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Apple Tackles iCloud Calendar Spam With Report Button

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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The button will alert Apple to spam trying to sneak passed its email filters via the calendar service

Apple is tackling issue of calendar spam in its sights by introducing a button for users to tap to report junk appointments that have snuck into the iCloud and iOS calendar service.

Spam appointments originally cropped up after a bug in its calendar app which had Apple devices automatically filtered users’ email inboxes for calendar notification, something that spiked with the Black Friday sales.

The feature was originally designed to make life easier for people to manage event they are emailed about. However, an influx of spam from email addresses with Chinese names resulted in a rise of spam calendar appointments reminding them of sales of various items.

Calendar calamity

apple-calendarThe particular problem with spam notifications is that when user removes them from their calendar, the sender gets a notification. This indicated that an account is active and thereby ripe for further spam campaigns.

By approaching users through the calendar app, spammers can by past the junk filter on the native email app provided by Apple across its devices and its browser client. With the addition of push notifications, spam appointment notifications can rapidly become an irritating problem for Apple calendar users.

The “report junk” button will be a means to get rid of such spam appointments, and will likely also furnish Apple with a list of IP addresses and companies to blacklist as with updates to its software portfolio.

The button will initially be rolled out to the iCloud.com service, with the calendar app on iOS and macOS sent to receive the feature at a later date.

Given how spam has been around for years in both virtual and physical guises, one could be forgiven to thinking it is a less prevalent problem compared to say malware and distributed denial of service attacks. But spam continues to rise, clogging inboxes and eating away at the email clearing efficiency of office workers.

And when big botnets combine, this problem can become a true nuisance as they have the capacity to send billions of spam messages as well as more covertly malicious code.

Quiz: How well do you know Apple?