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Managing Spam

Spam is the scourge of the internet and constitutes up to 97% of the billions of messages that are sent every day. The war with spam will never be over, the rules of engagement are always changing and AntiSpam software algorithms are continuously adapting. Rules that applied yesterday don’t apply today. There is no silver bullet to eliminate spam from your email experience and the only way to avoid it altogether is to not use email at all, which of course for many people and businesses is simply not an option. The best we can aim to achieve is to block the most obvious spam emails, e.g. those containing viruses and/or are from known spam sources, and to maintain a level of quartantine whereby most other spam is blocked or marked as suspicious while most genuine emails are allowed. Our Mailgate server does a lot of this for you automatically, but you can help us and thereby yourself with the tools explained here.

A bit of background on mail flow . . .

It will be helpful to explain the nature of the flow of emails from the internet. The domain and DNS records that we configure for you will direct incoming emails first to our Mailgate server, then via your Mailgate Account on to your mailbox that we host for you, which ultimately you view with your chosen email client, e.g. Outlook or OWA or the email app on your phone. Our Mailgate Server and your Mailgate Account are upstream from your mailbox, which itself is upstream from your email client. So, the AntiSpam algorithms on the Mailgate Server and the tools in your Mailgate Account will affect the number of emails that are delivered to your mailbox that you view with your email client. Conversely, any settings that you make to your email client cannot affect this number, as your email client is downstream of your mailbox. These settings can only affect what your email client does when it views the emails that have already been delivered to your mailbox.

Making good use of the tools explained here should mean that you do not need to use any of the spam-management tools in your email client and can use rules only for your own convenience, e.g. moving messages to specified folders and trusting certain senders for attachments and embedded images.

. . . and email security

All incoming emails are scanned with our AntiSpam and AntiVirus software, which uses a sophisticated score-based filtering system to determine if an email should be considered junk.  Every email that is sent to you is assigned a score.  Based on its score, an email will fall into one of these three categories:

Good Emailswhich will be delivered to you unaltered
Possible Junkwhich will be delivered to you with [PossibleSpam] inserted in the Subject
Junk Emailswhich will be quarantined on our Maigate Server for 30 days, then deleted

These measures will help to protect you against spam but cannot be relied upon implicitly.  Note that no spam email or virus program can spontaneously cause damage.  Simply receiving and reading an email can cause no harm in itself, no matter what it contains.  The recipient must actually act, either to provide requested sensitive information or to download and run virus programs.  The best defence is always to treat with caution anything that you are not expecting or is unusual.

Quarantine Email Report

If you have a Mailgate Account, you will be sent scheduled emails every day from Prelude Software Reporter entitled “Summary Email Report”, which will contain a list of spam and possible spam emails sent to your email address, your aliases (if any) and distribution lists (if any) that were intercepted since the previous scheduled email. Use the links in the report to view and restore emails that have wrongly been identified as spam or possible spam:

FromClick to launch a new outgoing email to the sender in your local email clients.
SubjectClick to view he message on our Mailgate server, from which you can add the domain or email address to your whitelist and restore the individual email, or add the domain or email address to your blacklist.
RestoreClock to receive the individual email, which should arrive in your inbox shortly after.

Note that adding domains and individual email addresses to your white list will make it less likely that future emails received from those domains and email addresses will be quarantined, but it can’t guarantee this because the software uses many factors to evaluate the spam score.

On-Demand Quarantine Email Report

You can request a quarantine email report on-demand by sending an email to the dedicated email address manual-report-request@mailgate.prelude.software.  The email needn’t have a subject or message content and should have no other recipients.  The report will list spam and possible spam emails received in the current day.  It doesn’t affect the scheduled reports.

Spam Learner

In spite of all our best efforts, innevitably, some spam messages will still get through to your mailbox. As explained above, changing settings on your email client can’t affect this. Instead, simply forward these spam emails to the dedicated email address, spam-learner@mailgate.prelude.software. The Mailgate server will find the original email and use it to update its algorithms accordingly, thereby increasing its ability to mark similar emails as spam in future.  Note that it doesn’t block the sender, as this could cause legitimate messages to also be blocked, e.g. with phishing emails whereby the spammer pretends to be someone they are not.

Manage your whitelist

This is explained in Managing your Mailgate Account and the mail flow explained above applies here.

Manage your blacklist

This is also explained in Managing your Mailgate Account and, of course, the same mail flow also applies here.