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Steps To Reducing Spam In Your Inbox

(category: Spam, Word count: 530)
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Steps to Reducing SPAM in Your Inbox

Spam first made its mark in the world in 1978 when Gary Thuerk, Marketing Director of Digital Equipment Technology sent an email solicitation to 400 employees at Arpnet. The email created a few sales, but it also created fierce backlash. Today, more than 180 billion spam messages are sent out each day to over 1 billion Internet users. This staggering statistic makes it clear why spam is such a major problem for Internet users. Many companies are working hard to solve the spam problem, but the first step to stopping spam starts with the consumer.

By following the steps below, Internet users can reduce the number of spam email messages they receive in their inbox.

Before an Invasion of Spam

Software:

Choose email providers that offer built-in spam protection services. Look for service providers that promote a high success rate of blocking spam email.

Spam Filters:

Spam is a cat and mouse game. Spammers are constantly looking for ways to bypass filters. Regularly check your spam filter software if you're using non-web based email to make sure it is up to date. If you're using web-based email,m make sure your webmail provider is working hard to protect you from spam.

Improve Security:

A firewall may be one of the most important applications on a computer. It acts as a barrier between hackers and the computer, and prevents access to unauthorized information.

Limit Email Dispersal:

When performing online transactions, thoroughly scan the page for any checked and unchecked boxes. Some companies will word these boxes in a way to increase the likelihood of a consumer opting-in to their email campaigns.

Shop From Known Vendors:

Shopping from known vendors can greatly reduce the threat of spam email. Many companies are guilty of selling email addresses to third parties, which are then used for spam. The company's privacy policy is supposed to list their intended uses of your personal information, such as whether they will sell your email address to third parties. Consumers can check the Better Business Bureau's and the FTC's (Federal Trade Commission) websites for lists of reputable companies and for lists of violators.

Once Spam Becomes a Problem

Internet users should avoid opening spam. It should be immediately deleted. Pay close attention to the senders email address as most spammers use deceptive subject lines intended to promote opening. If opened, avoid attachments, which may contain viruses, and do not purchase goods or donate to charities solicited in the message. Many spam email messages will have unsubscribe links at the bottom of the message, as dictated by the CAN-SPAM Act.

If consumers find themselves with an inbox full of spam, they can also report the spam emails to their Internet Service Provider.

There are numerous companies and organizations designed to regulate the Internet and protect users. But, it is important that Internet users are informed of the threats of spam. By following the stated suggestions and by not falling victim to the ploys of spammers, users can help put spammers out of business, and keep their inbox free of junk email.

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A Quick Look At Email Spam Filters

(category: Spam, Word count: 351)
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You must be eagerly finding for a way out to stop receiving Spam mails in your inbox. Take a quick look at email spam filters to get some idea on how to check spam. There are a number of email spam filters that you can use in your computer. For official purposes, you have anti server software spam where the spam filter is located in the server level to trap all email spam. They prevent them from reaching your inbox. The email spasm not only slows down the performance of the server, but also occupies a lot of storage space. Emails are the easiest and the best way for these viruses to spread.

Working of Spam Filters

Anti spam software and anti spam solutions are essential to aid you in getting a clean inbox. The server spam filter or anti spam server is a software application that scans all the incoming email messages. With the help of their configuration, they identify Spam and prevent them from reaching your inbox. The spam mails not only eats away the storage space and make selecting your personal emails difficult, they also can contain viruses. Using anti spam filters is necessary as it saves both your time and money. But even when you are using anti spam filters, it is recommended to check the messages just to make sure that no personal message has been marked as spam. Even the server spam filters marks email as "false positive" to those that are identified as spam, but in reality they are valid messages. There are various anti spam programs that identifies Spam and sends it to the junk mail folder.

Not all spam filters work in the same way. Some of them are pre programmed where the know spammers are inserted. They accordingly block them. Some of the programs filter the emails based on the keywords used in the mails. Some of the email spam filters are configured and you can easily customize it or the network administrator can also customize it according to the requirement of the company.

