Blocking Spam

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Bill P, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. Bill P

    Bill P Guest

    Hi
    How do you block spam where the subject is four random numbers.
    Regards
    Bill
     
    Bill P, Sep 29, 2007
    #1
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  2. Bill P

    Mike Easter Guest

    Bill P wrote:

    > How do you block spam where the subject is four random numbers.


    .... where spam = email spam, not 'usenet' spam.

    You need a spamfilter/tagger which uses multiple strategies, the most
    important of which is blocklists and the secondary importance is regex
    on the header/body. SpamPal is a powerful filter which will work in
    conjunction with your current MUA such as OE.

    SP acts as a proxy between your mailprovider and your MUA/OE and 'combs'
    the headers and body of the mail and subject tags/labels it as spam. OE
    is able to read the subject tag and messagerule sort it into the Junk
    folder. From Junk it can be submitted to a blocklist such as spamcop's
    which provides you with a positive feedback by which your spam
    contributes to a blocklist which you can use -- or you can simply
    periodically massively delete your spam whenever you decide you want to
    visit the Junk folder.

    The purpose of Junk rather than autodeleting is to be able to finetune
    the filter to be sure that absolutely zero goodmail ever gets into Junk,
    at the cost of an occasional spam getting into the Inbox. SP is
    extremely configurable, so you can crank it down as tightly as you
    like -- it is also very flexible in its whitelisting powers, which is
    nice for those whose goodmail is entirely from known senders, in which
    case there should be absolutely zero spam in the Inbox.


    --
    Mike Easter
     
    Mike Easter, Sep 29, 2007
    #2
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  3. Bill P wrote:
    > Hi How do you block spam where the subject is four random numbers.
    > Regards


    Using regex, block anything whre the Subject header contains no
    alphabetical characters. Oh. Your news client can't do that? Get a
    better one.


    --
    Blinky RLU 297263
    Killing all posts from Google Groups
    The Usenet Improvement Project - http://improve-usenet.org
     
    Blinky the Shark, Sep 29, 2007
    #3
  4. Bill P

    Bill P Guest

    "Mike Easter" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Bill P wrote:
    >
    >> How do you block spam where the subject is four random numbers.

    >
    > ... where spam = email spam, not 'usenet' spam.
    >
    > You need a spamfilter/tagger which uses multiple strategies, the most
    > important of which is blocklists and the secondary importance is regex
    > on the header/body. SpamPal is a powerful filter which will work in
    > conjunction with your current MUA such as OE.
    >
    > SP acts as a proxy between your mailprovider and your MUA/OE and 'combs'
    > the headers and body of the mail and subject tags/labels it as spam. OE
    > is able to read the subject tag and messagerule sort it into the Junk
    > folder. From Junk it can be submitted to a blocklist such as spamcop's
    > which provides you with a positive feedback by which your spam
    > contributes to a blocklist which you can use -- or you can simply
    > periodically massively delete your spam whenever you decide you want to
    > visit the Junk folder.
    >
    > The purpose of Junk rather than autodeleting is to be able to finetune
    > the filter to be sure that absolutely zero goodmail ever gets into Junk,
    > at the cost of an occasional spam getting into the Inbox. SP is
    > extremely configurable, so you can crank it down as tightly as you
    > like -- it is also very flexible in its whitelisting powers, which is
    > nice for those whose goodmail is entirely from known senders, in which
    > case there should be absolutely zero spam in the Inbox.
    >
    >
    > --
    > Mike Easter
    >


    Thanks Mike, I'm not sure I understand it all but I'll give it a try.
    Regards
    Bill
     
    Bill P, Sep 30, 2007
    #4
  5. Bill P

    Mike Easter Guest

    Bill P wrote:
    > "Mike Easter"
    >> Bill P wrote:
    >>
    >>> How do you block spam where the subject is four random numbers.


    One point is that you don't 'characterize' a particular spam by just an
    'allusion' to the subject. Any particular spam is a 'conglomeration' of
    all its header elements and its entire body, of which the
    characterization of the subject is but a tiny tiny element of the whole
    item's characteristics.

    >> You need a spamfilter/tagger which uses multiple strategies, the most
    >> important of which is blocklists and the secondary importance is
    >> regex on the header/body. SpamPal is a powerful filter which will
    >> work in conjunction with your current MUA such as OE.


