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Creating Email Filters using Regex w/Content doesn't search through links embedded in images.

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Creating Email Filters using Regex w/Content doesn't search through links embedded in images.

I have a major spam problem. Some days I get 8+ unsolicited emails that aren't even relevant in any way. Every single one seems to duck and weave their way through Xfinity's spam detection systems so I have to take matters into my own hands. 

 

Marking these emails as spam doesn't do anything since every time it's from a different sender. I've probably received emails from tens of thousands of different accounts at this point. I am able to use Regex to search for specific strings in the subject fields, as I was able to write a filter to look for letter "o"s being replaced with numerical "0"s; a common tactic about 15% of the spam I receive uses to avoid detection. However, this only catches 15%. There's still often 5+ emails a day I have to deal with.

 

One common thing I've noticed in every spam email is that there are two images, embedded into the email, and each of these has a link. One is the spam link itself, and the other is an unsubscribe link (that conveniently does nothing). The first image for whatever reason always has a LinkedIn URL shortening/redirect link (or something, I don't entirely know) at the end of whatever comes before, often an Amazon AWS redirect.

 

Now, this is great, because I should just be able to write a filter that looks through the content of the email or even the email source itself and just finds whenever an http://lnkd.in URL shows up. Easy, right? Well, apparently not. The only filter option that seems like it would analyze the content of the email is "Content", which for whatever reason doesn't seem to catch the links, as evidenced by the fact that I continue to receive these emails, even with the links in them, to this date. 

 

Spam email(s) in the inbox:

 

All of the said emails follow the same format, containing images with an embedded link, all of these links contain the "lnkd.in" string:

 

You can also find this in the source of the email:

 

My filter (that doesn't work, as I keep receiving emails in the main inbox, nothing gets tagged with the red flag or moved):

 

 

Is this user error? Am I missing a blatantly obvious setting? Can I search the source of the email? Or is this just functionality that doesn't exist within the mail client itself and I'll have to go try and get a hold of the mail client development team through some mediocre-at-best support line? 

 

Any help is appreciated.

Cheers,

MH

 

Service Expert

Re: Creating Email Filters using Regex w/Content doesn't search through links embedded in images.


@Matth0680 wrote:

I have a major spam problem. Some days I get 8+ unsolicited emails that aren't even relevant in any way. Every single one seems to duck and weave their way through Xfinity's spam detection systems so I have to take matters into my own hands. 

 

Marking these emails as spam doesn't do anything since every time it's from a different sender. I've probably received emails from tens of thousands of different accounts at this point. I am able to use Regex to search for specific strings in the subject fields, as I was able to write a filter to look for letter "o"s being replaced with numerical "0"s; a common tactic about 15% of the spam I receive uses to avoid detection. However, this only catches 15%. There's still often 5+ emails a day I have to deal with.

 

One common thing I've noticed in every spam email is that there are two images, embedded into the email, and each of these has a link. One is the spam link itself, and the other is an unsubscribe link (that conveniently does nothing). The first image for whatever reason always has a LinkedIn URL shortening/redirect link (or something, I don't entirely know) at the end of whatever comes before, often an Amazon AWS redirect.

 

Now, this is great, because I should just be able to write a filter that looks through the content of the email or even the email source itself and just finds whenever an http://lnkd.in URL shows up. Easy, right? Well, apparently not. The only filter option that seems like it would analyze the content of the email is "Content", which for whatever reason doesn't seem to catch the links, as evidenced by the fact that I continue to receive these emails, even with the links in them, to this date. 

 

Spam email(s) in the inbox:

 

All of the said emails follow the same format, containing images with an embedded link, all of these links contain the "lnkd.in" string:

 

You can also find this in the source of the email:

 

My filter (that doesn't work, as I keep receiving emails in the main inbox, nothing gets tagged with the red flag or moved):

 

 

Is this user error? Am I missing a blatantly obvious setting? Can I search the source of the email? Or is this just functionality that doesn't exist within the mail client itself and I'll have to go try and get a hold of the mail client development team through some mediocre-at-best support line? 

 

Any help is appreciated.

Cheers,

MH

 


You might want to read this article from Symantec which will explain why you're having a problem filtering these emails.




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Re: Creating Email Filters using Regex w/Content doesn't search through links embedded in images.

This article talks about why spammers use images in emails to avoid automated text filters, but it doesn't say anything about why I'm unable to filter them.

 

No amount of cleverness will get around searching in the email source. Remotely hosting an image still requires that you have a link to the image, and if you want that to go somewhere, then there must be a link defined alongside the image.

 

If the link is clearly visible in the source, then how come my filters don't catch it? Does the "Content" filter search physical email content in the source, or just search for plain text? If the latter, then how can I go about filtering these emails? "You can't because spammers are clever" is hardly a real solution. 

 

I've been dealing with these types of emails for months and months now, and I'm very close to breaking the last straw. Either I stop them altogether, or I'll just have to migrate legitimate accounts and abandon the email. I like my email, I don't want to put in the effort to change it/migrate it (that could take weeks), and writing a filter to catch something this simple should be a piece of cake, a walk in the park, or what have you. But for whatever reason, it isn't, and that's quite frustrating indeed. 

 

If I can't filter them now, who can I get in contact with to filter them later? Automation is key, and I shouldn't have to set up my own custom IMAP mirror to filter out incessant, but consistent spam. There's already a plenty functional filter system. Regex is already included, and Regular Expressions are something that specifically caters to power-users. It's a very powerful search system, but I highly doubt the average user is familiar with them. If we have Regex, why can't we search the email source too?

 

Sorry if I'm coming off as a bit rude, of course you're not able to change the email client, but it's hard to live through this stuff for months, even years, with no solution in sight. I tried getting in contact with Comcast Support to organize a call with their email team (already hilariously difficult due to Comcast Support's very limited categories), but apparently, they called me back on the wrong number, or who knows what, because I never got called back.

 

Hope there's some way I can work around this problem.

MH

 

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