Google Enhances Spam Filtering

spamThere are really two stories here.  The first is about how your Gmail account should become smarter about what you consider to be SPAM, as well as what you consider to be desirable email.  We are talking about a system actually learning your personal individual preferences over time.  For instance, I get a lot of email newsletters and marketing emails in my Inbox, and many of them I signed up for and want to receive.  It used to be that getting what I wanted to receive was a bit hit or miss, many times I would find emails I wanted in my Junk Mail or SPAM folders.

Gmail users should be experiencing less of this.

  • Google is using a neural network to block the really clever SPAM that is designed to look like legitimate mail.
  • At the same time, one man’s SPAM is another man’s treasure, and Gmail will be able to learn at an individual level what each subscriber prefers.  This learning happens when you send something to the SPAM folder or parole an email from the SPAM folder, so just deleting everything will not help train your Inbox.
  • Gmail will also be looking for impostor emails, the kind that pretend to be from legitimate companies but are the hallmark of a phishing campaign.

The second story is for email senders.  In this example I have a client whose legitimate person to person email is being rejected by their recipients SPAM filtering systems.  This is a very difficult problem to overcome, and usually requires that your recipient has their mail admin add your email domain to their SPAM filter white list or allowed list.  This is even a bigger problem if you send bulk email such as marketing offers or newsletters.  A high percentage of this sort of mail may end up in a SPAM folder, never to be seen.

For email senders Google has Gmail Postmaster Tools, which allows you to basically white list yourself with Google’s email system.  Because we have had some issues ourselves, especially with people using Barracuda SPAM Firewall (ugh!), we went in and enrolled three of our domains, and the domain of a client who has had similar problems.  To make this work you need to be able to create a TXT file in your DNS records, and if you just went “Huh?” then you might want to see professional help from your computer guy, or the guy who runs your website.

My hope is that some of the spam filtering companies out their will use the Google Postmaster Tools records as part of their filtering solution, and so this spreads around to more than just Gmail account holders.  In any event, you might want to add your email domains to the Postmaster Tools list.


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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