Apple activates iCloud.com Calendar spam reporting feature

Posted:
in iCloud edited December 2016
Apple on Sunday instituted a new junk content reporting feature on its iCloud.com web portal, the first step in what appears to be an activation of countermeasures against iCloud Calendar spam invites users began to receive in volume last month.




As seen in the image above, iCloud users are now able to report Calendar invites from unknown senders as "junk" by clicking on a hyperlink in the iCloud.com web interface. The provision to mark an invitation as spam, which appears inline with accept, decline and "maybe" options, is currently limited to iCloud.com, though a similar feature could make its way to dedicated iOS and macOS Calendar apps in the near future.

With junk reporting now in play, Apple is presumably creating a database of nefarious users who will be monitored and, if necessary, blocked from sending mass spam invites to other customers.

While the Calendar event invite mechanism has long been available to Apple device users, it was only last month that marketing trolls began using the capability en masse to push out advertisements.

The scheme is simple, yet effective. By shuffling promotional content through Apple's Calendar service instead of sending out the usual email blast, spammers effectively bypass email client junk filters and, depending on a user's system settings, trigger a push notification on their target's iOS device or Mac. As an added benefit, any user who interacts with an iCloud Calendar invite -- accept or decline -- automatically sends a response to the sender, allowing spammers to easily determine which accounts are active.

Apple acknowledged the problem in a brief statement, apologizing to those affected and promising to fix the issue by "identifying and blocking suspicious invite senders." That was nearly two weeks ago.

Prior to the implementation of today's tool, users had little recourse but to ignore the invites, turn off Calendar notifications or undertake the arduous process of creating a dedicated junk calendar, moving spam to said calendar and deleting it. Doing so removes the offending invitation without tipping off the spammer.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    Spammers for were also aboard the A vessel programmed to crash land on prehistoric earth. 
  • Reply 2 of 12
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 1,467member
    But isn't there a need to decline without a response? I might not want to send a response, but that doesn't mean the original invitation was spam. 
    netmage
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Spammers for were also aboard the A vessel programmed to crash land on prehistoric earth. 
    Are you sure it wasn't the B ark?
    webweaseldysamoria
  • Reply 4 of 12
    Rayz2016 said:
    But isn't there a need to decline without a response? I might not want to send a response, but that doesn't mean the original invitation was spam. 
    Yes.  By reporting it as Spam as per the article the 'invite' is deleted from your calendar without tipping off the spammers.  Apple also sees what has been reported as Junk to hopefully deal with the spammers with appropriate & proportional retribution.    Personally I think it is best to nuke them from orbit.  It's the only way to be sure.



    edited December 2016 Rayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    entropys said:
    Spammers for were also aboard the A vessel programmed to crash land on prehistoric earth. 
    Are you sure it wasn't the B ark?
    Actually you are totally right. 

    It would appear I need to brush up my knowledge on Golgafrincham ;)
    entropysdysamoria
  • Reply 6 of 12
    irelandireland Posts: 16,402member
    Rayz2016 said:
    But isn't there a need to decline without a response? I might not want to send a response, but that doesn't mean the original invitation was spam. 
    If you decline you decline. That is a response. Perhaps you're looking for a delete option.
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 7 of 12
    I can still see my declined Spam invites on iOS but they're not showing up on the web. I need to be able to see them so I can delete them. Is anyone else having this issue?
  • Reply 8 of 12
    I wish Apple would focus more on email spam which I torturously fight every day. The iCould side of applying rules to keep them at bay is pathetic, no option to delete prior to landing in your inbox or more the the very minimum in filters.
    bloggerblogjony0
  • Reply 9 of 12
    spice-boy said:
    I wish Apple would focus more on email spam which I torturously fight every day. The iCould side of applying rules to keep them at bay is pathetic, no option to delete prior to landing in your inbox or more the the very minimum in filters.
    Yes! And no matter how many times I mark an email as spam, it never learns it. 
  • Reply 10 of 12
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,133member
    Once again, users of only iCloud.com get to control anything. iOS-only users get nothing, despite the fact that iOS was just updated.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,222member
    ireland said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    But isn't there a need to decline without a response? I might not want to send a response, but that doesn't mean the original invitation was spam. 
    If you decline you decline. That is a response. Perhaps you're looking for a delete option.
    A delete option would accomplish the purpose, but I suspect the person may also have been thinking in a broader context...both Accept and Decline should have "without response" options. Outside of Apple design studio's the world is not blank and white. There are instances when such options can be useful.

    But that would be a change beyond just addressing the spamming issue.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    It seems Apple's spam control is developed on some kind YoYo platform ... some days it's up and running others NOT. On different days I have message from the SAME sender in spam as I do in my inbox ... ? Doesn't seem to matter that I tell it to 'train as good'. They just keep sending them to spam and some spam gets to my inbox. Bipolar spam control... ? Good thing I also use SpamSieve -- it's consistent and gets most of what Apple misses. As far as nuking spammers, I'd say let's take them all to a different plant (with no one else there) and let them fight among each other ... might be interesting to see who survives ... ;-) Have a terrific day, Mac'ers and thanks for the info AND entertainment :-)
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