Aug 24, 2011

How to use apps for your smartphone to cut spam SMS, email & unwanted calls


" Constantly buried under heaps of spam SMS, email & unwanted calls? Block them and you'll save a lot of time. ET guides you how to use apps for your smartphone, extensions for your e-mail client and little tricks to cut out all the spam "


ANDROID

For Android, the best app is SMS Blocker from Pune-based Optinno Mobitech. This ad-supported app is free from the Android Market for Android smartphones and unlike other spam blockers, it automatically blocks spam using a built in database of known spammers. The application quietly and efficiently runs in the background, filtering all the text messages that arrive - if it deems a message as spam, the phone will not ring. You can monitor the blocked messages from time to time to check whether a legit SMS has been blocked. Other apps for Android that you can consider are SMS Filter (by Tsvetan Nachev) and Handcent SMS.

BLACKBERRY

BlackBerry handsets include a built in firewall which is switched off by default . To activate it, go to Options > Security > Firewall. Enable the firewall for text messages and/or emails, but remember to scroll down and select 'Contacts' under Exceptions. This way, a sender stored in your contact list will not be blocked. You can also choose to add exceptions manually for bank alerts, mobile providers or whatever else you choose. Other apps that you can consider are SRS Call SMS & Email Spam ( 466), SMS Blocker (by Skyant, 140) and Antair SMS Filter ( 186).

SYMBIAN

Optinno also makes the SMS Blocker app for Nokia Symbian phones, but it costs 199 (one-time purchase, tied to the phone's IMEI number). You can find out more or download a trial version from www.smsblocker.in. Other apps for Symbian include SMS Spam Manager ( 75), Call & SMS Filter ( 75) and Whitelist for Calls/SMS ( 99).

KASPERSKY MOBILE SECURITY

KMS 9 is a complete security and firewall app, available for Android, Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile. It costs $29.99 per phone, per year and protects you from malware and attacks, but you can also use it to encrypt contents of the phone, remotely track a lost phone, wipe all data from a lost phone to prevent misuse, restrict calls & SMS (parental control) or use it to block unwanted SMS and calls. It blocks using black/white lists which you have to create yourself, so it is a time consuming process. Find out more at www.kaspersky.com.

Calls


The rise of mobile phones has led to an increase in unsolicited calls. First, get on the DND (Do Not Disturb) list by texting DND to 1909. Unfortunately, even those who have subscribed to DND get calls, simply because there is no effective way to police telemarketers . There is another way out - take matters into your own hands and use a call blacklist for your mobile phone. With a blacklist app, choose which numbers to block and they'll never be able to call again.

APPLE IPHONE

Unfortunately, the iPhone does not have an effective blacklist application/feature that actually works. However, if you have a jailbroken iPhone, then you are in luck. iBlacklist only works on jailbroken iPhones because of the restrictions imposed by Apple. The app adds call and sms blocking functionality and provides the option of creating a blacklist and whitelist. You can make and use multiple lists at the same time and setup an auto-reply sms for blocked callers. The app is priced at $12 and can be downloaded from www.iblacklist.com.br.

ANDROID

For android users, there are a lot of free apps available which work effectively in providing the blacklist feature. A simple search for blacklist in the Android Market will show you multiple results and you can try out each of them to see which one suits your purpose. We recommend that you try Call Filter by Telemarks, Blacklist by AntTek and Call blocker by NetQin Mobile first. All these apps are free and easy to use.

SYMBIAN

Symbian, being one of the oldest smartphone operating systems , has a number of call blocking applications, but the most effective ones are paid apps. There are free apps such as Handy Blacklist, Best Blacklist Lite and BlockMe, but they usually have some limitations . The paid ones include Blacklist, Xblockr and Advanced Call Manager. They are all priced between 50 to 125. You can try multiple apps, but make sure you uninstall the first one before installing another .

BLACKBERRY

BlackBerry has its share of apps like Phonebasics, Call Blocker & Screen and Simtak Call Filter, all of which are free and do the basic job of creating a blacklist to block unwanted callers. If you need advanced features such as scheduling, backup and restore blacklists, then paid apps such as Call Blocker Pro and Call Control Pro can be used. The paid call blocker apps are usually priced between 93 to 233.

E-mail

Email is a favorite target for spammers . You may have signed up to receive spam yourself without realising it - by registering with various websites, online services or newsletters. Paid security suites from Norton, AVG and Kaspersky come with their own anti-spam plug-ins for desktop email clients - these are one of the more effective ways to combat spam. In case you want something effective yet free, these are some of the options you can consider.

GMAIL/YAHOO/HOTMAIL

By default, all online mail providers have their own spam guards that filter out the most common spam mails. Each of them also gives you the option to customise your spam filter by reporting emails and addresses that are sending spam. Many spam filters will intelligently learn what kind of mails you marking as spam and identify similar spam mails automatically. To further protect your identity, all these online services block HTML linked images in received mail, unless you expressly ask to receive it. Hotmail offers the option to create a 'safe senders' list where email addresses and even domain names can be added. Gmail can show you a key icon next to authenticated messages from certain senders (this feature needs to be activated from Google labs within Gmail). You can also set filters to deliver certain types of mail directly to the junk/trash folder.

MICROSOFT OUTLOOK

Outlook comes with a preloaded junk e-mail filter, which is set to 'low' by default. One of the easiest ways to get rid of spam mails here is to just increase the protection level of your junk mail filter. Outlook doesn't just stop there, the junk filter comes with five different protection lists - safe senders, safe recipients, blocked senders, blocked encoding and blocked domain lists. Each list works to its name and protects various mails sent and received using Outlook. Alternatively, you can also install various plugins if you feel that the level of protection is not enough. Some recommended plugins for Outlook are AntySpam and Spam Reader.

MOZILLA THUNDERBIRD

Thunderbird comes with its own set of junk mail filters. It needs to be trained for a few weeks to be able to identify spam mails on the basis of previous mails reported as spam. After it has been trained, Thunderbird will automatically identify junk mail and move it to the junk folder. There are also various add-ons available for Thunderbird that can do the job without any training . Spamfighter is one of the more popular and effective addons (it is also available as a free add-on for Outlook, Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail). Another add-on called JunQuilla adds a column with a percentage likelihood that a message is spam.

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