How to Stop Spam
It is estimated that 70% of emails sent over the Internet are unsolicited commercial e-mail. When you consider that over 35 BILLION emails are sent every day, the impact of spam is staggering. Here's what YOU can do to stop spam today...
Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...
Spam ranges from relatively benign product pitches to blatant pornography and identity theft schemes, and mailboxes that are unprotected can quickly be overrun by spam, possibly causing the mailbox owner to miss important messages. CAN-SPAM, the US government's attempt at stopping spam, has been a miserable failure.
Email users are getting more spam than ever, both at work and at home. Rather than complying with the law, spammers are increasingly using zombie networks (computers hijacked with spyware) to send spam on their behalf. So how do you fight back?
Spam Filtering Options
Although the volume of spam has grown by more than 65% since 2002, a number of companies have stepped up to the plate with solutions. One of the best end-user solutions is Cloudmark Desktop, a subscription service that costs about $40 per year. Cloudmark analyzes feedback from all of its users to determine what most people consider to be spam, and moves those messages to a separate folder for quick review later. When a spam message does make it into a user’s inbox, a single click on a toolbar removes the message and adds that message’s profile to the Cloudmark database. With this dynamic system, Cloudmark is able to react quickly to new forms of spam, and claims 98% spam removal immediately after installation. Unfortunately, Cloudmark only works with Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express.
Popular and free web-based email services such as Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and Google's Gmail all do similar collaborative spam analysis and attempt to automatically funnel unwanted messages into junkmail folders. Users can also create their own filters to block messages based on sender, subject or content. My personal experience with Gmail has been quite good -- several hundred messages per day are blocked, with very few false positives.
Impact of Spam on Business
For corporate networks, spam can become a financial burden. Considering the amount of time employees spend weeding through e-mail, as well as the amount of load placed on mail servers and the company’s bandwidth, the corporate cost of spam quickly climbs into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, depending on the size of the company. A good solution for these networks is the Barracuda Networks line of anti-spam firewalls. Barracuda products sit behind the company’s Internet firewall, scanning each incoming message before passing it on to the mail server. Using multiple methods of analysis, the Barracuda products block over 80% of spam messages right out of the box. Within two weeks, following the configuration recommendations in the Barracuda documentation, that number can approach 95%, saving even companies with only one hundred mailboxes thousands of dollars per year. Since the Barracuda products do not have a per-seat licensing scheme, the return on investment for the products is very quick – usually less than three months, even for companies with only one hundred mail users.
Think about it... spammers do what they do because it's a lucrative business, not because they like to annoy people. So it stands to reason that people who buy stuff from spammers should bear a large portion of blame for the continuation and growth of spam. If nobody bought products advertised by spammers, the spam problem would go away within weeks. People who abuse the Internet and inconvenience millions of users by mass mailing their pitches should receive your scorn, not your hard-earned cash. If they flout the rules of the online world, they're most likely crooks in the physical world.
Protect Your Inbox
Of course, the best way for an individual user to reduce spam is to keep his or her main e-mail address private. Entering an e-mail address into any kind of public Internet forum or website exposes that address to discovery by spambots that harvest e-mail addresses from websites. One strategy is to get a free e-mail account from a webmail provider (such as Hotmail) and use that e-mail address for all website forms and public correspondence.
Though spam is a constant problem, it can be effectively controlled with the right tools and smart address management. In summary,
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 20 Jan 2006
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- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- How to Stop Spam (Posted: 20 Jan 2006)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved