Spam Filtering with Netscape Communicator

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					University Technology Services




        Spam Filtering with Netscape
        Communicator

        Tutorial

        Netscape's Communicator browser includes Messenger
        or Messenger Mailbox as an e-mail client. Both of these
        allow you to do mail filtering. This tutorial will show you
        how to set up and manage these filters.

        Setting up a Filter

        Netscape Messenger has a very nice and intuitive
        interface for designing filters. Basically, you have to tell the filter what to do in the
        following format:

                 "If the (selected field) of the message (specified condition), (specified text string),
                 then (specified action)."

        You input your filtering commands in the parenthesis fields. In the section below, you will
        tell the filter where to look, what to look for, and what to do should it find something that
        matches your commands:

                 1. The first thing to do is open up Communicator, click on the Communicator
                 menu selection and then click on Messenger:




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                 2. Once in Messenger, select Edit from the menu bar; then, select Message
                 Filters from the list:




                 3. You can manage your Message Filters from the Message Filters window:




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                 Since there are no filters set up as yet, the first thing that you should do here is
                 click on New. The Filter Rules window will pop up:




                 4. Let's make this a spam filter. Type Spam into the Filter name field. The next
                 thing that we need to do is define a “condition” for the filter. A “condition” consists
                 of two things: a specified field to check in all messages, and a text string that
                 defines what the filter is to look for in that field. Since we want to catch some
                 spam with this filter, the best thing to do here is to think of something that is
                 common to a lot of your spam and then base the conditions for this filter around
                 that.

                 Since most of us who get spam a lot may tend to get quite a bit of it from those
                 lovely folks at “CyberPromotions,” let‟s set this filter up to catch spam from one of
                 their more ubiquitous domains, savetrees.com.

                 5. The next thing we have to do is to define which field the filter should check in
                 incoming messages. Since we want to catch and filter out a particular sending
                 domain, we should probably choose sender as the field to search. Here is a list of
                 all of the possible options:




                 They are all pretty self-explanatory. Whichever one you select will then be the
                 part of all incoming messages that the filter will look in. The next step is to tell the
                 filter how and what to look for in the field we just selected.




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                 6. There are a number of actions that the filter can perform during its search:




                 contains: the specified text string must appear somewhere in the selected field
                 for the filter to activate.

                 doesn't contain: the specified text string must NOT appear in the selected field
                 for the filter to activate.

                 is: the specified text string must be the ONLY thing to appear in the selected
                 field. For example, if "savetrees.com" is the text string, and the Sender field
                 contains spammer@savetrees.com, then a filter with this option set would NOT
                 filter this message.

                 isn't: the opposite of the above condition. If the selected field contains anything
                 but the selected text string, it will be filtered.

                 begins with: the selected text string must be the first thing to appear in the
                 specified field.

                 ends with: the selected text string must be the last thing to appear in the
                 specified field.

                 Since we want to look for something in particular that will likely be imbedded
                 within other things in the field, we should choose CONTAINS as the specified
                 condition. This way, if "savetrees.com" appears anywhere in the sender field,
                 regardless of what else may appear in there, the filter will activate.

                 7. Okay, now we need to specify a text string that will be the search condition for
                 the filter. This will be, of course, savetrees.com. Enter that in the window
                 immediately to the right of the CONTAINS window.

                 8. We've now told the filter everything it needs to know as far as where to look,
                 how to look, and what to look for. So, now we need to tell it what to do if it finds a
                 match. There are a number of actions that you can have Messenger do to any
                 message that a filter catches. Let's go over what those options are:




                  the screen shot above needs top be redone



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                 Move to folder: this option will make the filter move any messages that it
                 matches to your criteria, into the folder that you specify.

                 Change priority: this option will change the stamp of the priority on the filtered
                 messages. For example, if an important message from your boss comes in with
                 no priority, and you have a filter set up to filter messages from your boss'
                 address, you can use this option to have those messages stamped with a high
                 priority label in your Inbox so that they will catch your attention.

                 Delete: this option will simply delete any messages that this filter catches.
                 NOTE: This action is final; the deleted mail will not be retrievable.

                 Mark Read: this one will mark any filtered messages as already read.

                 there needs to be another screen shot here showing the “move to folder”

                 chosen as the Trash (trash can)




                 In the case of the first two options, a window will appear immediately to the right
                 of the action window (in the picture above, the window with the trash can[??? not
                 sure that I see this !!] in it is the one that we are referring to that you will have to
                 specify something further in. In the case of “Move to folder,” you will get a
                 window and a pulldown that will let you choose which folder the filtered
                 messages are to be transferred to. In the case of the “Change priority,” the
                 window will allow you to choose which priority label to change the message to.

                 Since this filter deals with spam, you will probably want the filter to either delete
                 the message right away or transfer it to the trash folder. The only reason that you
                 may want to have the mail transferred to trash first is in case you wish to review it
                 to make sure that no legitimate mail was erroneously caught by the filter.
                 However, this particular filter that we are setting up is rather specific, and no one
                 gets legitimate mail from savetrees.com, so we think that it is safe to just set this
                 action to “delete.“

                 If you set up some more generic filters (say, one that just searches the body of
                 the message for a spammish phrase like "make more money"), you may want to
                 have that filter transfer to the trash folder (or some other “suspicious mail” folder)
                 instead of deleting it. Then, you can check over suspect messages before you
                 delete them manually.

                 Our spam filter is pretty much done at this point. Should you eventually set up a
                 large number of filters, you may want to type a description in the window
                 provided so you can keep track of which filters do what. The last option that you
                 can select is whether this particular filter is to be „on‟ or „off‟ as set by the little
                 check boxes at the bottom of the window. So, click the „On‟ checkbox and click
                 OK at the bottom of the window.

                 Now, let's go back to the main filter window for a little lesson in how to manage
                 your filters as a group:




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                 Say, after using the spam filter for a while and deciding that you like what it does,
                 that you decide to make filters to catch mail from your boss and your wife. You
                 now have three filters and will want to maybe tweak how they work in relation to
                 each other. So, here are your options as far as managing them:

                One thing to consider is the order in which the filters are applied. You want to
                 have your most important filters set to act first and the least important set last.
                 For example, you would want a filter set to catch mail from your boss near the
                 top of the chain and spam filters at the bottom. Why? Well, this way the important
                 filters get first crack at the incoming mail, and you therefore have better odds of
                 the right filter catching the right messages. You wouldn't want a spam filter to
                 match one of your boss' messages and delete it. So, keep the spam filters at the
                 end of the list. In the above example, the spam filter is set first. To move it down
                 the list, you would simply click on the down arrow to the right and click it twice
                 until the spam filter was listed last.

                The next thing to worry about is what those little check marks mean. Basically, a
                 check mark denotes a filter that is turned „on‟, and a little gray circle means that
                 the filter is turned „off‟ and will not be applied to any incoming mail until it is
                 turned „on‟.
                The last option to check here is the “Log Filter Use” box. If you check this, you
                 will be able to check all logs of all actions that the filters took during the last mail
                 download to your mail account. This is useful if you wish to see, at a glance, if
                 the filters are working properly.




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