Email, arguably one of the greatest inventions of all time. No longer do we have to wait for the postman to deliver (or not as the case may be) communications from loved ones or work colleagues. Instead one can set up an email address free of charge with one of several providers, and within minutes be communicating with people on the other side of the planet free of charge.
You may be online in less than 10 minutes, however within 15 minutes of setting up your account you will be receiving your first spam email messages, and within a few weeks you will be receiving more spam email, and even some email from its cousin, ham email than genuine messages.
Before we delve a little deeper, for those unsure of the terminology we shall quickly define them now.
Spam messages are those which you receive out of the blue, offering to sell you anything from a piece of the moon to a piece of cheese. They often come from email addresses that don’t exist, and instead have been ‘spoofed’ by the spammer. The main reason why spam is sent out is because its cost free, marketing software can allow a computer to send upwards of 10,000 emails an hour, and all you need is one unsuspecting person to either enter their credit card information on a banking site that isn’t theirs, or purchase a acre of the moon which can’t be visited, for them to turn a profit.
Ham on the other hand, as the name would suggest is a cross between genuine messages and spam. Marketing emails from companies that you have purchased items from, notification emails from social networking sites and alike; these have a genuine purpose, and you may have authorised these services to send you emails, however deleting them or unsubscribing from them all can be a chore.
So what is the solution?
Up until a few days ago, I was under the impression that there was only one, client side software. For those who don’t want to use a third party email provider such as Google or Hotmail to filter their spam, a piece of software could be installed that would monitor the email coming in and then determine whether or not it would be spam based on certain algorithms. If it was spam it would put it in a folder that you could just ignore. The solution I had chosen was SpamSieve, and for the best part it worked very well. There was however one small caveat, in order for the spam filtering to be effective, at least one of my computers had to be on in order to filter out the spam before being retrieved by my iOS devices.
In the early days this wasn’t too bad, as I only received a few spam messages a day, however over the past few month I have been receiving between 10 and 20 spam messages an hour!
SpamSieve, as well as other client side spam filters work on the process of ‘blacklisting’, whereby the filter says everything is good unless you tell it that its bad. The filter then attempts to work out what is good by looking at your address book, and key words associated with spam contained within the body and subject of the message.
This is all very well and good, however spammers are getting more sophisticated, either tricking the filter to allow the message through as good, or confusing it to such an extent that it requires your intervention. Over time this has become more of a hassle.
Not surprisingly ‘whitelisting’ is the opposite of ‘blacklisting’, which everything is suspected to be spam until you tell it otherwise. This is the process which Spam Arrest uses, what more its server side, meaning that its spam filtering is applied to all devices that access your email whether or not they have client side spam filtering on.
Spam Arrest is a subscription based service, with price plans ranging from $5.95 (£3.75) per month, to $89.95 (£56.66) per 24 months thereby receiving a 47% discount. Rather than try and explain how it works, here is a video which I think explains it quite well:
So, Spam Arrest puts itself between your email and your clients. You can export your address book to Spam Arrest so that addresses that you have already used are ‘whitelisted’, it auto ‘whitelists’ email addresses you send message to so that they can reply without having to go through the verification process. Those who email you and are not ‘whitelisted, get an email asking them to fill in a CAPTCHA, a process that only has to be done once. You can of course check online mails which are ‘in holding’ to authorise them manually; something you may need to do for a few days whilst you ‘whitelist’ email addresses from shopping sites etc etc.
Due to the fact that the majority of spam is sent from email addresses that are neither monitored or even exist, the spammers won’t fill in the CAPTCHA; and if by some very small chance they did, it would only allow one email through from that address, allowing you to ‘blacklist’ it manually.
Ive been using Spam Arrest for just under 48 hours now, and even though there is a free 30 day trial, the very fact that I have had NO spam delivered over this period, a stark contrast from my hundreds each day has made me bite the bullet and purchase a two year subscription.
Its worth noting that for the cost of your subscription you can protect up to five mailboxes, with additional mailbox protection available to be added to your account for a one off payment
All in all I am very very impressed with Spam Arrest, its the solution that I have been looking for, knowing that I am not being hit with spam each time I open my inbox has given me a underlying sense of satisfaction knowing that spammers are not getting any screen time on my devices any more.
If you are interested in Spam Arrest, I would be most grateful if you could click on the ‘Spam Arrest‘ text contained within this review, as this will use my affiliate link, for which I will get a small cutback on any service you purchase. NB, this review has not been commissioned by Spam Arrest and I have received no payment or discount for writing about their service. I merely think its a great solution to spam email which I wish to share with you.