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Computing Solutions - Tech Support

How to Setup Message Rules in Outlook Express:

Concerning SPAM and Message Rules.

SPAM is a very undesirable problem. Unfortunately, there is not a lot that can be done to prevent SPAM. ISP's are very reluctant to implement any SPAM prevention on their own because of possible personal preference conflict of interest or freedom of speech issues. Yes, there are some who actually like getting hundreds of junk emails per day.

How is the best way to prevent SPAM? First, do not sign up for ANY mailing lists at shopping sites and or with most websites! Once you do, your email address will be sold over and over again. Live by that old adage "Nothing in life is free." or "If it looks to good to be true, it probably is." What this means is simply don't believe what you read. If someone is offering you FREE goods or services and all you have to do is complete some survey, or just fill out a form, or anyhing else that requires you to provide your email address to get something, DON'T DO IT! You are endangering your pc and its health and your own sanity. OVER 50% OF ALL INTERNET TRAFFIC IS SPAM RELATED! You're just making matters worse if you do these things. Also, you are opening your pc up for dangerous virus infections, adware and spyware programs, etc. This is all very bad for your PC.

Another way to prevent SPAM is to purchase an expensive firewall system that filters through every incoming email message and scans it for potential problems or keywords and then it will will delete the messages for you. But what if it accidentally deletes something that was a real message and not SPAM? No SPAM filtering software is 100% accurate. It's basically a guessing game. It looks for certain keywords or "footprints" in a message then either deletes the message or places it in a storage place for future review. Storing the message for future review would require someone to maintain, review, forward or delete these potential SPAM messages. This could be very time consuming and very costly to you.

Another way to filter SPAM is to use a server based filtering system that simply marks the potenial SPAM with a phrase or keyword in the Subject line of the message so that the end user can still receive the message but set up a "Message Rule" in their client program, such as Outlook Express or Outlook. This method does NOT delete or prevent the message from arriving to the end user. The downside of this method is that it still easts up the bandwidth to your interent connection and on the internet itself. By setting up a message rule in your email client program you can automatically delete any incoming message that are marked as POSSIBLE-SPAM or move them to another folder in your folder list, ie SPAM. Then you can review your messages at later time.

This last method is how we implement SPAM prevention. For all of our Managed customers we enable the program called SPAM Assassin to rewrite the subject line of potential SPAM. For all of our Self-managed customers you can do this from the Mail settings in your control panel. We can adjust the "hit" number to be more restrictive or less restrictive. We do not enable the SPAM box feature that automatically prevents the messages from arriving at the end user because this requires someone to maintain the online SPAM mailboxes, forwarding good messages, deleting bad ones. We allow the end user to maintain their own email.

Potential SPAM messages should have the subject line rewritten to include the text "POSSIBLE-SPAM". We recommend that you setup a message rule in your Outlook or Outlook Express program to automatically delete any incoming messages that have "POSSIBLE-SPAM" in the subject. This would probably eliminate most of those messages coming in to your inbox. If there are many messages coming through that are not marked, then the SPAM Assassin program properties needs to be set to be a little more restrictive. If it's marking to many messages that are "good" message then it needs to be less restrictive. Remeber that these settings are done on the server through the online control panel. We maintain this for all of our managed customers. We ask our managed customers to provide us with the appropriate feedback so we can maintain these settings properly.

Also, If you get a regular message from someplace that is getting marked as SPAM, please let us know the originating email address of the message. We can add this address to the "Whitelist" settings of the SPAM Assassin program so that it will not marked messages originating from that sender as SPAM. We can also add problem email senders to a "Blacklist" where any messages coming from a particular email address or domain can be marked as SPAM. This is another setting in the online control panel settings for the SPAM Assassin program.

For information on how to setup a Message Rule in your Email Client Program, ie: Outlook or Outlook Express, please check your system help. Click on your Help menu choice then select Contents, search for Rules and following the instructions. We have also provided some helpful links below. Please read through the following links to learn how to set up a message rule in Outlook Express or Outlook 2003.

For an example on how to create a message rule in Outlook Express:

Microsoft Outlook Express Support page:

For instructions on how to create a message rule in Outlook 2003:

Microsoft Outlook 2003 Support page:



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