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Cloudmark Offers Free Single-Folder Email Spam Filtering

DesktopOne should block spam, viruses, phishing on Windows machines -- and works with email and webmail -- but the single-folder free version may not be enough for most businesses or many users.
DesktopOne should block spam, viruses, phishing on Windows machines -- and works with email and webmail -- but the single-folder free version may not be enough for most businesses or many users.When it comes to "spam" -- unrequested email, typically commercial, often "adult" or some variant of the basic Nigerian scam, often unreplyable-to -- I think we can all agree that we do not like it and do not want it.

And oh yeah, we don't like email-born viruses or "phishing" either.

In any case, things that keep us from seeing spam, without costing too much in our time or money, always sound interesting.

One new entry, from Cloudmark is the free version of Cloudmark DesktopOne (formerly known as Cloudmark Desktop). The free version will automatically filter one email folder. The Pro version ($19.95) will filter as many email folders as you want.

According to the DesktopOne web site, it supports Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Windows Mail, Microsoft Outlook Express, and Mozilla Thunderbird, and runs on Windows XP, Vista and 7, in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Interestingly, according to Leon Rishniw, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Cloudmark, because Cloudmark is running as a separate application, it can be used not just with your webmail account -- Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, et cetera. "If your email provider provides IMAP or POP access, you don't need to run an email client, you can use webmail access." Also, you can use it to provide the security for a distant, less-tech-savvy friend or relative, like, say, the AOL account for an elderly relative who's thousands of miles away (as long as your computer is running and online, and you've got their email credentials to enter into the program).

Cloudmark has been in the spam-fighting biz since 2002. Their primary business is carrier/enterprise-level spam fighting and mail filtering, and the desktop version uses the same basic engine, so it's a reasonable guess that their detect-and-block is good enough.

"Because of the way we approach spam, we don't have to 'train' the solution, and neither does the user," according to Rishniw. "And the user doesn't have to deal with blacklists. DesktopOne is intended as consumer-friendly."

One note, when I go to the target URL to get the free download, either directly, or by starting at Cloudmark.com, FireFox reports that the page is "untrusted."

Not confidence-inspiring. This is presumably an Internet security "mis-handshake. "Many sites 'self-certify' or your browser may not have the right certificate to do the authentication," according to tech consultant Tom Henderson, President of ExtremeLabs.com. But the average user looking for free single-folder protection may be freaked out, or at least off-put, by this, and isn't likely to have the expertise or patience to suss this out or decide not to worry.

The free version of DesktopOne is only useful if you've got only one email account -- to be fair, that could be good enough for many family and friend users, or to let you give their filtering tech a free try. For more folders or accounts, it's $19.95/year.