    So, my point about multiple strategies especially IP address is that by
    using a spamfilter tagger which considers the entire spam, not just the
    extremely weak message rules of your OE, you have a much better
    opportunity to properly identity any item, not just a type of subject,
    as spam. OE can only consider a few elements such as subject, body, To
    or From strings - which makes for weak and ineffective rules, along with
    false positives.

    > I'm not sure I understand it all but I'll give it a try.


    I'll show you an example of what I mean with an illustration of a recent
    spam in sightings. I didn't see one with 4 numbers, but this is an
    example of 7 numbers

    Subject: 4949690

    We can't/shouldn't characterize a spam just by its subject. Here's a
    link to the whole spam in GG sightings:

    http://groups.google.com/group/news.admin.net-abuse.sightings/msg/822942093e2c6fab
    or http://snipr.com/1rjzr

    If I consider that spam, my SpamPal filter would have tagged it, not on
    the basis of its subject, but on the basis of the fact that the source
    IP 86.214.210.21 (which rDNS
    ANantes-256-1-143-21.w86-214.abo.wanadoo.fr) is blocklisted in CBL,
    which also makes it blocklisted other places, such as spamhaus XBL &/or
    ZEN.

    So, my main points are:

    - OE is totally inadequate to be a spamfilter by itself
    - when we are considering how to identify spam, we should consider the
    entire spam
    - by using a proxy before OE, we can turn OE into an excellent filter
    by subject labeling


    --
    Mike Easter
     
    Mike Easter, Sep 30, 2007
    #5
  6. Bill P

    VanguardLH Guest

    "Bill P" wrote ...
    > How do you block spam where the subject is four random numbers.



    Define a rule in your unnamed e-mail client to delete mails that have
    no vowels in the Subject.
     
    VanguardLH, Sep 30, 2007
    #6
  7. On Sun, 30 Sep 2007 12:49:18 -0500, "VanguardLH"
    <> wrote:

    >"Bill P" wrote ...
    >> How do you block spam where the subject is four random numbers.

    >
    >
    >Define a rule in your unnamed e-mail client to delete mails that have
    >no vowels in the Subject.


    He doesn't need to name his email client as it is in the message
    headers. He is using the same one as you.

    Steve

    --
    Stephen Wolstenholme Neural Planner Software Ltd

    EasyNN-plus. The easy way to build neural networks.

    http://www.easynn.com
     
    Steve Wolstenholme, Sep 30, 2007
    #7
  8. Bill P

    Mike Easter Guest

    Steve Wolstenholme wrote:
    > "VanguardLH"
    >> "Bill P" wrote ...
    >>> How do you block spam where the subject is four random numbers.


    >> Define a rule in your unnamed e-mail client to delete mails that have
    >> no vowels in the Subject.

    >
    > He doesn't need to name his email client as it is in the message
    > headers. He is using the same one as you.


    - OE can't make such a rule
    - even if it could, it is a bad rule; I might conceivably email a
    goodmail with a number subject
    - bad rule making that has a potential for catching goodmail can cause
    either the loss of goodmail or dumpster diving in the spam to find the
    falsepostive goodmail

    --
    Mike Easter
     
    Mike Easter, Sep 30, 2007
    #8
  9. Bill P

    VanguardLH Guest

    "Steve Wolstenholme" wrote ...
    >
    > "VanguardLH" wrote:
    >
    >>"Bill P" wrote ...
    >>> How do you block spam where the subject is four random numbers.

    >>
    >>Define a rule in your unnamed e-mail client to delete mails that
    >>have
    >>no vowels in the Subject.

    >
    > He doesn't need to name his email client as it is in the message
    > headers. He is using the same one as you.



    The NNTP client used to post to newsgroups need not be the same E-MAIL
    client he wants to eliminate received spam - if it is e-mail he is
    asking about. He might've used OE from where he happened to submit
    his post but that is not the NNTP client at where he wants to eliminat
    spam - if it is spam in newsgroups he is asking about. Guessing what
    a user is using based on headers isn't a guarantee that is the client
    with which they need help. He never mentioned if he wants to
    eliminate spam from e-mail or from newsgroups. Flip a coin. I picked
    spam in e-mail.
     
    VanguardLH, Oct 1, 2007
    #9
  10. Bill P

    VanguardLH Guest

    "Mike Easter" wrote ...
    >
    > "VanguardLH"
    >>
    >> "Bill P" wrote ...
    >>> How do you block spam where the subject is four random numbers.

