Spam and phishing emails can be a huge drain on productivity for an Internet based business. I use Mozilla Thunderbird and I find the spam filtering works tolerably well. Most of the incoming spam is quietly siphoned off into a ‘Junk’ folder and there appear to be very few false positives. I supplement this with a message filter to move all emails purporting to be from paypal.com or ebay.com (99% of which are phishing emails) to a ‘Suspicious’ folder, which I check from time to time. But I still get lots of spam with embedded GIF images, which Thunderbird’s spam filter seems to be powerless to handle.
Mostly these are ‘pump and dump’ stock tips, but some of them are for viagra, cialis etc. Some of the spammers even helpfully include images of the body parts targeted by these medications. After a quick Google I found out how to set up a message filter for embedded GIFs on Uzik’s blog. Any email with an embedded GIF that comes from someone I don’t know now gets sent to my ‘Suspicious’ folder. Thanks Uzik! A similar approach should work in many other email clients.
a rule for embedded GIFs (click to enlarge), see Uzik’s blog for more details
Note that some legitimate emails may have embedded GIFs as background images. While this practice is highly questionable you won’t want to lose these emails, so you should check your ‘Suspicious’ folder from time to time.
Of course this is only partial solution. The only real solution is to stop the spam in the first place. I say cut off their goolies.