Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
In our opinion, the antispam app Qurb 3.0 (pronounced "curb") easily bests Norton AntiSpam 2005 and McAfee SpamKiller 6.0 and provides serious competition for our current favorite, MailFrontier Desktop. Qurb exceeds MailFrontier in spam-fighting effectiveness, blocking nearly all the junk inside Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express. It also offers a better interface for reviewing blocked mail, unique tools for fighting phishing scams, and a great Outlook e-mail search tool. But Qurb also trapped more legitimate e-mail than MailFrontier and required more care and feeding. That said, Qurb is a very close second to MailFrontier, and is also recommended.
We found Qurb's setup both quick and easy. Qurb installs a toolbar inside Outlook and Outlook Express and scans your e-mail as it downloads. E-mail from anyone not on your Outlook contact list or approved list gets shunted to a quarantine folder for you to review or delete. Qurb also allows you to issue a challenge e-mail to new senders, who must respond before their e-mail is delivered to you. As with MailFrontier, the challenge feature is set to be off by default. And like MailFrontier, Qurb will block e-mail created using foreign-language character sets.
Whenever you inspect the contents of the Qurb quarantine folder within Outlook, the app opens a pop-up window that displays the folder's contents with tools to redirect legit mail blocked by mistake. Passing your mouse over any entry allows you to read the first few lines of each message, helping you to separate the spam from legitimate e-mail without having to open it. Like MailFronter, Qurb automatically moves the not-spam-designated messages to your Inbox and adds those addresses to your approved list so that they won't get blocked again.
Unlike MailFrontier, Qurb offers a potential solution for e-mail spoofing. Its unique Domain Verification tool checks whether the originating IP address matches the e-mail address in the From field, so you can be confident that e-mail came from, say, eBay and not some phisher in Belarus trying to steal your credit card number. However, only a handful of companies currently publish their IP addresses, so the feature will be inactive much of the time. Perhaps as more companies comply, this tool might become an effective weapon against phishing attacks.
Qurb also includes a lightning-fast search tool for Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express that runs rings around Microsoft's own pitiful search features. The tool rummages through all your messages, contacts, appointments, and notes. It won't decrease the spam you get, but it will save you time finding old messages.
Warning: At first, Qurb trapped nearly 100 percent of the junk e-mail in our test account--and a large number of legit messages. Over time, as we culled through the quarantine folder and added names to our approved senders list, however, the false positives dwindled to almost nothing. Your experience will vary, of course.
Another drawback: Qurb offers fewer configuration options than MailFrontier. For example, Qurb won't block adult-content spam and allow just casino Web site spam. With Qurb, it's block all or nothing.
Support for Qurb is limited to online FAQs, user forums, and a Web-based e-mail form. We submitted a question and received a helpful response in about seven hours, better than most software companies these days. MailFrontier offers telephone support only for its business customers.