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THOUGHT: Get rid of Spam E-Mails on your mobile devices
Posted by Arne Hess - on Saturday, 22.10.05 - 13:17:19 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 11336x
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Either somebody was "way too funny" and added my E-Mail addresses into a couple of porn spam lists or these spam bots fetched my E-Mail addresses from the::unwired or somebody got a virus since also my private E-Mail address is affected which isn't - normally - not public. However, for some weeks now, I have a massive spam problem and up to 9 out of 10 E-Mails I received are hardest porn spam plus the typical Viagra stuff, cheap Rolex, etc! 8O

While this doesn't bothers me too much on my PC (because Outlook 2003 and its Spam detection does a great job to filter out Spam mails and move it into the Junk Mail folder), it really bothers me on my mobile devices for several reasons: cost, time consumption and inconveniences. If you receive up to 9 Spam mails via GPRS or UMTS, it costs real money, deleting and getting rid of it on small screen devices like Pocket PCs and Smartphones is inconvenient and costs time and therefore I hadn't had too much fun anymore to get all my E-Mails on my mobile devices during the past weeks. In addition I have overseen some important E-Mails (and I'm not sure if I haven't accidentally deleted the one or the other E-Mail which wasn't a Spam at all, if so - sorry).

Nevertheless, thanks to my fellow MVP Marc Zimmermann I found a working solution which filters Spam before it reaches my mailbox. This solution, which is provided by German company eleven GmbH, is called eXpurgate and only requires a second E-Mail address as well as your current E-Mail provider must offer the possibility to forward incoming E-Mails directly to another E-Mail address. Most E-Mail providers offer this option.

The whole procedure can be divided into three main steps:

  • The user's E-Mail address is for example: user@providerxyz.de. In future, all E-Mails that are sent to this address will be forwarded on straight from the mail server at provider xyz (user mailbox 1) to the user's eXpurgate account user@Spamfence.net.
  • There the E-Mails are checked to see if they contain Spam and receives an additional mail header in this process, which reports the results of the examination and classifies the E-Mails as, for example, clear, suspicious or definitely Spam.
  • eXpurgate then sends the E-Mails to the user's second E-Mail address (e.g. user@providerabc.de or E-Mail2@providerxyz.de). The user can then access his mails as normal from his second mailbox at provider abc or xyz (user mailbox 2).

By adding a mail header, this procedure offers you the option of defining a filter in your E-Mail program (e.g. Microsoft Outlook, Eudora etc.), which reacts to these headers and immediately moves all E-Mails identified as Spam into a special folder (e.g. a 'Spam' folder) so that in future no SPAM mails will appear in your regular E-Mail inbox.

In order to completely cleanse your account of Spam and other unwanted E-Mails, you have the option of setting up one or more additional E-Mail addresses and setting eXpurgate to forward your E-Mails, irrespective of E-Mail type (e.g. 'clear' or 'Spam'), to different E-Mail addresses.

And here are the results of my E-Mail traffic since I have eXpurgate running (yesterday afternoon):

  • Spam: 71.4 %
  • Bulk 2.9 %
  • Clean 25.7 %

Only 25.7 % of all the E-Mails reached my mobile devices since I have created a second E-Mail account where Spam E-Mails are send to. This E-Mail account I'm monitoring from my PC only - to make sure I haven't missed an important E-Mail - but not from my mobile devices. :-p

eXpurgate saves me a lot of money and time and brought back my E-Mail experience on mobile devices. Well done, a great and useful service and even better - eXpurgate Spam filter service is completely free of charge for private use (if you use the POP3 forwarding method as explained above). In addition, if you are a company, eXpurgate also offers a company solution which might be worth to check since it is an ASP solution and you can completely outsource your spam protection.

