Every morning when
I get to the office, my in-box is full of pitches from antispam vendors hawking their "unique" solutions. Almost all of these products fall short, and spam remains a huge problem. According to MessageLabs, a U.K.-based security company, e-mail traffic on a given day contains more spam than computer viruses.
To help fight this scourge, the big security software companies Symantec and McAfee have recently released their latest spam solutions. Only one of them has emerged as our new Editors' Choice.
So long, Deersoft SpamAssassin
The ideal desktop antispam app, in my mind, would work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep my in-box clear of junk messages. It would fully integrate with my e-mail client, whether I use Outlook, Eudora, or a Web-based account such as Yahoo Mail. And it would allow me to easily delete the occasional spam that makes it into my in-box as well as retrieve legitimate messages that have been mistakenly identified as spam.
The ideal desktop antispam app, in my mind, would work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep my in-box clear of junk messages.
There was once was a product on the market, Deersoft SpamAssassin, that did all these things and thus received our Editors' Choice award for best antispam app. But SpamAssassin went away when McAfee purchased Deersoft in January 2003. Before acquiring Deersoft, McAfee bought another antispam app, SpamKiller, from a company called Novasoft.
Given that McAfee had acquired two leading spam solutions, you'd think it would have the clear advantage over Symantec and its latest Norton product, AntiSpam 2004
Turns out, you'd be wrong.
For some reason, McAfee decided to scrap the best of SpamAssassin and keep the most annoying parts of SpamKiller. For instance, SpamAssassin featured full integration with Outlook and provided one-stop spam removal. SpamKiller 5.0
, on the other hand, provides only a toolbar within Outlook and requires a separate app to block new spam or to reclassify mislabeled spam. Now that's what I call clunky.
So what do I think of Norton AntiSpam? Well, suffice it to say it's our new antispam champ.
Why? For starters, AntiSpam 2004 integrates as a toolbar within Outlook, Eudora, and most Web-based mail clients. Got some spam? A nifty one-click operation moves it to a spam folder for deletion. Find something that's marked as spam but isn't? Click the message, and it goes back to your in-box. Best of all, Norton AntiSpam removed 95 percent of all spam in our tests, a slightly better score than SpamKiller, which removed 90 percent.
Out of nowhere
Don't feel bad if you didn't notice last year's version of Norton AntiSpam. It was buried within the bloated Norton Internet Security 2003
suite. The latest version, however, is available as a standalone app, costing about $40.
Norton AntiSpam may not have all the pretty pie charts that SpamKiller does, but it performs the most important task.
SpamKiller 5.0 isn't all bad. It offers neat statistics about the amount of spam it has stopped and into which categories these messages fall. But at the end of the day, I don't really care that, of the spam I received, 42 percent was leisure-oriented and 30 percent financial. Norton AntiSpam may not have all the pretty pie charts that SpamKiller does, but it performs the most important task well: keeping junk messages out of my in-box (the way Deersoft SpamAssassin once did).
In closing, I have a note for Deersoft SpamAssassin fans: If you're adept at PERL programming, you can compile your own Windows, Linux, or Unix version from the open-source code available at SpamAssassin.org
For the rest of us, I recommend Norton's AntiSpam 2004.
What's your favorite antispam app? How do you deal with spam? Tell me about it--TalkBack to me!