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How do spam filters work?

Home Forums Personal Security How do spam filters work?

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  joe_r82 7 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #1277 Reply

    Jack Charlie

    Okay.  I know I’m not the only one out there who has email accounts out the wazoo.  I mean, I have one email account that I’ve had since the Internet opened, you know what I mean?  Then, over time, I’ve opened probably about 50 email accounts total.  I only actively use about 10 to 15 of them now for various things.  It might sound like a lot, but I know I’m not the only one, so don’t turn your nose up at me.

    Anyway, I thought of something today.  I’ve been noticing that some of my email accounts are like 10 times better at blocking spam than other accounts, and I’m wondering why this is.  I mean, I want all of my accounts to block spam this well.  I spend a long time deleting emails in several accounts I really like to use, and in other accounts, I barely spend a minute or two.  What gives?

  • #1278 Reply


    It could be that each of your different mail servers uses a different type of spam filter.  It'd be helpful if you found out what spam filter the service that you like is using and then inquire with your other email service providers how you can get those filters set up for your account.  Sometimes it's just as simple as going into your options and selecting the type of filter you want applied to all of your incoming mail. 

    There are 4 basic filters, one of which nobody ever really uses.

    You will find that most email service providers will use a language filter.  It's a given that most email that is not written in your native language is going to be spam and that spammers come from all over the globe.

    Header spam filters are quite simple.  They search the content of the email header for cheesy buzzwords like: "sale, get cash, you won," etc.  It will block these messages as spam.  Header filters are usually used along with other filters.

    Content filters are just like header filters, but content filters are more complex.  Basically, they will look at the text of the email for words like "super-duper salez," or "you've got a payday loan for $10,000," and block them.  Content filter programming recognizes a plethora of spam phrases, though they can sometimes cause some normal mail to be redirected to the spam folder, so that is why  you need to check it regularly. This happens all the time.

    User spam filters are the last type of spam filter; however, most people don't use these.  I mean some people will manage a blocked and safe list to some degree, but nobody is going to set up more than a few rules to tell the email service provider what's spam and what isn't.  Although I could see using something like this to block all emails that contain the word Nigeria.  Hmm.

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