Web & communication software

.Mac and the hijacked email address

A reader who knows a reader passed along this concern about .Mac mail. Our proxy reader writes:

I have had (and enjoyed) my .Mac account since the service was introduced but I have had a problem for the past month or so. Someone is sending spam to Russia and through Europe using my email address as the “Sent From” address. My Inbox is constantly receiving “Undeliverable Mail” or “Postmaster Daemon” or “Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender”… as a bounce back. How does Steve Jobs prevent this from happening to him and what can I do without changing my account name?

I’m physically able and mentally willing to crush these hijacking cyber terrorists with my bare hands.

I greatly admire the final sentiment. These people are dirtbags and a stern crushing would do them good.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that they’re equal-opportunity dirtbags. It’s not personal. Nearly all of us have had our email addresses spoofed by spammers at one time or another. It’s a regrettable downside of this Internet age in which we live. So, turn your mind from revenge for the moment and concentrate instead on protection and filtering.

.Mac now offers junk mail filtering for webmail. To switch it on, log on to .Mac, click the Mail link, and click the Preferences link in the resulting .Mac Mail page. In the General tab enable the Enable Junk Mail Filtering option as well as the Automatically Move Messages Marked as Junk to the Junk Folder option. If you’re using Apple’s Mail to retrieve your .Mac mail, Apple suggests you do this so your Junk folders in .Mac webmail and in the Mail application correspond:

1. Open Mail 2. Choose Preferences from the Mail menu. 3. Click Junk Mail. 4. Make sure “Enable junk mail filtering” is selected (“checked”). 5. Click Accounts. 6. Select your .Mac account. 7. Click the Mailbox Behaviors tab. 8. Make sure “Store junk messages on the server” is enabled. 9. Enter these same settings on other Macs you use to access your .Mac email via Mac OS X Mail.

If you access your mail via the .Mac website, this may help divert these bounces to the Junk folder.

Any ISP worth its salt should prevent such messages from being bounced to you. Unless you’re living in the Stone Age you’re aware of spammer spoofing and I’m slightly shocked that there are still Internet Service Providers out there that haven’t done something to filter this junk on their end rather than making it your problem.

But, it’s an imperfect world, and because it is I’d suggest creating a rule or two in whatever email client you use that diverts these bounces to a junk folder you create. For example, you could create a rule that goes something like this:

If Subject Contains Undeliverable Mail

Then Move Message to Junk

Essentially, you’re looking for something uniquely identifiable about these messages that will allow the program to divert them to the area of your email client that serves as its seventh circle of hell. You’ll want to peruse this folder from time to time in case you’ve received a legitimate bounce.

Better yet, use a third-party spam filter to weed out this crud. I’ve tested nearly all of them and I’ve found Michael Tsai’s $30 to be the most effective.

Subscribe to the Apple @ Work Newsletter

Comments