Kill email spam on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad

“The public internet is about 22 years old. What’s the killer app of the internet? Some would say the browser, the window to the information superhighway,” Jeffrey Mincey writes for Mac360. “I say the real killer app is email. How so? In every sense of the term ‘killer app‘ email fits the definition. Along with legitimate email messages comes email from the dark side. Spam– it kills time, productivity, and efficiency.”

“Take my 22 years of dealing with email as a cue. There are only two legitimate ways to defeat email spam,” Mincey writes. “First on the list is a solution many of us have dreamed about using, but just don’t have the nerve. Don’t use email. Go off the email grid, so to speak. That solution gets rid of email spam. Unfortunately, it’s throwing the baby out with bath water and not an acceptable solution despite the sentiment.”

“Second on the list is a solution employed by most Mac users in one way or another,” Mincey writes. “For most of the 21st century I’ve relied on SpamSieve, and add on Mail utility that works much like Junk Mail, only better. Actually, much better. And there’s a way to set it all up so you don’t get spam on your iPhone or iPad.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re going to try the free trial (full version is $30) and see if it can help us clear our stupendous email quagmire.

20 Comments

  1. I’ve been using Spamsieve on my main Mac for about a year. I can confirm it works almost flawlessly. If you use multiple Macs, iPads and iPhones and are using imap like I am then just load Spamsieve on any Mac that receives emails the software sorts all the spam emails on arrival leaving all your other devices completely Spam free. Only downside is you need to leave the host Mac permanently connected, but other than that perfect! It also works with Pop emails but obviously only works with the host device.

  2. Managing corporate email servers has become a significant part of my daily work. Way more than I would ever have predicted.

    I typically stick a Baracuda Spam Firewall in front of the server. It’s a great system. It allows lots of analysis, and I can export key information from headers into a spreadsheet for analysis of where SPAM is coming from.

    From there I have spam filters that run on the server itself. Redundant, but it helps.

    I find that if I take a few minutes each morning, and unsubscribe and flag as spam the crap in my inbox, I can get my spam down to almost nil. It starts to pick up again after a while and I repeat the exercise.

  3. I’m finding that the combination of the JUNK MAIL filter in Mail on my Mac, coupled with the new UNSUBSCRIBE options in iOS10 Mail are eliminating a lot of my spam in a hurry! And best of all … it’s FREE!

  4. I still say Google’s spam filters are the best. Does it require you to do some work? Yes, but once you get started using your filters, you’ll be surprise how little spam you get. I check my folder everyday, several times a day in fact, and I make a filter using the email, subject, To:, or whatever I can find that is common to the junk mail. Once I started using Google’s filters my daily spam went from 70 to 80 down to 5 or less. It probably does the same as the filters that are discussed here, but its free.

  5. What’s worked very well for me for years:

    A) I mark all the spam I get in Mail such that it is now nearly perfectly trained to dump all spam into the ‘Junk’ box and not much else. (Although it has recently picked up the habit of dumping political solicitations into Junk as well, which is just fine with me).

    B) I post ALL the spam I get over at SpamCop.net. I’ve been doing so since 1998 when the service began. You can thank me, and other spam narcs, for the success of anti-spam apps like SpamSieve. They get part of their blacklist from SpamCop. Over the years, I’ve received a remarkably low amount of spam. I’m convinced that I’ve become so notorious in spam rat circles that I’m on a ‘Never Spam’ blacklist.

    C) I report all phishing spam rat attacks to the services the spam attempts to fake. FedEx has been an extremely popular target of phishing fraud. There are a variety of places to report phishing, including the Federal Trade Commission in the USA. But I look up forwarding email addresses of the actual services. – – There are a few services that have NO phishing report addresses or methods. One of them is Google and another is Twitter. Shame on them both!

    1. There isn’t much that those that have been impersonated in phishing attacks can do. If you are FedEx , and somebody had sent a message that looks exactly like one of yours, and had sent recipients to the site that looks exactly like yours, there is absolutely nothing you can really do. Having a dedicated e-mail address / web page where people can contact FedEx to report these things is fairly useless, since there is absolutely nothing FedEx can do about any one of these specific attacks, other than to keep notifying all of their customers that there is yet another phishing attempt and not to click on the links. If they were to do this every time somebody reported a new phishing attack, they would end up constantly barraging (spamming) their customers with more-or-less the same message.

      1. I have no idea what you’re talking about. The entire concept is to identify the source(s) of the phishing spam and shut them down. This is being done constantly every day. That’s specifically why I do put in the time and effort to report everything.

        IF a company, such as FedEx decides not to do anything about the attacks, that’s up to them. IF the attacks are being performed by botted devices (which now includes millions of IoT devices with crap or no security) then those specific machines can be identified, taken for analysis and the source of the bot instructions tracked. The instruction source can be monitored and the next phase of tracking is to find the Bot Wrangler, as I call them. Such Bot Wranglers are regularly FOUND and PROSECUTED.

