Free Anti-Spam Tools
It seems like I get more spam than ever, and I'm not sure why. What free anti-spam tools can you recommend to help me keep spam to a minimum?
Tools and Techniques to Fight Spam
Spam, or unsolicited email, used to be just a pain to deal with. But as the popularity of the Internet grows spam has become more of a threat than a bother. Today, spam is used by cyber criminals to transmit spyware, trojans, worms and viruses to new hosts. Fortunately, there are many ways you can combat both the annoying and the malicious varieties of spam using both free anti-spam tools and anti-spam techniques.
Free Anti-Spam Tools
The bad news is that spam accounts for as much as 90 percent of all emails. The good news is that there are some excellent free anti-spam tools to assist you in keeping your inbox safe and uncluttered. Here are a handful of anti-spam tools you can use:
POPFile is one of the most popular free anti-spam filters around. It classifies your emails based on the characteristics that you select. It works well with Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, and can be configured to work with web-based email as well. POPFile works as a proxy between your email program and your ISP's mail server. POPFile scans incoming messages to decide if they are good or bad, and then either tags the subject line or adds a header line which your email program can use to filter messages into appropriate folders.
SpamBayes is a free, open-source anti-spam tool that can be used with Outlook, Outlook Express, Vista's Live Mail, Thunderbird, and most popular webmail services. SpamBayes uses a statistical approach to classify incoming messages, and requires that you train it to understand what you personally consider good or junk emails. This approach for well for some users who receive email that might be erroneously zapped by a rules-based system.
EXpurgate is another anti-spam filter that you can use for free. This program works as both an anti-spam and an anti-virus tool. In order to use this filtering tool you will need two email accounts. You forward your emails from your old spam-infested email address to eXpurgate, it will filter the emails and then forward them to a new email account that you create. The trick is to make sure that you shiny new email address never falls into the hands of spammers.
You can do the same type of thing with Gmail. Create a free account on this web-based email service, then forward your old email address to Gmail. The awesome spam filter on Gmail will filter out the bad stuff into a Spam folder, and leave the good stuff in your inbox. Alternatively, you can use Gmail as an intermediate just for spam filtering, by creating a rule that will forward all your (spam-free) email to a new address.
Another free anti-spam filter that you can check out is the Spamihilator . This is a versatile anti-spam filter that can work with both POP and IMAP accounts. However, there are a few drawbacks offered by this filter. First it doesn't allow you to access or manage your account remotely through a web-based account portal. Secondly, it filters your emails before they get to you so you don't have the option of reclassifying emails after they've been filtered by the program.
Free Anti-Spam Techniques
Fighting spam still requires a little effort on your part, to prevent the flow of unwanted emails in your direction. You should implement a few simple anti-spam techniques that will prevent you from compounding your spam problem. Here are some "best practices" that won't cost you a penny, but will help to reduce your spam problem:
- Be vigilant to protect against viruses and spyware. If your computer becomes infected, your address as well as all your email contacts can be compromised. See Should I Buy Anti-Spyware or Anti-Virus Software? for my anti-malware recommendations.
- Keep your email address private. If you post in online forums or message boards, don't include your email address. Any time your email address is displayed in text form on ANY web page, it's an open invitation for spambots to harvest your address.
- Never click on the "REMOVE" link in a spam. Instead of removing your email address from the spammer's emailing list it actually verifies that your email account is active and that it is a prime target for more spam.
- Don't even open spam emails, if you can help it. This can make your system vulnerable to malware infiltration, and can also alert the spammers that your address is valid and that you DO open spam messages.
- If you have opened a spam to see what it was don't click on any links within that spam and don't download any attachments. Clicking the links can lead you to scams or viruses hosted on a server, and downloading attachments can infect your system with worms, trojans, viruses and spyware.
- And of course, never buy anything from a spammer. If have this naive theory that if nobody purchased the products and services offered by spammers, they just might stop wasting their time and money on this form of advertising.
There are many different ways in which you can protect your inbox from spam. Free anti-spam tools can help after the fact, but using the proactive techniques above, along with an anti-spam filter will keep most of the annoying and harmful junk mail out of your inbox. What free anti-spam tools and techniques have you found most effective? Post your comments below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 18 Feb 2009
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
Magic Jack - Good or Evil?
The Top Twenty
Which DVR Should I Get?
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free Anti-Spam Tools (Posted: 18 Feb 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved