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Computers

Dealing with blank spam

When Apple updated Mail with a built-in junk management system, it was touted as being one of the best around because of its capability to learn and adapt to different types of spam. The built-in junk mail filter for Apple's Mail client is a fairly robust

When Apple updated Mail with a built-in junk management system, it was touted as being one of the best around because of its capability to learn and adapt to different types of spam. The built-in junk mail filter for Apple's Mail client is a fairly robust system that can be tailored to get the majority of junk mail; however, it has its limitations. A recent one that has affected a few users is spam with no apparent content to the message.

Howard Bazee writes:
"Lately I've been getting messages in Mail that are completely blank. Just checking - my current examples are all on my .mac account. No from, no Subject, no message (visible). How do I trace this down or at least teach Mail to treat it as Spam?"

Spam messages containing no information in the message body or headers can leave people wondering how to filter them since there is seemingly nothing to filter, and will also bypass Apple's built-in junk filter. In reality, blank messages do have raw content, but this can be scrambled or so cryptic that trying to set up spam rules based on this content can lead to problems with nonspam mail, or just not work at all.

This situation makes specifying a filter for the junk seem rather difficult, and while some third-party spam solutions might be able to target blank e-mails, there are some ways to set up rules that target the "To" and "From" fields that will help manage these emails.

Solution:

1. Set up a filter for empty "From" and "To" fields.

This suggestion takes advantage of there not being any "@" symbol in the "From" or "To" fields in these spam messages, which will definitely be there for legitimate emails. Go to Mail's preferences and create a new rule in the "Rules" section. Name it something creative, like "new rule", and set it for the following criteria.

From --> Does not contain --> "@"
To --> Does not contain --> "@"

Either of these can be used independently, but both will also work. Proceed carefully if you try to use the "CC" field, since that will affect desired messages if you use the "any" option for condition inclusion. Set the action to move the message to "Junk" or delete it, and then save the rule.

Resources
  • Howard Bazee
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