    >>
    >> Define a rule in your unnamed e-mail client to delete mails that
    >> have
    >> no vowels in the Subject.

    >
    > - OE can't make such a rule


    The OP never specified *what* e-mail client he is using, or if the
    spam is in e-mail or newsgroups.

    > - even if it could, it is a bad rule; I might conceivably email a
    > goodmail with a number subject


    In far over a decade, I have yet to receive any valid and non-spam
    e-mail that only contained numbers in the Subject. Yes, it is
    possible. It is not probable. I also do not receive legitimate and
    non-spam e-mails in Russian, Hebrew, or other languages that can
    composed words that do not use any vowel characters. If anyone sent
    me an e-mail with only numbers in the Subject, and since the Subject
    is the initial preview of an e-mail's contents, and considering that
    spam is prevalent everywhere, then someone sending me a number-only
    Subject should expect that the recipient cannot preview their e-mail
    and might delete it before every reviewing the content of that
    message.

    If a lot of spam also contained "****", "shit", "asshole", or other
    obscenties (or highly colorful expressions) then I would write a rule
    for that. Legit senders shouldn't be sending bme e-mails with foul
    language in the Subject header (and even spammers aren't that stupid).

    If you have legit non-spamming senders sending you e-mail with only
    numbers in the Subject header then that is YOUR experience or history
    of e-mails, not mine and probably not many other users, either.

    > - bad rule making that has a potential for catching goodmail can
    > cause
    > either the loss of goodmail or dumpster diving in the spam to find
    > the
    > falsepostive goodmail


    You can define some "personal" rules that might encompass what lots of
    other users see in the Subject of the spam mails they receive. That
    does NOT preclude you from defining e-mail rules based on YOUR
    personal history of spam mails. To most e-mail users, a Subject
    containing only numbers for characters would fit into the same
    category as other users asking how to tag spam with garbage text in
    the Subject.
     
    VanguardLH, Oct 1, 2007
    #10
  11. Bill P

    VanguardLH Guest

    "Mike Easter" wrote ...
    >
    > "VanguardLH"
    >>
    >> "Bill P" wrote ...
    >>> How do you block spam where the subject is four random numbers.

    >>
    >> Define a rule in your unnamed e-mail client to delete mails that
    >> have
    >> no vowels in the Subject.

    >
    > - OE can't make such a rule


    On this point alone: why can't this rule (looking for the absence of
    vowels) be defined in Outlook Express? See the following rule:

    Apply this rule after the message arrives
    Where the Subject line does not contain 'a' or 'e' or 'i' or 'o' or
    'u'
    (pick a desired action)
    and Stop processing more rules
     
    VanguardLH, Oct 1, 2007
    #11
  12. Bill P

    Mike Easter Guest

    VanguardLH wrote:
    > "Mike Easter" wrote ...
    >> "VanguardLH"


    >>> Define a rule in your unnamed e-mail client to delete mails that
    >>> have no vowels in the Subject.


    >> I might conceivably email a
    >> goodmail with a number subject

    >
    > In far over a decade, I have yet to receive any valid and non-spam
    > e-mail that only contained numbers in the Subject.


    My friends and I correspond with each other about such as airplanes. We
    might start a conversation about a particular airplane related issue
    such as an F-22 or YF-22 or maybe the X-35 or the X-32 or JSF birds and
    the title of an email might be just that. Or maybe the A-380 or 330.

    There's nothing unusual about a subject containing something other than
    'dictionary' words when the correspondents are accustomed to the
    abbreviation terminology.

    > Yes, it is
    > possible. It is not probable.


    Whether it is probable or not in your email doesn't mean that such an
    idea is a sensible rule which can easily accidentally call a goodmail a
    spam. Having such a goodmail mislabeling is very problematic. Rules
    should not be made which can 'conceivably' cause a false positive. The
    problem with making such rules is that when you are 'thinking about it'
    on the 'face of it' (in terms of conceivability) -- you can't imagine
    such a thing until it happens. Creating a rule based on something that
    you can't think about it or imagine it 'properly' until it happens is
    not the best strategy.

