Email Spam Filters

Email Spam Filters

What is a spam filter?

Spam filters are designed to identify incoming dangerous emails from attackers or marketers. Attackers often use emails that claim to offer a beneficial service or protect you from imminent danger, but they are really just clickbait, designed to get you to click on a link that downloads malicious software onto your computer or sends you to a dangerous site.
Spam can also contain relatively harmless content but can clutter up your inbox, consuming valuable space and making it more difficult to identify important, useful emails. Spam filters can detect spam emails.

What is spam protection?

When you get spam, in many cases, your email address was purchased by a person or company as part of a list. It also could have been stolen by a hacker who had gained access to lists of client email addresses. The person sending the spam sends the same email to many people at the same time, knowing that if the email works on only one in many thousand people, the attack or marketing scheme will be successful.

Because an email spam filtering can recognize these kinds of emails, it can be a valuable solution for protecting users from unwanted messages. To enhance the protection, some spam filters use insights gained from machine learning to more accurately target junk mail. Often, an internet service provider (ISP) will use spam detection to reduce the amount of spam delivered to users. Companies can do the same to lessen the burden of spam on their employees. However, spam filtering can also flag legitimate emails from companies users actually want to get messages from. In this case, users often have the option to determine the kinds of emails they want and adjust their settings to allow them to pass through the filter.

What is Spam? What is Spam Email?

Spam refers to any type of unwanted bulk communication. It is sent via email, text messages, social media, or phone calls. It is unclear exactly where the term “spam” came from, but one theory says it is derived from a Monty Python skit where people were told to eat the canned meat Spam, regardless of whether they wanted to or not. Similarly, many inboxes get “force-fed” spam emails on a constant basis.

Spam Filter Work

Spam filters all have the same basic objective: to keep unwanted emails out of users’ inboxes. However, there are several different types of spam filters, and they each use different filtering methods to hone in on spam. Content Filters

Content filters analyze the text inside an email and use that information to decide whether or not to mark it as spam. The content of spam emails is often predictable, particularly because they tend to have the same basic objectives: offer deals, promote explicit material, or otherwise tap into human emotions, feelings, and desires, such as greed or fear.

Content filters may search for words connected to money, such as “discount,” “limited time,” or “offer.” To trigger the filter, there typically would have to be multiple uses of the target word.

Content filters may also examine an email for inappropriate language of a sexual nature that could indicate explicit content. In some campaigns, an attacker may use sexually explicit emails to lure users into opening the email and then clicking on malicious links.

Blacklist Filters

Blacklist email spam filters work by blocking emails from senders that have been put on a list of spammers. Blacklist filters are updated on a regular basis because spammers can change their email addresses relatively easily. If a spammer switches from one email domain to another, the email may still be able to penetrate the filter until it is updated and the sender’s emails once again get labeled as spam.

A company can also use its own blacklist spam filtering to protect its interests. For example, they can use them to target headhunters seeking to attract their employees to other companies. They could also use a blacklist filter to block emails that could waste employees’ time with sales offers and promotions that could distract them from getting their work done.

Header Filters

Header filters examine the header of an email to see if it may be coming from an illegitimate source. This could include Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that spammers tend to use. It may also include information that indicates the email is just one copy of many emails sent at the same time to pre-organized groups of recipients.

Language Filters

Sometimes spammers target people from other countries, and the email is therefore in a different language than that of the recipient. In most cases, a user will only want to receive emails in languages in which they are fluent. However, if a business connection or customer from another country reaches out, there exists the chance that the language filter could categorize that legitimate email as spam, so users may have to be instructed to check their spam folders when expecting these kinds of messages.

Rule-based Filters

You can use a filter to set up specific rules that can be applied to all emails coming into your system. If the email’s content or origin matches one of the rules, it can be automatically sent to a spam folder. For example, you can set the filter to look for specific words or phrases in the body of an email. If these words are present, the message gets sent to the spam folder.

You can also set the filter so it looks for particular words or phrases in the header. This can be useful for emails associated with memberships that, while still useful, result in unwanted messages from time to time. Rule-based spam filtering is also useful for targeting specific senders. You can set them up to look for information in the domain the email is coming from or the name of the person sending it.

Bayesian Filter

A Bayesian filter can learn your preferences by examining the emails that you send to spam. It observes the content of the emails you mark as spam and then sets up rules accordingly. These rules are then applied to future emails trying to get into your inbox. For example, if you constantly mark all emails from a specific sender as spam, a Bayesian filter can recognize this pattern. It will then look for emails from that sender and move them to your spam folder automatically.