        Since so many around here enjoy hating but not researching, enjoy these specific examples of PROSECUTION that you won’t click on:

        26-Year-Old Hacker Sentenced to Record 334 Years in Prison
        http://thehackernews.com/2016/01/hacker-sentenced-prison.html

        Named Onur Kopçak, the hacker was arrested in 2013 for operating a phishing website that impersonated bank site, tricking victims into providing their bank details including credit card information.

        56 Hackers Arrested in Cyber Crime ‘Strike Week’ Raids in UK
        http://thehackernews.com/2015/03/hackers-arrested-cyber-crime.html

        A 20-year-old man from Hackney, London was arrested on suspicion of committing a £15,000 phishing attack.

        …The recent raids carried out by NCA didn’t just target hackers behind well-known attacks or specific cyber crime. Instead it has arrested hackers behind phishing attacks, malware, and also companies that offered web hosting to known criminals.

        Suggestion: Know what you’re talking about before posting folks.

        1. Your response sounds like you never actually read what I wrote.

          Yes, the idea is to identify the sources of these scams and shut them down. The responsibility for this is everyone’s. Reporting phishing scam to FedEx only because that scam looked like it came from FedEx doesn’t really make much sense. FedEx was in no way involved, nor responsible for distributing, or in any way helping to create or distribute, the scam. They have absolutely nothing to do with it. Reporting it to FedEx in hope that FedEx would then make an effort to identify the source of the phishing scam implies that they are somehow responsible for the scam.

          Much more effective and useful would be reporting such phishing scams to companies that actually investigate them: internet security companies, whose primary business is, well, internet security, or the law enforcement. They are properly equipped to do this. They presumably have the engineering talent, and their primary focus is protecting from spam, phishing, hacking and other types of attacks. The only thing that FedEx can really do with all those reports is forward them to the internet security companies (or law enforcement) who will do this. While they have IT security team, their expertise is nowhere near adequate, nor is it their job, to hunt for creators of botnets, or phishing scammers.

    2. Oh, and thank you very much indeed for that SpamCop reporting! I have no doubt that the low-to-non-existent level of spam in my inboxes is in no small part thanks to those like you who diligently did their ‘good Samaritan’ thing.

        1. A significant reason of that abysmal spam-to-legitimate mail ratio is the fact that there are enough sheep that fall for spam to make it worthwhile. As long as there are poor souls who reply (or even simply open) this junk, we will all have to continue to pay for all that traffic and storage that nobody wants.

          1. *sigh* The snarky term for the phenomenon is The Luser Syndrome or luser effect. Social engineering has remarkable success and it’s rampant. Here’s an article I was reading about same just this morning:

            Kids today are so stupid they fall for security scams more often than greybeards
            Millennials turn out to be digital naïfs, not digital natives

            …Half of respondents between the age of 18 and 34 had followed tech support scammer instructions, handing over remote access to their machines or downloading software after encountering a scam page…. Only 17 per cent of respondents 55 years and older took the bait. Meanwhile, one in three (34 per cent) of folks aged between 36 and 54 fell for scams.

  6. As a recipient, I seem to be (mercifully) spared the scourge of SPAM. I have several e-mail accounts (one for online shops and log-ins, one for private communication only, one for my community group I’m heading, and one at work). They are with various providers (iCloud, G-mail, Earthlink, work-hosted Lotus Notes), and each has its own spam filtering that blocks practically all the unwanted stuff before it even reaches my devices. About the only account that still occasionally gets some spam (one or two messages per week) is Earthlink. I practically never get spam on iCloud, or G-mail. I get some at work, but it is rare.

    As a sender of bulk mail, I had to contend with spam filters and blacklists. I use home-brew web-based application that lets me automatically send notifications to my community group. The sending part is done by PHPMailer (using sendmail on the server). Some of the recipients’ spam filters block my messages, so I had to devise work-arounds for these people. They often involve having to insert a short wait time (5 seconds) before and after sending the same message to multiple recipients with the same domain (such as columbia.edu, for example), which apparently tricks the spam filter into thinking that the messages are sent as individual ones, rather than as bulk. There were other sorts of problems with other providers; Microsoft does a very unusual thing, where it re-writes HTML messages, stripping various CSS code away, including links and other things. Sending to Outlook.com, Hotmail, Live and other MS properties requires additional special considerations. It is a pretty big hassle, and I only have about 120 recipients on the list.

    For distribution of generic newsletters, announcements and similar, MailChimp, ConstantContact or similar commercial provider is much easier, as they have developed reputation with mail providers as a proper, legitimate mail distributors who never send SPAM, so the stuff that comes from them is almost never flagged. But if you want to automate sending customised messages from an application, it is a major challenge navigating around various smap filtering roadblocks.

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