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Software Review: Spamihilator
I recently discovered a great email filtering program for Windows that works so well that I wanted to tell you about it. It is called Spamihilator, and is compatible with most email client programs. This includes the most common ones such as Microsoft Outlook, Eudora, Mozilla, Netscape, Opera, Pegasus Mail, IncrediMail, Phoenix Mail, and so on. In fact, Spamihilator is compatible with all email clients that use POP3. As almost all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) currently provide a POP server, there's an excellent chance that Spamihilator will be suitable for you. Perhaps the best news is that Spamihilator is FREE! In fact, it is freeware, which means it is not only free for you to use (indefinitely!), but you are also free to distribute it to your friends.
How It Works
Normally, when you retrieve emails, your email client opens a connection across the internet to the POP mail server of your ISP. It asks the server if there are any emails waiting to be collected and if there are, it downloads them. Once you have installed Spamihilator, the email client no longer communicates directly with the mail server. It communicates instead with Spamihilator, which runs permanently (with a very small memory footprint) as a local server on your PC. Spamihilator then contacts the mail server and retrieves the pending emails.
Whenever Spamihilator communicates with the mail server, a status window (optionally) pops up to inform you of progress. As Spamihilator sits directly between the email client and the server, it has the ability to inspect the emails and filter out any that are identified as spam (or potential viruses) even before they get as far as your inbox.
Spamihilator uses a number of filters to identify and weed out the spam. Like many email clients, it employs a word list filter. However, unlike most email clients, it also includes a Bayesian filter that actually learns to identify what you consider to be spam. Of course, you have to train it for a few days by telling it which of those emails you have received are spam and which are not. As you train it, its ability to correctly identify spam quickly improves. The author claims that after a few days of training the recognition rate will be at least 98%. All emails that are identified as spam are held in Spamihilator's own recycle bin. If it has wrongly identified an email as spam, you can simply mark it as a genuine email and the next time that you retrieve email it will appear in your Inbox. The program also remembers the emails that it has recently delivered to your inbox. If it has delivered an email that it should have identified as spam you can still mark it as such and tell the Bayesian filter to adjust its parameters accordingly.
As you would expect, the program maintains a list of blocked senders, whose emails will never reach your inbox, and a list of friends, whose emails are guaranteed to be delivered. In addition there are other filters that you can download as plugins to enhance the initial filtering behaviour. For example, there is an "alphabet soup" filter, which filters out emails that contain sequences of meaningless characters. (The inclusion of such sequences is a trick employed by spammers in an attempt to thwart techniques such as Bayesian filtering.)
Before the end of the article, I should mention that the installation procedure is really easy. Most of the time, Spamihilator is able to pick up the mail configuration settings from your email client, so it's much less fiddly than you might expect.
I think Spamihilator is a very impressive little program. The fact that it is free makes it a real gem.
You can find out more information and download it from www.spamihilator.com