FAQ: How to Make a Spam Filter

andreas.com FAQ: Spam Filters

Unwanted junk email (usually called spam) has exploded. It used to be an annoyance, but now it’s 80% or more of my email. A few months ago, Yahoo began selling their 100 million email addresses and spammers have begun to bombard us with junk email. Much of this is really offensive stuff.

If you’re using Microsoft Outlook as your email program, you can stop quite a bit of it by creating email Rules. These Rules will automatically process emails as they arrive. If an email matches a rule, then the email will be automatically deleted. For example, if a spammer sends you an email with “Free teen porn” in the subject line, you create a rule that deletes any email that uses the word “teen porn” in the subject line.

The Rules are flexible. You can create rules that delete emails, copy or move them into folders, automatically reply to them, or send them to other addresses.

Here’s how to create a Rule to delete spam.

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook Express (If you use Outlook Office, or another email program, the steps are similar. Ask your tech support to show you how to do this.)
  2. Select an email that is spam. For example, “Guaranteed Approval! $5,000 Credit Limit.”
  3. Select the menu option Tools | Message Rules | Mail.
  4. In the message box, click New. We will create a new rule.
  5. In the New Mail Rule, under 1. Conditions, click “Where the Subject line contains specific words.”
  6. Under 2. Actions, select “Copy it to the specified folder.”
  7. Under 3. Rule Description, you set the words that will start the rule. Click on “…contains specific words”
  8. This opens a new message box (Type Specific Words.) In the top line, type Guaranteed Approval and then click Add.
  9. Let’s add some more words. Type “teen sex” and click Add.
  10. Type “porn” and click Add. You can write down a list of words from various spam emails and add them to this list.
  11. When you finish, click Okay.
  12. This returns to the Mail Rule box. Under 3. Rule Description, click “specified folder.” This lets you set where the spam shall go. You can either send it directly to the Deleted Items folder or you can create a new folder entitled Spam.
  13. Finally, you can name the rule. For example, call it Spam.
  14. Click OK to save your work and click OK again to exit.

With a bit of work, you can block a great deal of spam. Don’t type the long titles of spam; they often change the words to fool your filter. Add the key words from their titles.

You can also block words within emails. Again, create a rule based on email content, and add a list of words.

A friend’s father was setting up his filter. He added the subject “Hi!” and she said “but what if someone in the family or a friend sends you an email with “Hi!”? He said if someone writes like that, he doesn’t want to read it.