CA Anti-Spam 2007 is an effective spam blocker that ensures you only receive emails from people you know and that messages from unknown senders don’t reach your inbox. Anyone who has an email account knows that spam is one of the biggest problems an Internet user faces. Whether it is used to send unwanted junk mail, viruses, or phishing scams, or to drop assorted spyware and malware on an unsuspecting user, spammers affect everyone with an email account.
In addition to protecting you from spam, CA Anti-Spam can also be configured to help keep your mailbox folders organized by indexing your email so you can search and find specific messages, attachments, contacts, or appointments. The program installs as an integrated tool bar [Figure 1.1] in Microsoft email clients that allows you to add senders to your approved or blocked lists as you review your email, access program options, and search your messages.
CA Anti-Spam uses a spam scoring system to better assist you in identifying spam. The higher the score, the more likely that the message is spam. Once installed, the program is integrated into Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Outlook Express, or Windows Mail and uses your address book to ensure that emails from people you know go to your inbox while quarantining other messages for you to review later.
CA Anti-Spam does a good job in identifying spam, but if you’re looking for a product that gets rid of spam before it gets to your mailbox, then this product may not be for you. When email arrives, the program analyzes it, scores the messages, and checks the senders against your approved list. The messages that are identified as spam are then placed in a folder called CA Anti-Spam [Figure 1.3]. When you open the folder, you are prompted to review messages that have been quarantined and select any messages that you want to approve as non-spam [Figure 1.4]. Once a message has been approved, it is added to your approved senders list and released to your inbox. The remaining messages are left in the CA Anti-Spam folder.
I should also point out that if you aren’t using Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Outlook Express, or Windows Mail, then this product won’t suit your needs. CA Anti-Spam has no support for other email clients such as Eudora or Thunderbird.
Price to Value (4 out of 5)
For $29.99, you get a good product that will not only help to control spam, but applies easy-to-use spam filter technology that does not require complicated rules or configurations on your part. You can also download a 30-day free trial version to evaluate the product.
The lack of additional features and compatibility with other email programs won’t satisfy power users looking for greater control and functionality.
Installation & Setup (5 out of 5)
Installation went smoothly and there were no issues running the program on Windows XP or Vista. Once installation is complete, there is very little configuration needed to get started blocking spam. After install, the first time you open your email client, the setup wizard scans your address book and creates an approved list of contacts. Once the wizard is finished, the program starts identifying spam immediately.
Despite the ease of installation, there are still more options that need to be configured in order for you to optimize the way CA Anti-Spam scans your incoming email. For example, the default settings only look at your inbox folder for potential spam. If you’re like me, and have multiple folders with rules set up for sorting your email when it arrives, then you’ll need to go to the options dialog box to identify which folders you want CA Anti-Spam to scan (Figure 1.5).
User Interface (5 out of 5)
CA Anti-Spam does a great job integrating with your email client and I liked not having to work with two different applications open on my desktop. Access to its features are all available from the toolbar with the click of a button. The user interface is also very clean, uncomplicated, and easy to work with.
There isn’t much in the interface not to love.
Help & Support (3 out of 5)
CA Anti-Spam comes with browser-based help documentation that gives adequate information on all the various features of the product. If you need more help, you can go to the CA website and do a keyword search of their knowledge center, which includes a wide range of troubleshooting and product-related information.
CA offers 24/7 telephone support; however, it’s not free. There’s a charge of $19.95 per incident to speak to a support professional.
The online knowledge base articles on the CA website are outdated and don’t include CA Anti-Spam 2007. All the articles are leftovers from when the product was known as eTrust Anti-Spam, and haven’t been updated to include the latest version. There’s no online discussion forum for getting assistance from other users.
Overall, the quality of the documentation and online knowledge center is average.
Product Features (3 out of 5)
CA Anti-Spam works effortlessly with your email client to identify and block incoming spam using your approved senders list. The program also comes with pre-set category filters that look at incoming email to try and determine if the messages are being sent by real people and not automated spam bots. CA Anti-Spam also offers spoof-proof fraud protection by using industry standard digital signatures to verify the authenticity of an incoming email from people or companies that use them.
The program supports multiple POP3 email accounts and can be configured to scan all of your mailbox folders for possible spam. All of the program’s features can be easily accessed from the toolbar integrated into your email client, and messages can be blocked or approved with the click of a button. Messages that have been identified as spam are immediately quarantined and can be reviewed at your convenience by clicking the CA Anti-Spam folder. Another nice feature is that when you move your mouse over emails in the quarantine list, you can see the content of the email to help you better determine if it’s legitimate or not.
If you rarely clean out your email or frequently need to find old email, then you’ll love CA Anti-Spam’s ability to index your folders [Figure 1.6] so you can search for and find specific messages, attachments, contacts, or appointments. The search box is easily accessible from the CA Anti-Spam toolbar.
Unlike other spam filter programs, CA Anti-Spam lacks the ability to allow a user to set up specific category filters or rules for detecting spam. The program only allows you to add senders to your approved list by email address. There is no ability to allow or block email by IP address or by server domain. There is also no support for public blacklists, such as that of spamcop.net, to filter incoming email or the ability to bounce email messages back to the sender, making them think the email address is no longer valid.
Although CA Anti-Spam uses a spam scoring system, there is no way to adjust the sensitivity of the scanner. This means that an email with a score of zero percent doesn’t automatically get treated as non-spam unless the user is in your address book or has previously been approved. In addition, any email from mailing lists you may be on can’t added to your approved list until the first time they get sent to the CA Anti-Spam folder.
Suspect emails are sent to the CA Anti-Spam folder for review; however, once you’ve reviewed the current list of quarantined emails, there is no way to go back and look at any previously quarantined emails and approve any you may have missed. Those messages appear in the folder as normal emails.
CA Anti-Spam also has a problem working well with Outlook’s built-in junk mail filters. Once an email has been reviewed and approved, it’s released from the CA Anti-Spam folder but doesn’t always get sent to your inbox. Depending on the content, it may get sent to the Junk Mail folder once Outlook’s filters finish reviewing it.
One nice feature of any program is the ability to schedule automatic updates; however, the automatic update feature in CA Anti-Spam has the unfortunate side effect of slowing down sending and receiving email until it has finished. It also doesn’t run very well as a background program.
I’d like to see more support for non-Microsoft email clients and more advanced features for controlling spam, such as IP blocking.
CA Anti-Spam 2007 offers a reasonably priced product that does an excellent job of controlling the inundation of spam that plagues anyone with an email account. A simple user interface with easy configuration gets you up and running with very little effort. This is an excellent product for the average home user, using a Microsoft email client, who gets occasional spam and doesn’t require any advanced customization features.
Lack of support for non-Microsoft email clients puts CA Anti-Spam behind similarly priced competitors, and although it does a good job of controlling spam, it’s not as feature-rich as products like MailWasher Pro, SpamEater Pro, or SpamKiller. Finally, in testing the product I found that it worked only slightly better than Outlook’s built-in junk mail filters. In combination, Outlook and CA Anti-Spam captured all of the incoming junk mail.
Norton, McAfee, MailWasher, SpamEater, SpamKiller