…Opening her email she was devastated to discover that He had only responded to one of her appeals, the rest were spam…
by Dwight Cook
Spam is more than canned meat! It fills our email boxes with trash daily. What is junk to you may be legitimate advertising to the sender. You can reduce the amount of the stuff in your email box. Here’s how:
Stay off the Radar
Don’t give your email address out to just anybody. Make sure the site is reputable and they have a privacy statement. You will probably find more integrity with a national site like Coke.com than a tiny upstart. You should also read the privacy statement, some actually admit that they will sell or share your email address.
Use an Alias
You might also set up an alias email address strictly for web use. You can have the alias forward to your main email account. If the spam gets too heavy just change your alias address. With an alias the spammers don’t have your real email address.
When you have your email address on your web site it WILL be captured by the spammers. Consider concealing your email addresses on your web site behind a form so it can’t be captured.
Unsubscribe with Care
Think twice about unsubscribing from an email list. Many spammers may use your unsubscribe email to confirm that you are getting their email. When you unsubscribe you may be confirming your email address.
If you don’t know the sender, do not allow a read receipt to be returned if requested. This also may confirm your email address to a spammer. Simply answer no to the request.
Play it Safe
Don't go Phishing
When you respond to an email be very careful. Is the email really from the person who appears to have sent it? Millions of phishing emails are sent out every day. If you receive an email that looks like it is from your bank, ebay.com or Paypal – lookout, it may be fraud. Never click on the links in these emails. It may not only confirm your email address to the sender but trick you into giving out your personal information. If you get one of these emails, open up your web browser and type the address of the site (for example www.paypal.com) yourself. DO NOT click on the link in the email. Then you can confirm any questions about your account raised by the email. If the email is fraudulent then see if you can report the sender. Most banks and companies have a security link on their site for reporting fraud. You can also visit the Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov/bcp/menu-internet.htm for more information and can report the fraudulent email to them as well. For Ebay, it’s Spoof@ebay.com.
Use Anti-virus and Anti-Spyware Tools
Always run an antivirus program and an anti-spyware program. I like AVG Anti-Malware from www.grisoft.com. It’s both an anti-virus and anti-spyware.program in one. You can run two separate programs or one program that protects you against both kinds of infections. Remember there are new infections on the Internet hourly. Most people think they will never get a virus. The odds are against you. This is your first line of defense.
Open Attachements with Care
You should also be very careful with attachments. If you don’t know the sender don’t open an attached file in an email. Even if you know the sender be very careful opening a file – it may launch an infection that will ruin your week. There are two myths that are circulating; 1) Apples and Unix computers can’t get a virus and 2) Opening an image file is always safe. Both of these myths are false!
Use a spamfilter to reduce the number of spam that hits your email box daily. Many email products like Microsoft Outlook have a junk mail filter. You can also purchase an anti-spam program.
Your Web Host Should Help
Your web site host will usually host your email too. Make sure you select a host that has an active spam filter in place. You can run one locally as well if you want. At Christwebs we filter each email using several criteria. Feel free to use the list of filters we have in place to compare against what your host offers:
- Images - We scan inside images embedded in emails for spam content and viruses.
- SFDB Filter - Spam filter's from around the world are networked together to create a huge database of spammer's IP addresses. Our spam filter uses this database, updated in real-time, to block spam.
- MAPS Servers - We check the IP address from the e-mail sender. If it is listed in one of its many blacklist servers that track spam in the Internet the connection is refused.
- SURBL Servers - We scan inbound e-mail for web page links. Every link found is then tested against known spammer web sites.
If it is a positive match, the e-mail is rejected.
- Attachment Blocking - We check emails for specific attachments or attachment extensions that could pose a potential infection. If found, the email is rejected. Even so you should still use programs to protect your machine locally.
- Keyword Content Filtering - We check email content and subject for specific keyword and/or phrases. If found, the email is rejected.
- Bayesian statistical DNA fingerprinting - SPAM Filter features statistical DNA fingerprinting of incoming emails. This filter is self-learning, continuously analyzing your incoming traffic to improve its accuracy with time.
- SPF - Sender Policy Framework - SPF fights email address forgery and makes it easier to identify spam, worms, and viruses.
I hope this helps you to understand the world of Spam a little bit better and most of all I hope it allows you more time to do what you do best!
Please use the form below to contact me with any questions you might have.