Enhancing Spam Detection in Outlook Web Access Using PerlMX in 9 Easy Steps

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Note: these instructions use the Outlook Web Access interface and are suitable for Macintosh users or those who access their account remotely using the web. 
 
Iowa State's PerlMX spam tagging system examines all messages coming to campus and calculates the probability that the message is spam.
 
By default, these spam tags are available but ignored. The following shows step-by-step how to enable their use so that mail with a high probability of being spam will be automatically moved to your Junk E-Mail folder.
 
1. Log into https://exchange.iastate.edu
 
2. Click on the Options link at the right-hand side of the screen and choose "Create an Inbox Rule..."

Screenshot showing where "Create an Inbox Rule" is

3. Click on the "More Options..." link.

Screenshot showing where "more options" is in the Create an Inbox Rule menu

4. In the New Inbox Rule dialog, choose "It includes these words" and "in the message header..."

Screenshot showing how to apply a filter for spam messages

5. Type "Gauge=XXXXXXX" and click the Add button. Each X represents 10% probability that a message is spam.
 
Eight X's means 80%. Thus, Outlook will only move messages to your Junk box that have been tagged as having an 80% or higher probability of being spam by the spam tagger.
 
If you use only one X, almost all your email will go to your Junk box (including a lot of legitimate mail!). If you use nine X's, almost none of your email will go to your Junk box. You will need to make a judgement call here. Note: analysis of incoming email by central IT has shown that 60% (that is, six X's) may be the optimium value.

Screenshot showing how to change the strength of the spam filter

6. Click the green + sign to add your phrase to the search list and click OK.

Screenshot showing the add button

7. Under "Do the following" select "Move, copy, or delete" and then "Move the message to folder...".

Screenshot showing what the spam filter should do with spam e-mails

8. Select your Junk E-Mail folder and click OK.
Screenshot showing how to move junk mail to your junk mail folder

9. Name the new rule and click Save.

Screenshot showing new inbox rule naming

You're done! From now on, the spam tag on all incoming mail will be examined. If the probability of it being spam is higher than you specified in step 5, the mail will be automatically moved to your Junk E-Mail folder.
 
Please remember to check your Junk folder once in a while to make sure that legitimate mail is not making its way there.

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