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aroundtuit's profile

Tutor

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22 Messages

Friday, January 11th, 2019 8:14 PM

Spam filters not applied as email arrives

I've noticed an issue with the spam filters on my email over the last few months.  I view my emails from Outlook 365 on my desktop and from Windows 10 mail on my mobile devices. 

 

On my desktop, Outlook 365 downloads the messages to a local PST file when I check for messages.  Once downloaded, they are always there as I would expect.  Outlook 365 only downloads new messages.  I do have junk email filters set up in Outlook 365 as well, which generally catches them.  This is all as expected.

 

However, on my mobile devices, it appears that some messages I consider spam sit in my inbox for a while and later are correctly identified as spam.  From my mobile device, if I leave them alone, they seem to eventually disappear as they are identified as spam by AT&T/Yahoo email.  It seems like the spam filters only run periodically on what's in my inbox rather than as emails arrive.

 

What's going on here?  All my apps and O/S's (Windows 10)  are up to date and I have not made any changes to my email either on-line or my local apps.

Expert

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15K Messages

5 years ago

Spam is identified (or miss-identified) on new email as it comes in to the POP/IMAP servers, no other time.  Stuff that isn't spam is placed in the POP/IMAP server's INBOX unless the webmail has defined filters of its own to place matching incoming mail into other mailboxes (folders).  This is all mirrored in the webmail. 

 

You are using email client apps; your desktop outlook and those mobile devices (you didn't say how many).  Each of those clients have their own spam filters totally independent of one another.  So there is the possibility that what one class a email as spam may not necessarily be classed as spam by another. 

 

I assume all those clients are set up as IMAP so that what happens on one also happens on another.  It's the servers that keep all these in sync and thus you can use the webmail to see what the IMAP clients see.  With IMAP if you do some operation in one of the clients (delete, filter into some other folder, or class as spam to put in spam folder) there will be a small delay before it appears on the other clients (and the webmail).  It depends on the polling/update rate each client uses to check the servers.

 

If you have any clients that are set up as POP instead of IMAP they only see the server (webmail) INBOX and no others and then only when you ask the POP client to fetch mail from the server.  In POP you also can set the POP client to delete mail from the server or not.  If you do delete then the effect is to move the deleted stuff from the server (and mirrored webmail) INBOX to the trash.   If there are other clients, but they are set up as IMAP they will also see stuff move from the inbox to their trash too (possibly after a slight delay).

 

So with all these clients and the webmail, each with their own spam filters and possibly user defined filters, POP vs. IMAP, in play with the rules I just described, its up to you to understand who is doing what to the servers (as mirrored in the webmail).

Tutor

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22 Messages

5 years ago

Outlook 365 on my desktop uses POP3. That's' the only configuration
available on ATT for Outlook 16 (365). It only accesses my ATT email
account.

Windows Mail runs on my MS Surface and my Lumia Windows phone. They
accesses both my Microsoft Live.com and att.net mail. They're using IMAP,
which is the only configuration available on ATT for the Mail App. Windows
mail app doesn't support POP3 and it doesn't support filters, spam or
otherwise. So it can't be causing the issue.

There is a junk filter on my Microsoft email web interface
(Outlook.live.com), but its only available on the web interface. I do not
have my ATT mail configured there. I do have a couple filters set there,
but that only affects my Microsoft email and none of the affected ones are
there.

Just this morning, I logged into the Web interface for my ATT.net email.
There were several emails in my inbox that I could see right away were spam.
For instance, titled "Max Loan 365, ""CHW Home Warranty" and "AIG Direct
Insurance." Then maybe an hour or two later, they were in the spam folder.


Tutor

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22 Messages

5 years ago

I've noticed that most of the spam that is now missed, although it looks to be the same as what was caught in the past, has switched to using the new TLD (Top Level Domain) of ".gdn".  I don't see and .gdn  address being blocked other than ones I've specifically added.

 

Are the existing server filters looking for specific domains?  Is there a way on the server side to be sure the filters are considering .gdn?  If I could find a way, I'd just block that whole TLD.  Everything from it has been spam.

 

Still unresolved!!

Expert

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15K Messages

5 years ago

In the webmail you can block an entire domain by just specifying doman.tld as a blocked address settings.  If spam is coming from there IMO it's probably a waste of time though to block that way unless it's a really stupid spammer and always uses the same domain.tld.  Most just vary the domain name in one way or another .  And although you can't do it with yahoo blocked addresses, even if your could check just the .tld, the spammers generally vary that too plus that would be overkill by blocking some legit email that might come from that .tld.  The problem here is yahoo webmail has no way to pattern match via regular expressions or globbing so it's seriously limited for blocking spam.

 

By the way if those email clients you are full featured clients, i.e., capable of supporting both POP and IMAP, then I do not agree with any of your statements about which protocol (POP or IMAP) you can use with those clients for att/yahoo.  The yahoo servers support both POP and IMAP access.

Tutor

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22 Messages

5 years ago

I was not suggesting that it was a particular domain.tld.  In fact, there are many and changing as you suggest.  But everything from the TLD ".gdn" is spam.  I have set a filter for anything from an address ending in .gdn.  The filter moves it to sub folder of spam so that I can verify it the filter is working.

 

As far as IMAP and POP, Outlook 365 (standalone, not an Exchange client) is set up as POP and Windows 10 Mobile Mail app is set up as IMAP.  The only instructions I can find from ATT are to set them up that way.  If there are other instructions available, please provide them.

Tutor

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22 Messages

5 years ago

BTW, I just checked.  The filter is working.  Three emails were caught this afternoon.  They have not shown up in either Outlook 365 not Windows 10 Mail app.  

Expert

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15K Messages

5 years ago

I have set a filter for anything from an address ending in .gdn.  The filter moves it to sub folder of spam so that I can verify it the filter is working.

The only pattern I can think of that might work is ends with .tld (not sure that option was there in the old webmail).  As I said I do not recommend blocking tld's but it's your email so it's your choice.  And anyway, it will become useless as soon as they change the .tld.  Theoretically there's over 1500 gTLDs although in reality, depending on the domain services the spammers use, it's much much less but still quite a few.

 

The only instructions I can find from ATT are to set them up that way.  If there are other instructions available, please provide them.

I've used POP for years and so have may others across all the popular email clients.  Here are the POP/IMAP/SMTP server settings for using att email accounts.  That should be all you need.  You should bre able to figure out other options in your client.

 

Note, for email clients I always recommend you use a secure mail key in place of the account password.  Read this (which includes a link to how to create a secure mail key).

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