Free Anti-Spam Tools

Category: Spam

It seems like I get more spam than ever, and I'm not sure why. What free anti-spam tools can you recommend to help me keep spam to a minimum?

free anti-spam tools

Tools and Techniques to Fight Spam

Spam, or unsolicited email, used to be just a pain to deal with. But as the popularity of the Internet grows spam has become more of a threat than a bother. Today, spam is used by cyber criminals to transmit spyware, trojans, worms and viruses to new hosts. Fortunately, there are many ways you can combat both the annoying and the malicious varieties of spam using both free anti-spam tools and anti-spam techniques.

Free Anti-Spam Tools

The bad news is that spam accounts for as much as 90 percent of all emails. The good news is that there are some excellent free anti-spam tools to assist you in keeping your inbox safe and uncluttered. Here are a handful of anti-spam tools you can use:

POPFile is one of the most popular free anti-spam filters around. It classifies your emails based on the characteristics that you select. It works well with Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, and can be configured to work with web-based email as well. POPFile works as a proxy between your email program and your ISP's mail server. POPFile scans incoming messages to decide if they are good or bad, and then either tags the subject line or adds a header line which your email program can use to filter messages into appropriate folders.

SpamBayes is a free, open-source anti-spam tool that can be used with Outlook, Outlook Express, Vista's Live Mail, Thunderbird, and most popular webmail services. SpamBayes uses a statistical approach to classify incoming messages, and requires that you train it to understand what you personally consider good or junk emails. This approach for well for some users who receive email that might be erroneously zapped by a rules-based system.

EXpurgate is another anti-spam filter that you can use for free. This program works as both an anti-spam and an anti-virus tool. In order to use this filtering tool you will need two email accounts. You forward your emails from your old spam-infested email address to eXpurgate, it will filter the emails and then forward them to a new email account that you create. The trick is to make sure that you shiny new email address never falls into the hands of spammers.

You can do the same type of thing with Gmail. Create a free account on this web-based email service, then forward your old email address to Gmail. The awesome spam filter on Gmail will filter out the bad stuff into a Spam folder, and leave the good stuff in your inbox. Alternatively, you can use Gmail as an intermediate just for spam filtering, by creating a rule that will forward all your (spam-free) email to a new address.

Another free anti-spam filter that you can check out is the Spamihilator . This is a versatile anti-spam filter that can work with both POP and IMAP accounts. However, there are a few drawbacks offered by this filter. First it doesn't allow you to access or manage your account remotely through a web-based account portal. Secondly, it filters your emails before they get to you so you don't have the option of reclassifying emails after they've been filtered by the program.

Free Anti-Spam Techniques

Fighting spam still requires a little effort on your part, to prevent the flow of unwanted emails in your direction. You should implement a few simple anti-spam techniques that will prevent you from compounding your spam problem. Here are some "best practices" that won't cost you a penny, but will help to reduce your spam problem:

  • Be vigilant to protect against viruses and spyware. If your computer becomes infected, your address as well as all your email contacts can be compromised. See Should I Buy Anti-Spyware or Anti-Virus Software? for my anti-malware recommendations.
  • Keep your email address private. If you post in online forums or message boards, don't include your email address. Any time your email address is displayed in text form on ANY web page, it's an open invitation for spambots to harvest your address.
  • Never click on the "REMOVE" link in a spam. Instead of removing your email address from the spammer's emailing list it actually verifies that your email account is active and that it is a prime target for more spam.
  • Don't even open spam emails, if you can help it. This can make your system vulnerable to malware infiltration, and can also alert the spammers that your address is valid and that you DO open spam messages.
  • If you have opened a spam to see what it was don't click on any links within that spam and don't download any attachments. Clicking the links can lead you to scams or viruses hosted on a server, and downloading attachments can infect your system with worms, trojans, viruses and spyware.
  • And of course, never buy anything from a spammer. If have this naive theory that if nobody purchased the products and services offered by spammers, they just might stop wasting their time and money on this form of advertising.

There are many different ways in which you can protect your inbox from spam. Free anti-spam tools can help after the fact, but using the proactive techniques above, along with an anti-spam filter will keep most of the annoying and harmful junk mail out of your inbox. What free anti-spam tools and techniques have you found most effective? Post your comments below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Free Anti-Spam Tools"

Posted by:

MmeMoxie
19 Feb 2009

I began using MailWasher about 8 years ago. About the time that Nick Bolton introduce his product on the Internet. I don't even remember where I heard about this awesome product, I just know that I won't use anything else and LOVE it!!!

Check out this web page and see if any of you might be interested. It explains the program well and even has a video showing some of the highlights. http://www.mailwasher.net/

MailWasher is still FREE to this day. However I purchased his MailWasher Pro version. The Pro version doesn't have any advertisement on it and the FREE program maybe one or two versions behind. The wonderful basics are available in both version ... filtering out SPAM in your emails. It also, works on ALL versions of Window. One important note, I have NEVER had to pay for an update or upgrade. This program does not have a subscription time limit, either. I put this program on all my family and friends computers, it's a 'must have' utility program, in my book.


Posted by:

Peter
25 Feb 2009

I wholeheartedly agree with Mme Moxie. I have been using Mailwasher Pro for five years. I have five email addresses and can access them all at the same time with Mailwasher and delete all spam before downloading the mail. Wouldn't be without it!!


Posted by:

John Strom
06 Mar 2009

My SPAM filter technique is to use ePrompter as an email notifier to intercept my inbound email. ePrompter will enable me to view the sender, subject, and text information of the email received. I simply mark the SPAM emails for deletion and let ePrompter remove those emails from their respective mail servers before I launch my email clients to receive the email I have already determined as being legit.

From my perspective, Gmail does the very least to combat SPAM email. I continue to get hundreds of SPAM emails from the same SPAM senders despite using Gmail's "Delete Forever" and "Delete all spam messages now" tools. Gmail seems to have the largest and best opportunity to fight the war on SPAM but does the very least of all the providers to take any action on our behalf to reduce the scourge that besets us all. I guess that is why there is no way to contact Gmail directly regarding specific SPAM offenders.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I guess the "Your Mileage May Vary" caveat holds true here. I use Gmail and find that it does an *excellent* job of filtering spam. But your comment makes me think that you're upset that people keep *sending* you spam, because you find it in your spam folder. If Gmail is correctly filing the spam into your Spam folder, it's doing the right thing! I would NOT want my email program to silently dump spam, since there will always be a few false positives.


Posted by:

thomas campion
24 Apr 2009

My IN box is exclusive and only the mail from me (sent by spammers) gets in. New trick. What I would like to see is a spam filter for my JUNK mail box since that's where all other msgs go. I have tried the usual fixes but they only delete some poor person who has been hacked and malware'd. ANY IDEAS?? BBT..

EDITOR'S NOTE: You lost me... are you saying that ALL of your mail goes into spam, except for the spam? And I have no idea what you mean by deleting people who have been hacked. Can you clarify?


Posted by:

Ron Harris
09 May 2009

Used in conjunction, these three free Anti-Spyware Tools work wonders:

Malwarebtyes Anti-Malware
http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php

SUPERAntiSpyware Free Edition
http://www.superantispyware.com/

Spybot Search & Destroy
http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html


Posted by:

VOXPOP
08 Jul 2010

I also have been using Mailwasher pro for years along with a new anti-spam program I came across which I really like; SPAMFIGHTER.COM. Mailwasher requires you to input a check mark in the spam email which takes forever if you get a lot of email while Spamfighter has their own folder that collects the email so you can unblock the false positives which are few if any.


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