The average email user is bombarded with over 2,000 spam messages per year, according to a consensus of spam fighters. It's become more than just an annoyance, since spam emails can also be malicious. Here's the latest info on the damage that spam can do, and how to protect your inbox...
How Can I Block Spam?
Your daily deluge of spam includes overt unsolicited sales pitches; sneaky phishing scams that impersonate familiar businesses; fake "You'll like this" messages that seem to be from friends, which lure you to click on dangerous attachments; and all the other forms that spam can take. To view recent statistics on the sources and percentages of spam types, visit Avira Antivirus' Tech Blog's Phishing, Spam, and Malware Statistics pages.
Worse, business email addresses are targeted by spammers and phishers with extra emphasis. They want to dupe employees into giving them the passwords to corporate networks where large amounts of valuable data and resources reside. Enterprise IT managers need the best spam filter program possible.
Email is not the only vector by which spam is delivered. Cell phone text messaging based upon the SMS protocol is another popular channel for spam. An SMS spam filter is an essential cellphone accessory. I've only gotten a few spams via texting, but as smartphone usage increases, the amount of spam on your mobile phone will very likely increase.
Anti-spam solutions come in versions for home/individual users and large networks of computers. The home versions of antispam filtering software are frequently free, as long as your usage is non-commercial in nature. Charges for commercial users of an antispam solution can run from $20 a year to several thousand dollars, depending on the strength of the solution and the number of email accounts protected. My related article Free Anti-Spam Tools has links to some helpful tools and techniques that you can use to reduce spam in your email inbox.
Fighting Spam at the Server Level
Server spam protection is software that runs on an email server to block spam as the single point where it enters an enterprise network. It uses a set of spam filter rules to judge whether each piece of incoming mail should be delivered to a mailbox or quarantined in a "junk mail" folder on the server. Suspected spam is saved for a period of time in case it was mislabeled; a user can check the junk mail folder and retrieve any message that he or she actually wants.
Filtering out spam consumes quite a bit of server resources, slowing down email delivery and the entire enterprise network to some degree. It also requires staff with expertise in spam filtering. So some corporations outsource spam work to third-party email spam filter services.
A hosted spam filter is often included with Web hosting or managed hosting services. The same firm that hosts and manages your Web site(s) and email server(s) also takes care of antispam solutions.
A subspecies of hosted spam filters is the spam filter ISP. This type of firm does nothing but handle incoming email for many client organizations. Its antispam software is usually the best available; its staff has nothing to do but kill spam; and its specialization tends to make it very good at antispam solutions. Firms in this business include Barracuda Networks, Mailshell ASP, Orange Business Services Managed Anti-Spam, Verizon Managed Security, TrustLayer from Panda, Norman Online Protection (NOP), and IBM Express managed e-mail security.
Personally, I've found that the one of the best anti-spam solutions is to use a web-based email service like GMail, Yahoo Mail or AOL webmail. They tend to have effective spam filtering built-in, and the popularity of these tools makes it possible for them to use the 'wisdom of the crowd' to quickly zap spams as they come in.
What spam filtering tools do you find most effective? Post a comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 7 Jul 2010
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Anti-Spam Solutions (Posted: 7 Jul 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved