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Understanding Junk Mail Handling in GroupWise 6.5 - Part 1

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Tay Kratzer

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Posted: 4 Nov 2004
 


Tay Kratzer

With GroupWise 6.5 a great feature called ?Junk Mail Handling? was added. I hasten to add though that Junk Mail Handling is not an effective way to fight SPAM. See my article SPAM Protection @Novell in which I discuss SPAM protection further. In my opinion, the Junk Mail Handling feature should not be enabled until such time that you have a SPAM protection solution in place. There are just no two ways around this fact. Just as you've had to implement an enterprise level virus protection solution, you should consider implementing an enterprise level SPAM protection solution.

SPAM vs. Junk Mail

It's important to note however that the fact that you have, or will have implemented a SPAM protection solution does not negate the need for Junk Mail Handling. The Junk Mail features can still be of tremendous value. Let me explain the difference between SPAM and Junk Mail for sake of understanding what I am implying.

SPAM is mail that is not designed for correspondence, but simply designed to broadcast information or a solicitation. You can always dispute that the reason you received a piece of SPAM is because you shared your e-mail with such-and-such web-site, but that's not at the root of the discussion of SPAM. SPAM is unsolicited, and the sender of the SPAM has no viable relationship or knowledge of the recipient's desire for information or solicitation. Almost always, messages that are SPAM come from bogus e-mail addresses, or addresses that will never be used more than once.

In the physical world SPAM might be likened to the little notes put on my door and everyone else's door in the city. This isn't a perfect analogy, but it works!

Junk Mail is different than SPAM. I know to some, all unwanted mail is ?SPAM?, but let me explain the difference between SPAM and Junk Mail. If I go to a local department store, and give them my e-mail address on a credit-card application I might start getting mail from the department store that I don't want. The relationship with the department store is viable, but still I may not want to receive the messages. In reality I've probably been added to a broadcast-only listserver. Lots of these listservers append an un-subscribe footer to the message. However the problem with using an un-subscribe mechanism is that you are generally confirming your e-mail address which could be a further means for attracting more unwanted mail messages. This is where functionality from the ?Junk Mail Handling? features in GroupWise can be especially helpful. There are other reasons for using the Junk Mail. For example, what if you get a newsletter each month that you used to be interested in, but are not interested right now. It could be just easiest to use Junk Mail Handling to take care of these newsletters.

In the physical world, Junk Mail could be likened to the fact that since I once ordered from Eddie Bauer, I now get notifications of sales and promotions periodically around the year.

The ?Junk Mail Handling? feature is actually a combination of features that can be very powerful. I like to think of the Junk Mail Handling features as a blend of ?White Lists? and ?Black Lists?. Let's discuss each.

Junk Mail Handling - White Lists

There are two different White Lists that the Junk Mail Handling engine can key off of. They are the addresses in:

  • The Personal Address Books


  • The Trust List

First let's discuss the Personal Address Books. You can design the Junk Mail Handling feature so that if a message comes from a sender or Internet domain that is not in any of the your personal address books (including the Frequent Contacts address book), then the message will be moved to the Junk Mail folder.

This is very powerful in it's potential. Some people really like this approach, however it may not be practical for others. As for myself it is not practical, because I often get legitimate e-mails from people from all over the Internet.

The Trust List feature is a helpful appendage to the Personal Address Book white list. Imagine that your company ABC.COM bought out another company 123.COM. You know that you will be receiving messages from users at 123.COM. So in your Trust List you can add an entry specifically for ?123.COM? that will now allow messages to come through if they are from <ANY-USERID>@123.COM.

Junk Mail Handling - Black Lists

There are two different Black Lists that the Junk Mail Handling engine can key off of. They are the addresses in:

  • The Junk List


  • The Block List

The Junk List and the Block List are both designed so that e-mail Addresses or Internet domains defined in their respective list are considered unwanted mail. The only difference between the two lists is how the unwanted mail is treated. Messages that are identified as unwanted via the ?Junk List? are moved to the Junk Mail folder off of the user's mailbox. Messages that are identified as unwanted via the ?Block List? are discarded of by the Post Office Agent. In effect the item disappears, and the only evidence of the fact that the item actually came is that the ?Count? for the address or Internet domain is incremented. Figure 1 shows a Junk List from my mailbox.



Combining the Power of Black Lists and White Lists

The Junk, Block and Trust lists are mutually exclusive. That's a fancy way of saying that you cannot have the same address listed in the Junk list and the Trust list. Or said another way, you cannot have an address listed in more than one of the three lists under Junk Mail Handling. However, if you've defined in the Junk List that all ?hotmail.com? addresses are not permitted, and then you add a specific address such as ?bill57@hotmail.com? to your Trust list, then you will be able to get messages from bill57@hotmail.com. Or if you enable choose to enable ?Enable Junk Mail using personal address books?, and bill57@hotmail.com is in your address book, then you do not have to put them in the Trust list.

more Understanding Junk Mail Handling in GroupWise 6.5:

more Kratzer's Hot Docs

See other articles written by Tay Kratzer at "Kratzer's Hot Docs": http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/gwmag/trenches/kratzer.html

books to read

Success with Clustering GroupWise:
A Guide to Building a Highly Available GroupWise System

by Tay Kratzer and Gregg A. Hinchman
Purchase info: www.taykratzer.com

Success with GroupWise 6.5 for Linux:
by Tay Kratzer and Ira Messenger
Purchase info: www.taykratzer.com


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