Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Combat spam by highlighting mail from known senders....in Thunderbird

Spammers seem to have been extra-industrious over the past six months. I'm using Thunderbird, whose built-in junk mail filters are catching maybe 70-80% of the spam I'm getting. The problem is that that still leaves me with as much as 30 to 50 spams in a morning's download.

If you use Thunderbird, there's an easy way to highlight the messages that are sent by people who are in your address book. I've posted instructions below. Many other e-mail applications have filters of one kind or another. Here I'm using them to mark matching messages with a color highlight, and taking advantage of the fact that one of the filter options is "in my address book."

Note that the first thing I learned from this was that many of the spam messages are spoofing their sent-from addresses as being MY address. So I had to take my own address out of my address book.

- Create a new filter Tools -> Message Filters
A dialog appears. Click New.

- Name the filter.

- The criteria box has 3 fields.
In the first one, select "From."
In the middle one, select "is in my address book"
In the 3rd one, select the name of your address book. You might have >1 address book.

- At the bottom, in the "Perform these actions" section, select
in the first field, "Tag"
in the second field, choose a tag, such as "Personal"

By default, Personal messages are colored in green. You can change tag color options by selecting

Tools->Options, click the Display button, select the Tags tab

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