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How to Block Spam With a 3rd Party Tool.

  Block Spam on your Computer.

Using this method you use a desktop tool to access the email server and using White lists (all the good emails), Black lists (all the bad guys) and some type of filtering tools such as Baysian etc you hope to catch all the new Bad emails when they arrive on the email server.

This is one of the most effective ways to block spam. You have control over what you delete because you set up the White list and Black list. However, while the Baysian filtering algorithm is an excellent algorithm and is +95% effective it is not 100% effective.

The big problem with this type of filtering is that you are always chasing your tail. Look at it this way, if you want to filter out all emails containing the word free you have to filter for FREE Free FrEE frEE freE FREe FrEe fre.e fr33 fere free. Fr-ee f-r-e-e fr*e and on it goes. And that is just for one word. Not only that but you'll catch the email from your friend telling you that he has decided that you can have his tickets to the Justin Timberlake concert for free.

Spammers have more ways of getting through the filters than the filters have of catching them. This is a zero sum game that you can't win except one way.

If you only use a White list and declare all email senders not in your White list as spam to be blocked then you'll catch 100% of the spam and the occasional good email. Hey, you still might miss out on those Justin Timberlake concert tickets but if they were a real friend they would be in your White list already now wouldn't they.

Some of the spam blocker programs to run on your desktop are servers. This means that they are running on your computer all the time and log into your email servers from time to time to check for emails. This is similar to the email server you have at work or school. You set your email program up to check for new emails from your local server rather than the POP3 server on your ISP.

While this is a reasonably good option I don't like it as I run a good firewall on my computer and I am not comfortable with the idea of yet another program running on auto-pilot. I prefer to have total control over what runs when. This could be considered to be just paranoia on my part but I don't even allow the web browsers to go online without my specific approval. I have caught some internet nasties attempting to make out they are internet explorer and going online to a specific website, not my home page.

If I was running a computer specifically as an internet server and a network of other computers I would run and email server for all the other computers to reduce the risk of viruses, trojans etc. I'm not and you are probably not so a server based solution probably isn't appropriate. Quite apart from the technical expertise required to set one up and train it to catch and block the spam.

All of these work by accessing the email server, examining the email held there and making some type of comparison against one or more lists. Black lists are ever growing at a rapid rate. Scanning algorithms get bigger and more sophisticated almost daily. The more work your computer has to do to sort through every email and comparing to every item on every list, analysing every word, phrase and URL in the scanning algorithm the slower it will get.

And you'll have to train it daily for at least the first 30 days, then ongoing maintenance from then on. Realistically, if I have to train the program to be able to sort the Good guys from the Bad guys, I want it to be so simple and fast that it takes almost no time at all.

One of the easiest desktop tools available is the Spam-Killa. You can get it from the website and have a full 30 days to try it out.

Or you could go to and use the easy to use spam deletion tool. You'll still need to know your email user name and password but you won't have to play with any settings, just decide which ones you want to keep and delete the rest.

Copyright Brent Milne. 2007

brent (at)


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