. The spammers got aggressive and started creating and distributing viruses allowing them to hijack IP addresses that weren’t on the “spam” lists.

The solution seems to lie for many businesses, and their sites are to bypass standard email communication completely and fall back to online feedback forms for electronic communication. Which, of course, doesn’t sort out the antispam issue for private individuals who have no Web site of their own.

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