A number of months in the past, my G Suite-enabled Gmail account reached a grim milestone: with no warning, the “block [email address]” characteristic—accessible from the menu with the three vertical dots within the higher left of the Gmail display screen—stopped working as a result of I had maxed out the whole variety of addresses Google permits to be blocked.
For years, I’ve used the characteristic liberally to dam emails from PR individuals who ship off-topic pitches or scammers who attempt to phish my passwords or infect my gadgets. With a single click on, any future emails despatched by these nuisance addresses mechanically landed in my spam folder.
Blocked however not blocked
At some level, the block deal with characteristic stopped working. When I exploit the characteristic now to dam an deal with, I see a message telling me that every one future emails from the deal with will go to my spam folder. Which is precisely what I need. But that’s not what occurs. Emails from these addresses proceed to go proper into my inbox.
Google gives no straightforward method to find out about this. Here’s what I see instantly after I attempt to block an deal with:
And but, I proceed to obtain emails from the identical deal with. And once I open the e-mail, positive sufficient, it’s clear the deal with is NOT blocked.
I requested Google PR about this and acquired a response that Gmail accounts are restricted to simply 1,000 blocked addresses. A spokesperson mentioned Google is contemplating elevating the restrict, but when it does, it is going to “take some time” for it to occur.
This is a MAJOR step again. I get a lot spam (largely from PR individuals who both don’t know or don’t care what my beat is) that the block characteristic has been essential to my productiveness. Gmail was the primary to pioneer an e-mail service with information storage caps measured within the gigabytes. Early on, it offered highly effective instruments for sorting and looking out messages. It built-in the calendar. And but, regardless of all this ingenuity, Gmail limits blocked addresses to a paltry 1,000? What the hell?
Since then, I’ve used Gmail filter guidelines to free my inbox of junk, however that’s hardly passable. Creating filter guidelines on an address-by-address foundation requires significantly extra clicks than utilizing the block characteristic. And even then, Gmail filters haven’t any method to ship messages to spam. I’m additionally guessing Gmail could restrict the variety of filter guidelines as properly.
An imperfect workaround
Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy, appearing solely on his personal behalf and never for his employer, has provided one workaround. It’s not very user-friendly, and I’m nonetheless undecided if it absolutely works for me, however it appears promising. The concept is to repeat all 1,000 e-mail addresses I’ve blocked and paste them right into a filter rule that deletes all messages from these senders.
Hmm, that is one of the best I can provide you with (F12 on the Blocked List, then paste this into the Console) Array.from(doc.querySelectorAll(“tr.r7[role=listitem]”)).map(a => a.innerText.match(/<(.*)>tunblock/)?.).filter(a => a).be part of(‘ OR ‘) pic.twitter.com/DelonoKMC1
— Tavis Ormandy (@taviso) November 19, 2021
What this implies is that he created a script and ran it inside his browser console as he was viewing his blocklist within the Gmail settings menu. To discover the blocklist, click on the three vertical dots in the principle Gmail window, select “manage inbox settings,” and choose the “filters and blocked addresses” tab. Then, hit the F12 key on a pc keyboard, select the console tab, and paste the script.
Ormandy’s script appears to be like like this:
Array.from(doc.querySelectorAll(“tr.r7[role=listitem]”)).map(a => a.innerText.match(/<(.*)>tunblock/)?.).filter(a => a).be part of(‘ OR ‘)
The console then returns a listing of all the e-mail addresses within the blocklist, with each separated by a boolean OR. Then copy the checklist, return to the Gmail “filters and blocked addresses” tab, and click on “create new filter.” Paste the addresses into the “From” area, click on “continue,” tick the “Delete it” field, and click on the “create filter” on the backside.
In idea, this single rule ought to block all emails despatched from these addresses, and that ought to permit me to delete the 1,000 blocked addresses so I can as soon as once more add recent addresses to the blocklist. In follow, Gmail tends to choke when fed all 1,000 addresses without delay.
When I broke up the checklist into smaller chunks, I acquired inconsistent outcomes. Some emails have been deleted and others weren’t. I wasn’t capable of finding a sample for people who labored or didn’t work. Besides choking on giant lists of addresses, one other downside is that in my exams, new filters can take so long as an hour to start working, however I don’t assume that’s the one motive for the issue.
The greater level is that Gmail customers shouldn’t have to leap by hoops like these to maintain their inboxes freed from spam and malicious emails. There’s no restrict to the badness the Internet can dish out, so there should not be a restrict on treatments for this badness, both. Gmail, please throw me a life raft quickly. Without the block functionality, I’m drowning.