Stopping the Spread of Spam to My PC

Recent surveys indicate somewhere between 60 and 85 percent of all email is spam. It amazes most observers when they learn that I receive approximately 400 to 500 such messages most days. As I mentioned in this column a few months ago, SpamSieve (found at handles my spam problem with ease and does an admirable job of keeping the inbox clean on my Mac Powerbook. Around the office, however, it’s a different matter. Half of my coworkers work on the Windows platform, barraged by countless spam messages each day. This led me to search for the perfect (well, almost perfect) spam filter for Windows users.

There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of spam blockers available to PC users. Few, if any, work as well as Symantec’s Norton AntiSpam 2004. I installed Norton AntiSpam on a PC running Windows XP Home. During installation, the user’s address book is scanned and all messages from these addresses are flagged as “allowed.” It was a simple installation and the utility went to work immediately. Norton AntiSpam assigns incoming messages to one of two classes, "blocked” and “allowed.” In my initial test, more than 100 messages were received. Seven were assigned to the “allowed” category, while the remainder were sent to the “blocked” area. Upon further inspection, I found that six of the seven allowed messages were from valid sources. One spam message got through. Upon checking the blocked folder, I found no legitimate messages.

A nice feature of AntiSpam is the ability to train the application to learn which messages are good and which are spam. With one click, the application learns that a message is in the wrong category and remembers this address in the future. Norton AntiSpam works with Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Eudora. Available by download ($40/US, $53/CAN, $59/AUS) at A free demo is available on the website. Norton AntiSpam can be found at many computer and office supply stores. The price drops considerably for owners of other Norton applications.
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