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The Threat Of Spam And Basic Preventative Measures

(category: Spam, Word count: 693)
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Everyone who uses the internet has more than likely been targets of spam at one time or another. At first they are easy to dismiss for internet experienced persons, however for the inexperienced user of the internet, the messages contained can sometimes be intimidating and in some instances lead to trouble (I will come onto a personal example later).

Spam can take several forms; email and search engine spam are just two, but the one we will concentrate on in this article, and also the one you will, and have most likely encountered, is via email.

Spam is defined as unsolicited bulk mail, much of which is caught in your "bulk" or "trash" folder found in your email service provider control panel. You have probably often seen a mass of these types of emails in you bulk folders when checking for email that you actually have consented to receive, as many emails are caught by spam filters even though they should not. The majority of spam you may receive will be of a sexual or gambling nature, however over the past few months I have noticed an ever-increasing number of scam emails asking for sensitive information, claiming to be someone they are not.

Paypal and eBay scams are a prime example of these types of emails known as "phishing scam emails". The email will be along the lines of:

"We have noticed an irregularity in your account details and require you to update them immediately. Failure to do so will result in the permanent closure of your account"

You can see how these emails can be pretty alarming to an inexperienced internet user who may only occasionally use the internet to sell or buy items on eBay for example. Some of the emails will look very convincing, and will use the images and symbols of the respective company, however be very cautious and take heed to the following important point:

If you are unsure of the legitimacy of the email, do not follow any link contained within the email to an external website. Instead, type the website address that you know is correct into your browser directly, so that you are safe in the knowledge that you are not using a fraudulent website.

Failure to do this may result in your account being hijacked by the scammer; it's as easy as this. You follow the link in the email to a website claiming to be, and also looking very much like one where you have an account. The website will ask you to input your username and password to access your account and voila, you will have now sent this information to the scammer, allowing them access to your account containing sensitive information about you.

Another type of email scam that has been very popular is where you are notified to be the very lucky winner of a lottery, even though you have never entered the lottery in the location claiming your success! This is where the example of a personal experience comes in. Many people reading this will be thinking "I'll never fall for one of these scams", however the unfortunate reality is that many people will do so. An elderly relative of mine received one of these lottery scams from Spain, and then insisted on following up with the email scam, even though they had never even entered the lottery draw. The only stumbling block was that the bank account details required, needed to be sent by fax, which she couldn't do, and despite the frustration that this caused I of course refused to help send it.

There are measures that you can take to help avoid being targeted by spammers; a few have been mentioned here. However, in addition never reply to a scam email as it will notify them that the email address is live and also that you have read the email, leading to further spam.

Of course there are many other threats from spam that are not discussed here, such as viruses and trojans being sent via email attachments. More details on spam can be found here: www.spam-blocker-online.com.

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Spam Filter Bayesian Filter To Fight Back Spammers

(category: Spam, Word count: 556)
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The most prolific and path breaking innovation of last century had been the developments in the communication field. It literally changed the business working, product marketing, support services and most importantly, the advertisement campaigns.

But just like all goods things comes with a price, so was the communication. It brought in the problems of Spam Emails. Automated mailers with mass mailing capabilities, growing marketing dependencies on this tool have seen the large losses in terms of time and money.

There have been many ways of targeting spam mails like blacklisted domains, banned IPs, words in subject and many more. The spammers have always found out a way to change their identity. But here is the catch. The spammers are being paid to send the message. They can change their Domains, IPs, subject lines, but how much they can play with the contents? And that's where content based filtering comes into focus. Now we can understand that by targeting and focusing on message body, there is a better chance of filtering spam emails.

Apart from the usual spam emails, the new menace has been created by the "phishing emails" targeting primarily eBay and PayPal accounts. These emails come as a "Last Warning", "Attention Required", "Password Change Required" or "Your account is suspended" among many more. These mails appear to have come from eBay or PayPal and provide a link to their own page.

These pages are designed just like the original pages and the unsuspecting user ends up providing his/her sensitive information like username/password or Credit Card Information to these duplicate pages. Here I would like to add one piece of advice to all users that you should always see where the link is taking you by seeing the tool tip and then if sure, follow the link.

