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SpamVault allows you to block e-mail from spammers.
SpamVault can block unwanted email, spam, viruses, executable
attachments, duplicate messages, Base64 email, web-bugs and
images. You can save your spam to a repository or simply vaporize
it. You can also log all your email, viewing your log in a
nice easy HTML interface. AceOfSpace.com
will always have the latest, most up to date version of SpamVault
on our servers.
Although SpamVault is very easy to use, it's also very
powerful and if not used properly can delete e-mail
you may have wanted to receive. Please read these
instructions before using SpamVault as we cannot retrieve
Begin by Adding an Entry:
You need to add an entry in the text box
appropriately named, "Add an entry:". An example of an entry
would be a spammer's e-mail address. SpamVault is not case
sensitive, so you can use "ALL CAPS" or "Not All Caps" and
it makes no difference. There are radio buttons called filters
to the right of this box with the letters F,T,H,S & B
next to them. These represent the area of the e-mail that
is used to trigger the blocking of the e-mail. For instance,
the "F" stands for e-mail "From" someone. In the example here,
we want to block any e-mail coming "From" the e-mail address
firstname.lastname@example.org, so we would make sure the radio button next
to the "F" is checked.
The following are the areas of the e-mail that can
F = From (block e-mail 'From' someone
or some network)
T = To (block e-mail
sent 'To' someone at my domain)
H = Header (block e-mail
with special text in the header section of an e-mail)
S = Subject (block e-mail
with this word or phrase in the 'Subject' of the e-mail) B = Body (block e-mail with this word or phrase in
the 'Body' of the e-mail
We thought this would be a good time to warn you. As a beginner,
we recommend that you only use the following characters in
your entries as other characters can cause very predictable
results (all bad). You can use the following characters:
A - Z, a - z, 0 - 9, period (.), dash (-), Underscore (_),
and the At symbol (@).
Here is what your entry should look like:
After entering the information you wish
to block press the "Add Entry" or "Update Entries"
Entries are sorted by the filter names so that all your "From"
entries will be together, etc. Once entered, your entry will
show up on the list and looks as follows:
It is very important that you allow the entire page
to load before pressing the "Add Entry" button at the top
of the page when adding or editing an entry. If you fail to
do this, the entries that have not loaded yet will not be
submitted to the system and therefore will be eliminated.
Editing an Existing Entry:
Once an entry is entered, you can change it
by editing the existing entry. For instance, if you wanted
to test this entry to see if you were still getting e-mail
from this particular address, you might wish temporarally
turn off this filter by unchecking box next to the word Block.
We do recommend that you try to keep the quantities of your
entries as small as possible. However, it's not unusual for
someone to have 100 entries before long. You can edit as many
entries as you wish but be sure to press the 'Update Entries'
button after you're finished editing.
You can show or hide the configuration data of SpamVault
by checking or clearing the box appropriately called "Show
Configuration Data" located below the 'New Entry' section
at the top and then click the Update Entries button.
Sample Configuration Data Section
Let's review the configuration section.
Total Spams Filtered: 33739 This
is the number of spams that have been filtered on your account.
Note that some spams aren't blocked with SpamVault as you'll
see in the Advanced Filtering Tools section below.
Send Spam to Never Never Land! You
can delete your spam (AKA send it to Never Never Land) or
send it to a special repository file by placing a check in
the box labeled, "Or check this box and manage your spam via
webmail". As this file grows it uses disk space, so it is
always a good idea to clear this file regularly by placing
a check in the box next to "Check box to clear the ####
byte repository file and conserve your disk space."
It is also best to avoid saving email to the repository unless
you're testing new filters to make sure you don't accidentally
lose any email. You must press the 'Update Entries' button
for these changes to take place. The most effective way to
view your spam repository is to click on the link that reads
"webmail". See below on your spam email box
which may help you recover any spam that should not have gotten
blocked. If you want to see the raw repository file, you can
click on the link by the same name.
Email Log Info. SpamVault can
keep a log of all the e-mails that have gone through your
account. As the log file grows, it also uses disk
space, so it is always a good idea to 'Clear this file' regularly
or uncheck "Keep an e-mail log" which turns off the logging
feature. You must press the 'Update Entries' button for these
changes to take place. To view the log simply click on the
"e-mail log" link. There is more information on viewing the
log files further down in these instructions.
When logging is on, SpamVault logs all email and is then
able to keep tabs on how many spams it has blocked. This
feature is guaranteed to provide a personal sense of satisfaction.
