Apple Mail – how to block HTML-based spam messages

ApplemaillogoIf you own a Mac, it’s likely you might use Apple Mail. Most of us use email and are no doubt familiar with spam messages. Recent research (Trustwave) suggests that nearly 70% of the emails we receive is actually spam. Of this less than 3% contain a malicious attachment i.e. PDF, video codec file, or JPEG image for example. Most users will be familiar with junk mail filtering in Mail which can be found in Preferences. But what about HTML-based spam?

In many instances HTML-based spam includes links to remotely hosted images, which are then loaded by Mail. This confirms to the sender that your email is active (and valid) and that you opened up the email. Once the sender knows this, they can target you with further spam.  The spam server will merge a unique image URL for each recipient into a standard message and then send this in one block to its global address book.

I suggest you block HTML-based spam messages by default on your Mac and iOS device. In Apple Mail you will need to do the following:

  • Mac – Open Preferences and click Viewing and uncheck the option beside Display remote images in HTML messages.
  • iOS – Open > Settings > tap Mail > Contacts > Calendars > tap the switch beside > Load Remote Images

Remember, when you receive an email and allow Mail to download the images you are sending a confirmation request that your email is valid and that you will be sent further HTML-based spam. It also confirms that you are not aware of the security risks of downloading remotely hosted images. Hopefully this post has helped. 🙂

Safe surfing folks!

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