    >> - bad rule making that has a potential for catching goodmail can
    >> cause either the loss of goodmail or dumpster diving in the spam to

    find
    >> the falsepostive goodmail

    >
    > You can define some "personal" rules that might encompass what lots of
    > other users see in the Subject of the spam mails they receive. That
    > does NOT preclude you from defining e-mail rules based on YOUR
    > personal history of spam mails. To most e-mail users, a Subject
    > containing only numbers for characters would fit into the same
    > category as other users asking how to tag spam with garbage text in
    > the Subject.


    I disagree. You are trying to expand some limited experience or
    imagination to the general situation. My point is that the original
    premise of the OP was a bad idea. The OP wanted a rule to 'catch' a
    spam with a number in the subject. I argue that creating such a rule to
    catch spam is a bad rule; that other techniques should be used to catch
    exactly the same spam, which other rules are much less likely to be a
    false positive than any rule you could make to catch a subject like
    that.

    --
    Mike Easter
     
    Mike Easter, Oct 1, 2007
    #12
  13. Bill P

    Mike Easter Guest

    VanguardLH wrote:
    > "Mike Easter" wrote ...
    >> "VanguardLH"


    >>> Define a rule in your unnamed e-mail client to delete mails that
    >>> have no vowels in the Subject.

    >>
    >> - OE can't make such a rule

    >
    > On this point alone: why can't this rule (looking for the absence of
    > vowels) be defined in Outlook Express? See the following rule:
    >
    > Apply this rule after the message arrives
    > Where the Subject line does not contain 'a' or 'e' or 'i' or 'o' or
    > 'u' (pick a desired action) and Stop processing more rules


    You might be right or you might not, I haven't tested it. It could
    conceivably work. It would be a very resource intensive bad rule.

    Some crude/primitive databases such as OE which are designed for strings
    have a very hard time working with small strings, like even 3 chars, and
    one character is a very very small string.

    If the client or proxy could work with regular expressions, the idea
    would work much better.

    --
    Mike Easter
     
    Mike Easter, Oct 1, 2007
    #13
  14. Mike Easter wrote:
    > VanguardLH wrote:
    >> "Mike Easter" wrote ...
    >>> "VanguardLH"

    >
    >>>> Define a rule in your unnamed e-mail client to delete mails that
    >>>> have no vowels in the Subject.

    >
    >>> I might conceivably email a
    >>> goodmail with a number subject

    >>
    >> In far over a decade, I have yet to receive any valid and non-spam
    >> e-mail that only contained numbers in the Subject.

    >
    > My friends and I correspond with each other about such as airplanes. We
    > might start a conversation about a particular airplane related issue
    > such as an F-22 or YF-22 or maybe the X-35 or the X-32 or JSF birds and
    > the title of an email might be just that. Or maybe the A-380 or 330.


    So whitelist your friends. You all created this niche; it's not
    mainstream.

    > There's nothing unusual about a subject containing something other than
    > 'dictionary' words when the correspondents are accustomed to the
    > abbreviation terminology.


    There's certainly something unusual about ones that don't contain any
    *letters*, and that's the issue with respect to this filter, not words.


    --
    Blinky RLU 297263
    Killing all posts from Google Groups
    The Usenet Improvement Project - http://improve-usenet.org
     
    Blinky the Shark, Oct 1, 2007
    #14
  15. Bill P

    VanguardLH Guest

    "Rules should not be made which can 'conceivably' cause a false
    positive"

    Yeah, name just one rule that would never conceivably cause a false
    positive.
     
    VanguardLH, Oct 1, 2007
    #15
  16. Bill P

    Mike Easter Guest

    Blinky the Shark wrote:
    > Mike Easter wrote:


    >> My friends and I correspond with each other about such as airplanes.


    > So whitelist your friends. You all created this niche; it's not
    > mainstream.


    You are creating a rocky road with a bad rule. One of the friends who
    likes to talk about airplanes and extra-orbital craft is also prone to
    make exposed CCs to various people who I don't have whitelisted. Then,
    those people are liable to reply to all. Whether I want to delete that
    mail or not should be up to me; it shouldn't be sorted into the spam.
    I don't think you are realizing hoow bad it is to be putting goodmail
    into the Junk folder.

    The basic concept that 'any subject that fits this subject rule is going
    to be spam' is going to be a bad rule, almost always. I would never
    make a rule like that, or a rule saying that any email which contains
    the word 'Viagra' is going to be spam. There are a variety of reasons
    that such a string could occur in a goodmail.