Note: there is a limit to the size
(set by your host) that SpamVault will be allowed to
use for the repository and log files. If you reach this limit,
the next time you open SpamVault you will see a warning notifying
you of this that directs you to clear your log and repository
files. Until the logs are cleared, SpamVault will then stop
blocking spam and logging.
White List. A White
List is a list of email addresses that you never want blocked.
There may come a time when you're blocking the term, "Click
Here" to avoid spam that want you to click to buy something.
However, you may also subscribe to a mailing list that uses
the same term to get you to see the full text of their newsletter
by clicking on the same term. All you would have to do to
is add their email to your White List to make sure that their
email is never blocked. Turn the White List feature on by
putting a check next to the text that reads, "Check box to
turn on White List". Then click on the words White
List to add entries to your White List in the window that
will pop up.
Advanced Filtering Tools.
Block Base64 Encoded Email: Spammers
use special encoding called Base64 to bypass text based email
filters. Virtually all Base64 encoded email is spam. This
option stops all Base64 email from getting into your email
box. Note: Email attachments such as Word files are encoded
with the email as Base64 but SpamVault will allow these to
pass through. While most do not, some email programs such
as AOL create Base64 emails when you attach files. As a result,
you may want to be careful when using this tool and turn it
off if you have a lot of people sending you attachments.
Break Web-Bugs and Web
Based Images: When a spammer sends HTML based email,
they can include images that are pulled in from the internet
when you open the email. Using special code these images can
alert the spammer that you have opened the email and they
have hit a live target. Unfortunately, these images can also
be legitimate images such as logos in a letter from a business.
SpamVault does NOT block these type of emails. It simply attempts
to break the code referring to the image, leaving everything
else intact. This option also does NOT block images sent as
Prevent Multiple Exact Duplicate
Emails. It's amazing how many times a spammer will
send you emails just to get his point across. Often these
are exact duplicates. For instance, they might try sending
to info@, support@, sales@, and help@ your account in hopes
of hitting a live email box. This kind of trash can be blocked
with this filter. The first one, if not blocked by your regular
entries, will be the only one that you will need to deal with.
Block Executable Attachments: Many
viruses are delivered via executable email attachments. When
checked, SpamVault will block email with executable attachments.
This does not guarantee that you will not catch a virus or
that SpamVault will catch every possible executable attachment.
However, this is just another safeguard in your toolbox to
prevent damage to your computer. This is not a replacement
for virus protection software which we recommend you have
installed on your own computer.
Because different people have the need to block or allow
different types of files, you can use the text boxes to designate
which types of files you wish to block. Enter the file extension.
Separate entries with a pipe symbol.
. Note, do not put a pipe symbol at the beginning or
the end. Just use it to separate the entries. For example:
Types of files that are executable
and known to be able to carry viruses and email worms.
File extensions are in (parens)
Batch file (bat)
HTML Help (CHM)
Control Panel Extension (CPL)
HTML Application (HTA)
Internet Communications Settings
MS Access Applications (MDB)
MS Access DB (MDE)
MS Access Project Extension (ADE)
MS Access Project (ADP)
MS Access Wizard Template (MDZ)
MS Common Console Doc. (MSC)
Registry Entry (REG)
Screen Saver (SCR)
Security Cert. (CRT)
Setup Info (INF)
Shell Scrap Object (SHB|SHS)
DOS Program Info File(PIF)
VB Class Module (BAS)
Visual Test Scrote File (MST)
Explorer Command (SCF)
Windows Installer Package (MSI)
Windows Installs Patch (MSP)
Windows Medial (ASX)
Windows Script Host Settings (WSH)
Windows Help (HTP)
MS Access Add-in (MDA)
Photo CD Image (PCD)
VBScript File (VBS)
Windows Script (WSF)
Script Component (SCT|WSC)
Outlook Express Folder (NCH)
JScript File (JS)
Command Script (CMD)
VBScript Encoded File (VBE)
Window Media Skins (WMS)
MS Outlook Profile Settings (PRF)
Internet Shortcut (URL)
MS V-Foxpro Table (DBX)
JScript Encoded Script (JSE)
Bypass Address. The Bypass
Address is similar to a White List except that it is a special
single address that when people send email to it, it will
not get filtered. You can change this address regularly and
give it out only to people who need it. For instance, you might choose email@example.com
as your Bypass Address that should never get filtered
just in case a prospective customer writes in. You can make
the Bypass Address 'firstname.lastname@example.org' . The Bypass Address
doesn't even have to be a valid email box on your account.