Cheers ~ Arne


 
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Comments
Posted by Arne Hess on 22.10.05 - 19:33:44

Just in case you came here from a blog I'm not going to mention here, here is the uncensored comment I've posted in Jacek's blog:

Jacek, I can call you Jacek if you call me with my full name, right? While I'm normally not reading your blog, it came to my attention that you have quoted me again. So just for the records: I have the E-PLUS flat GPRS/UMTS contract as well, you are not the only one.
However, I'm using several devices (at least one Smartphone and one Pocket PC) in parallel and while I use the the E-Plus USIM with my Universal (which I use for data only), I'm still using the O2 Genion SIM with my Smartphones (you can read more about my current Smartphone here (http://www.theunwired.net/?itemid=2703). Genion provides another benefit for me, E-Plus isn't offering so it's a trade-off. However, I'm bored and annoyed if I receive Spam on any of my mobile devices (I explained it in details in my article where you took a part from only) and it's not about Germany only but also if you are abroad in international roaming where your flat isn't worth a penny anyway.
So you have to see the complete context, not a "I have a flat fee and he doesn't has" rant.
And no, it's not just a whining about my invoice but also a tip how others can prevent Spam on mobile devices. Might be not worth for you but for many of my readers it is, I'm sure.
Last but not least: how is it related to my MVP status? I'm a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for mobile device, not a MVP of the GSM Association and I even could get this status without using Phone Edition devices or Smartphones but just (disconnected) Pocket PCs. So where's the beef?

With best regards ~ Arne Heß

Not sure if this comment will make it to the blog's comment section and if it makes it to there, I'm sure it is censored as always. Therefore I have reposted it here since I believe in "free speech online".

UPDATE: Well done Jacek (he even left his name in my comment which he normally censors) and he has accepted my comment as I have posted it. Appreciated!

Posted by juczek on 23.10.05 - 00:37:40

great tip, will give it a try too. thanks for sharing!

Posted by Pony99CA on 23.10.05 - 09:13:45

It wouldn't surprise me if your address was harvested from this site.  I started getting spam at the old address I used at this site (from back when you were PPCW), so I changed my E-mail address for this site (I use different addresses for each site I visit so I can trace spam).

So far, I haven't gotten any spam at the new address, but you may want to ensure E-mail addresses are hidden by default and masked using HTML character encoding if the user actually wants them shown.

Steve

Posted by JvanEkris on 23.10.05 - 14:06:07

Great Tip Arne! You are foing to save me a lot of time!

Jaap van Ekris
MVP Mobile Devices

Posted by Arne Hess on 23.10.05 - 17:26:46

Pony99CA wrote:

It wouldn't surprise me if your address was harvested from this site.  I started getting spam at the old address I used at this site (from back when you were PPCW), so I changed my E-mail address for this site (I use different addresses for each site I visit so I can trace spam).

So far, I haven't gotten any spam at the new address, but you may want to ensure E-mail addresses are hidden by default and masked using HTML character encoding if the user actually wants them shown.

Steve

Steve, yes - you are right. Taking it from the site could be one option but what makes me wonder is the fact that also my personal E-Mail address is affected (with the same spam, basically a 1:1 copy of the spam I get on my public the::unwired address) and this address isn't public at all. I have it for 5 years now and never had such a spam problem. Therefore I think a PC of one of my contacts, which has the address for sure, otherwise it wouldn't makes any sense wink, is infected with a bot, virus, what ever... sad But now start the search from where it comes from. Anyway - it's too late now and I need a different protection than hiding this address and the solution I'm currently trying and described above works pretty good - so far. smile
It gives me a good feeling to start my Pocket PC/Smartphone Inbox again without downloading tons of spam. No more "fear". big_smile

Posted by Pony99CA on 24.10.05 - 07:57:57

Or you could do what I do as you have your own domain -- give everybody their own unique E-mail address at theunwired.net and just forward everything to your main E-mail  address.  If you start getting a lot of spam, check the To address and you can see either who sold your E-mail address or who got infected and let them know about it.  Then you permanently block that address and give them a new one.

I've used this technique for almost three years now and it's cut way down on my spam.  I've gone from 10-20 per day to 5 or so per week.  I do get the occasional spate of viruses at addresses that I've never given out (meaning they're guessing common first names and sending blindly), but I just block those addresses, too.

Steve

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