Fight spam and protect your privacy by disabling remote content in Apple Mail

“We all hate spam,” Jim Tanous writes for TekRevue.

“Despite continued improvements in spam detection and filtering, it’s almost unavoidable these days, and while you likely won’t ever be able to stop it completely, there are steps you can take to minimize it”,” Tanous writes. “One of those steps is disabling remote content in the OS X Apple Mail app.”

“Using remote images and content lets legitimate companies and users keep email messages small, and allows for more useful formatting,” Tanous writes. “But spammers and other online bad guys can use remote code to tell if you’ve received their email.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Spam no longer relies on a reply to that email, they have you click a link in he email instead. Since a reply is not needed, there’s no one on the spammer side that even has to have receive mail turned on. So, you could send a bounce, but no spammer at the other end is going “Oh my, of the millions of emails I sent, several thousand were rejected! I’d best hold up sending any more out until I cull those from my list!”

      1. Actually, they rely on just LOADING the external image to detect engagement. That server request is logged and the image has a unique query string that identifies you. That’s why gmail caches all images so all images look like they’ve been opened when sent to a gmail address. But you’re not giving up any information like “how many times you opened it” or “when you opened it”

  1. The best anti-spam solution is to not get the spam to your inbox at all. My email service uses a product called Spam Titan which checks every incoming and outgoing email for spam or malware. There’s also Spam Soap, which does pretty much the same thing. If you use a free email service like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. you’re going to get spam, and there’s no way to stop it. Period. Register a domain, and find a great email hosting provider host your email so that you can have this second level spam filtering.

  2. Web Bugs:?

    A web bug is an object embedded in a web page or email, which unobtrusively (usually invisibly) allows checking that a user has accessed the content. Common uses are email tracking and page tagging for web analytics. Alternative names are web beacon, tracking bug, tag, or page tag. Common names for web bugs implemented through an embedded image include tracking pixel, pixel tag, 1×1 gif, and clear gif. When implemented using JavaScript, they may be called JavaScript tags.
    . . . .
    In email
    Web bugs are frequently used in email marketing as a way of determining which recipients open the email. Doing this allows marketers to know who has seen the promotion or announcement that they have sent, and allows them to back-off or re-engage appropriately.

    Some web bugs tracking in email can be disabled by:

    Turning off HTML display and displaying only the text.
    Turning off the display of images while still using HTML.

  3. BTW: I still find that the most HARD CORE way to fight spammers is via I’ve been a paying member since 1998. I swear it’s one of the prime reasons I typically get an average of zero spam per day. I must be on a list shared among spamrats of people NOT to spam, lest they court death. both notifies ISPs of offending IP accounts spewing spam, and provides a free blacklist of spam to anti-spam services, including those of Apple and Google.

    I find crushing spamrats beneath my boot heel is both fun and rewarding. I associate it with my joy of harassing and trampling trolls. It’s not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’. But it is an enjoyable way of helping others on the net.

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