It's just an identifier to SpamVault that you want all email
sent to this address directed to an email box name on your
Width of Text Boxes. Depending
on the screen resolution you use and the length of your entries,
you may wish to change the width of the text boxes used in
the list of blocked entries. Changing this number merely changes
the width of these boxes. You must press the 'Update Entries'
button for these changes to take place.
Spam Email Box
When you installed
SpamVault on your account there was a new email box added
to your account called spam (assuming that there wasn't
one by that name there already). This new box is not
like other email boxes in that you should not use it as an
address for people to send email to. Instead, the special
box enables you to use the webmail on your account to review
and manage the spam that has found its way into your spam
repository. For instance, let's say you notice in the email
log that SpamVault has blocked a piece of email that you wish
to recover. Click on the WebMail link in the line "Or check
this box to save and manage your spam via webmail"
to open your webmail interface. The user name to
type in is "spam." Note: Before you can gain access to this
email box, you must set the password using your Control
Panel - Mail Manager tool.
Viewing the Email Log.
This is actually
a very rewarding experience even if you're not a propeller
head because it will quickly show you the spam that is being
blocked and help you figure out which email filters are
working for you. The SpamVault Log is also helpful in diagnosing why
(heaven forbid) an email you wanted was blocked. Here is a
sample of what the log looks like. All of the entries that
start with "===SpamVault: Part_of_Email contains [spam
trigger text]" tell you that this email was successfully
filtered based on your preferences. The text in [brackets]
tells you the actual word or words that triggered a block
of the email. One item to keep in mind when reviewing your
logs. As soon as SpamVault discovers that the email is spam,
it filters it out, logs it and moves on. Therefore, it may
find that the that some text in the subject triggered the
block when it's clear that the subject line also has elements
in it that are being blocked. However, it will not only the
first item that triggered the block, not all the items.
filters an email it will also log the true designated recipient
of the email. Many spammers send email to one address and
then BCC the email to your address in a little slight
of hand. The true recipient's address isn't shown in the header
of the email. SpamVault will reveal this information in red in
spite of the spammer's efforts to hide it. This will
be very helpful in finding out if there is a pattern of email
boxes that the spammers are trying to send to. You will also
see a little >
next to the "Subject" line in the table below. This is a handy
tool if you should see a subject that you're interested in
and want to view. Clicking on the >
will will take you to webmail where you can log in and view
all the email that SpamVault has captured.
Note that by default,
SpamVault does not show all email that has been received as
the screen shot above shows. If you click on the link at the
stop of the log that reads, "View ALL email in the log", you'll
then be able to see all email -- filtered and non filtered.
The shown that do not have "===SpamVault..." in them were
emails that weren't filtered that have successfully found
their place in an email box on you account.
Hidden Benefit of SpamVault:
Until now, your account used bandwidth twice when you
received spam. Once the e-mail arrives at the server
and again when you retrieve it from the server. SpamVault
completely eliminates the spam at the server level so you
will avoid using the extra bandwidth when you check your e-mail.
The less e-mail traffic there is, the faster your web site
is served up when people visit it.
While there is no
maximum amount of entries that you can put into SpamVault,
the more you enter the more work your server has to perform
while filtering each email. It is recommended that you purge
as many entries as often as possible by either deleting them
or allowing them to remain temporarily see if they
are still required. This makes sure your email is working
as efficiently as possible.
Understanding E-mail Header Information:
Every e-mail sent has a section called the 'header'.
This section includes commonly known data such as who the
e-mail is being sent from and who it is being sent to along
with some other information that will help you manage your
spam. The header is not usually viewable in the default settings
of your e-mail program. You may need to read the documentation
on your e-mail program to find out how to view the header.
An e-mail header can be broken down into
some basic parts. Each part it identified by a title such
as "From:". Rather than getting into too much detail about
all the sections, we'll just focus on the ones SpamVault looks
at to filter out spam. We've highlighted the data that we'll
be focussing on in red.
SAMPLE e-mail HEADER:
Received: from welove.spamnet.com (spammers_isp.com [220.127.116.11])
by youre-mailserver.com (8.10.2/8.10.2) with SMTP id g05HX0N10982
for <email@example.com>; Sat, 5 Jan 2002 12:33:04
Content-Type: text/html; charset=US-ASCII
Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2002 09:33:13 -0800
From: Bob Spammer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
X-Mailer: Version 5.0
Subject: You may have already won $10,000!!!
