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lindagray

Email Filtering

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Email filtering is the processing of email to organize it according to specified criteria. The term can apply to the intervention of human intelligence, but most often refers to the automatic processing of incoming messages with anti-spam techniques - to outgoing emails as well as those being received.

Email filtering software may reject an item at the initial SMTP connection stage or pass it through unchanged for delivery to the user's mailbox - or alternatively: redirect the message for delivery elsewhere; quarantine it for further checking; edit or 'tag' it in some way.

Motivation
Common uses for mail filters include organizing incoming email and removal of spam and computer viruses. A less common use is to inspect outgoing email at some companies to ensure that employees comply with appropriate laws. Users might also employ a mail filter to prioritize messages, and to sort them into folders based on subject matter or other criteria.

Methods

Mailbox providers can also install mail filters in their mail transfer agents as a service to all of their customers. Anti-virus, anti-spam, URL filtering, and authentication-based rejections are common filter types.

Corporations often use filters to protect their employees and their information technology assets. A catch-all filter will "catch all" of the emails addressed to the domain that do not exist in the mail server - this can help avoid losing emails due to misspelling.

Users, may be able to install separate programs (see links below), or configure filtering as part of their email program (email client). In email programs, users can make personal, "manual" filters that then automatically filter mail according to the chosen criteria.

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