Spamkiller: "Does It Work?"

Ask anyone their chief complaint about their online service and they'll probably mention spam. It really threatens to ruin the Internet experience. And that's why there's almost always some kind of anti-spam legislation working its way through Congress. But in the meantime, we've found a product for your computer called Spamkiller. And this week, we put it to the "Does It Work?" test.

Spamkiller 4.0 is made by the same company that makes the popular VirusScan software. McAfee says their product stops unwanted e mail cold in its tracks... eliminating offensive and fraudulent e mails.

Let's see if it works.

We began our test 3 days ago with a clean install of Spamkiller on a computer that averages about 20-25 spam e mails a day. Today we'll be able to see what got through and most importantly, what did not.

Installation was easy enough-- basic stuff. Just insert the cd into the proper drive, answer a few questions and you're set.

When we talk about filtering e-mail you may worry about messages you want-- not getting through. McAfee says it's taken care of that by allowing you to automatically import your friend's e mail address into a "friends list",ensuring their messages aren't mistaken for spam. Even if one of the "key" words Spamkiller is looking for appears in their e mail.

Let's take a closer look at the filtering system. Spamkiller says it scrutinizes inbound message watching for telltale content in subject lines, body text, sender's address and message headers. Browse through the list of "filter words" and you're liable to blush. This is one mean list. Including several words you can't say on television and all the latest tricks spammers use to disguise words like "unsubscribe" or "adult" with spelled with spaces between each letter and the number "1" instead of a small "l". And as the spammers get smarter, so does Spamkiller. It continually downloads new filters to stay up-to-date against the latest spam attacks. But you can also create your own filters. For instance, if there was a person named "John" who worked for a company called "Acme Spammers", who kept getting through or was sending unwanted e-mail... you can create filters to block his correspondence. And because so many viruses originate overseas, you can block e-mail from specific countries.

With all that said, let's see how well it did. Remember this e-mail address averages 20-25 spam messages a day.

Three days, 51 spam messages that were stopped by Spamkiller.

Spamkiller comes with a bit of a mean streak. If a spammer doesn't give up, you can tell it to generate an error. That will send an error message back to that server to try to trick that sender into thinking this is not a valid e-mail address.

So, "Does It Work?"

You eventually have to filter through the spam you get, but you do it at your leisure, not every time you check your e-mail. And most importantly inappropriate e-mail never makes it to your in box where little eyes could run across it.

We give Spamkiller a "yes".

Spamkiller 4.0 can be found at pretty much any electronics store that carries software. It will cost you between 25 and 30 dollars. But occasionally, you can get it for 25 dollars, and get a 25 dollar mail in rebate.