"To:" Section. Info in this section shows where the e-mail
was delivered to. Often, this is a weak place to put a block
because spammers take advantage of catch-all e-mail boxes.
They send it to Anybody@yourdomain.com and whoever has the
catch-all e-mail box will get it. So you might set up a block
on anything sent to Anybody@yourdomain.com. Tomorrow they'll
and get by the block of "Anybody@yourdomain.com" that you'd
set up. One thing this section is good for is to stop mail
from going to someone who's left the company.
"From:" Section. In short, this is easily forged and can
be changed as easily as the "To:" address. This is userful
to block out those annoying friends who keep sending you chain
letters. Blip, you'll never have to look at those again.
The "Subject:" Section. Now we're
getting some power. Want to stop the e-mails with XXX or SEX
or Work At Home in the subject line? This is the place to
do that. Be careful about blocking short words such as "sex."
What if the subject were, "Life is great in Essex Park"? It
might be better to put a space before and after the entry
so that in doesn't include anything other than the single
The "Header:" Section. Info in
this section is blocked using the H (Head) trigger in SpamVault.
This is one of the most powerful areas for blocking because
you can block an entire network in one fell swoop. (Please
note that "Powerful" does not mean easy. It means, if you
use it incorrectly, you can easily block all of your email.)
There are some services that are friendly
to spammers; they even encourage spamming. They permit or
profit from spamming on their server network. Often, you'll
get many different looking spams from one network and not
realize it, because the return addresses are phony. Before
we decide what to block, remember to block as little as possible
by using a well targeted entry. Casting too wide a net or
making a lot of unnecessary entries just makes the server
work harder for no reason and will block email you will have
wanted to receive. So, looking at the Received: section, here
are some potential candidates for blocking in order
of preference. 1) spamnetwork.com 2) spammers_isp.com (but
be careful, if the guy's on America Online, you've just blocked
everyone on AOL). Also, there are often more than one Received:
entry, use the last one ONLY.
Spammers and Their
have to confess that SpamVault is not the end of all spam,
but it will give you better control over your circumstances.
In our test and experience we've been able to reduce spam
by well over 95%. Still, spammers are always devising tricks
to work around all spam-blocking software and we're constantly
trying to prevent them from doing so. One way they may get
around SpamVault is to trick you into blocking the wrong section
of the e-mail header. Technically speaking, it's easy to fake
almost all but the Header section of an e-mail. And without
a trained eye, it's hard to sort out truth from fiction. You
might block everything coming from one e-mail address and
all they have to do is fake you out by using another e-mail
address. Using this trick it can look like they're sending
from a hotmail.com address today and a different address tomorrow.
Here is where the power of the 'Received' section of the header
comes in and why it's important to review the header of your
e-mail rather than the default to and "From:" sections.
A spammer typically is not be able to
change the information in the 'Received' section of the header.
So, using that as a filter can be the strongest method of
blocking e-mail. Please do not just paste the entire 'Received'
section into SpamVault. You need to review the header for
a specific server name and sometimes an IP number (but these
change regularly so it is not recommended). In the example
above, the network that the spam is coming from is welove.spamnet.com.
We would recommend that you only use the last and second to
the last section of the network name: spamnet.com.
are using HTML-based email more and more lately. Unfortunately
for them, while it's often easy to fake parts of the headers,
when it comes to the body of the email, they almost always
provide some method of contacting them and thus, give you
something to block. It's especially hard to hide the references
to their domains and IP addresses in the links of the source
code. The trick is to view the source code of the email (usually
by right clicking on the email itself) and then search for
the text "<href=...". There is usually more than one of
these. Following this is a reference to the server that the
page links to. Grab just the domain name and block that. SpamVault
will read that in the source code of the email as it passes
through and block those emails in the future.
companies get duped by professional spamming companies into
thinking that there's some money to be made in massive emailings.
Maybe for the spammer there is. The one common theme
in this type of email is that the advertisers links will
probably always change in the body of the email but the "unsubscribe"
link is probably directed right at the spam provider since
they're the ones doing the spamming. When given a choice,
I'd take the unsubscribe link domain name over the one in
the body of the letter.
There are further, more advanced features in SpamVault. These
features are documented in the SpamVault help file accessible
withing the tool.
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