    My current filters are working excellently. I have whitelists. I have
    very tight spamfilters. I get very little spam into my Inbox. When I
    accidentally get a spam into the Inbox, I don't start making up bad
    rules because the spam had numbers in the subject. If I'm going to make
    any 'new' rules for an existing nearly perfect filter which is
    absolutely perfect in terms of not having false positives, it certainly
    isn't going to be a rule which causes goodmail to be tagged as spam. It
    would be better for a spam with a number subject to be in my inbox.

    --
    Mike Easter
     
    Mike Easter, Oct 1, 2007
    #16
  17. Mike Easter wrote:
    > Blinky the Shark wrote:
    >> Mike Easter wrote:

    >
    >>> My friends and I correspond with each other about such as airplanes.

    >
    >> So whitelist your friends. You all created this niche; it's not
    >> mainstream.

    >
    > You are creating a rocky road with a bad rule. One of the friends who
    > likes to talk about airplanes and extra-orbital craft is also prone to
    > make exposed CCs to various people who I don't have whitelisted. Then,
    > those people are liable to reply to all. Whether I want to delete that
    > mail or not should be up to me; it shouldn't be sorted into the spam.


    Right. Use your whitelist wisely and let the no-vowel eater have the
    rest.

    > I don't think you are realizing hoow bad it is to be putting goodmail
    > into the Junk folder.


    Sure I do. I'm very careful with my own filtering.

    > The basic concept that 'any subject that fits this subject rule is going
    > to be spam' is going to be a bad rule, almost always. I would never
    > make a rule like that, or a rule saying that any email which contains
    > the word 'Viagra' is going to be spam. There are a variety of reasons
    > that such a string could occur in a goodmail.


    That's what whitelists are for. If your friends send you mail about
    viagra, and you've whitelisted you friends, you don't have a problem.

    > My current filters are working excellently. I have whitelists. I have


    Then no-vowels eater wouldn't be a problem.

    > very tight spamfilters. I get very little spam into my Inbox. When I
    > accidentally get a spam into the Inbox, I don't start making up bad
    > rules because the spam had numbers in the subject. If I'm going to make


    Neither do I.


    --
    Blinky RLU 297263
    Killing all posts from Google Groups
    The Usenet Improvement Project - http://improve-usenet.org
     
    Blinky the Shark, Oct 1, 2007
    #17
  18. Bill P

    Mike Easter Guest

    VanguardLH wrote:
    > "Rules should not be made which can 'conceivably' cause a false
    > positive"
    >
    > Yeah, name just one rule that would never conceivably cause a false
    > positive.


    Conceivability is relative. You can't conceive of a goodmail with
    numbers in the subject. I can.

    Is that conceivable or not?

    --
    Mike Easter
     
    Mike Easter, Oct 1, 2007
    #18
  19. Bill P

    Mike Easter Guest

    Blinky the Shark wrote:
    > Mike Easter wrote:


    > I'm very careful with my own filtering.


    >> My current filters are working excellently. I have whitelists.


    > Then no-vowels eater wouldn't be a problem.


    Do you have a 'no-vowels in the subject' filter? I'm presuming "No" --
    ergo see below.

    >> When
    >> I accidentally get a spam into the Inbox, I don't start making up bad
    >> rules because the spam had numbers in the subject.


    > Neither do I.


    If you don't have a no-vowels rule, then you must not think it is a good
    rule, in which case I'll presume that we agree on the reciprocal, that
    it is a bad rule, absent any neutral position for the purposes of
    voting.

    This is .au rules^1. Everyone has to vote or be fined :)


    ^1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia " Voting is compulsory for all
    enrolled citizens 18 years and over in each state and territory and at
    the federal level;"


    --
    Mike Easter
     
    Mike Easter, Oct 1, 2007
    #19
  20. Bill P

    VanguardLH Guest

    "Mike Easter" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > VanguardLH wrote:
    >> "Rules should not be made which can 'conceivably' cause a false
    >> positive"
    >>
    >> Yeah, name just one rule that would never conceivably cause a false
    >> positive.

    >
    > Conceivability is relative. You can't conceive of a goodmail with
    > numbers in the subject. I can.
    >
    > Is that conceivable or not?



    And I can conceive that any e-mail that *I* receive that has nothing
    but numbers is always spam (and has been, so far).
     
    VanguardLH, Oct 1, 2007
    #20
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