The role of content in marking the mail spam or not spam has been achieved using the Bayesian filter. Together with the Black List of spammers and White list of trusted emails ids, is the best technique to counter the spam. The most interesting fact is that Spam Filter with Bayesian algorithm is a self learning filter. The more you use, the more secure you shall be within a matter of few days.

The spam filter integrate easily with popular emails clients such MS outlook and Outlook Express. With due course, up to 98% of the spam mails can be stopped from entering your Inbox. The Spam Filter for Outlook Express and Spam Filter for Microsoft Outlook, with the features of White List/Black List and properly used Bayesian Algorithm will help prevent spam mails, phishing mails and fraud mails from bothering you further.

There has been a considerable increase in the spam mails containing Non English Characters also. The Bayesian Algorithm based Spam Filter also must have the capability to parse non English characters and mark as spam mail.

To get rid of continuous spam mails, phishing mails, fraud mails and Non-English mails, you might like to try Official Spam Filter for Outlook Express 1.2 and Official Spam Filter for Microsoft Outlook 1.2. Official Spam Filter has the capability to seamlessly integrate with MS Outlook and Outlook Express and provide following features:

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Real Businesses Send Spam Too

(category: Spam, Word count: 893)
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Unsolicited Commercial Email or Spam has grown at epidemic proportions. It is rapidly becoming the number one problem that Information Technology departments deal with on a day-to-day basis, surpassing computer viruses. The volume and percentage of unwanted email received in business and personal email inboxes is starting to overwhelm and drown out legitimate email.

Although the vast majority of this bulk email is being perpetrated by individual spammers and a few large bulk mailers pushing pornography, gambling, get rich schemes, 'medicinal cures' and bootleg software, real businesses have been caught in the web also by committing several errors. The three ways a legitimate business falls into the Spam mode are: 1. Legal non-Compliance, 2. Violating Trust, and 3. Lack of Value.

Legal non-Compliance

Through the end of 2003 it was very difficult to comply with Spam laws as twenty six states had passed their own laws dealing either directly with the process of sending unsolicited commercial email or the format requirements of bulk email.

With the passage of the Federal law - "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003? or better known as the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, it has become a lot easier to understand and apply the rules. Real businesses should have no problem complying with all aspects of the law and those that don't will find themselves in legal jeopardy for significant penalties.

The process components of the law won't be an issue for real businesses, they don't fake the reply address, they don't hijack someone else's mail server nor do they contain falsified routing information. Where they are likely to fail are in three specific areas.

1)Neglecting to include a valid physical address in the body of the email.

2)Not having a functional Internet-based opt-out mechanism, which must be active for a minimum of 30 days after the email has been sent.

3)Failing to include clear and conspicuous identification that the message is an advertisement or solicitation. Most State laws approached this similar provision by requiring the use of the letters ADV: in the beginning of the subject line. The Federal doesn't specify how this is to be accomplished; thereby, leaving it open to a wide range of interpretation.

There are several additional areas that are process related that may trip up the sender unintentionally.

1)The sender rents or purchasing a defective email list, for example one that has individuals that have already opted-out of email communications.

2)They use a 'tricky' subject line to entice recipients to open the message. Subject lines that stretch the truth could be identified as misleading the purpose of the email and therefore be a violation.

3)Agents or related 3rd parties that have business relationship with the firm send out Spam. This could put the company in jeopardy if it can be proven that they were aware of the related company's activities.

Although the Federal law isn't perfect one significant advantage it does offer to real businesses is that there is now only one place they need to go to check the rules before a company embarks onto an email marketing program.

Violating Trust

Trust is one of the major stumbling blocks keeping the publics' enthusiasm for the Internet in check. And when it comes to providing their email address that is in the eye of the storm. The overwhelming concern people have about providing a company their email address is that it will be shared, loaned, rented, sold or carelessly unprotected. Sharing lists internally between product lines, departments, or divisions and externally with 'business partners' stretches the permission basis originally given by the subscriber. When opt-in lists developed at one website are resold to list brokers, real businesses that rent these lists automatically become spammers because recipients are typically applying this litmus test to commercial email they receive: "Email marketing is for product/service information I've specifically requested, Spam is sent without asking for it".

Businesses embarking down the eMarketing path often have in-house databases that include email addresses of suspects, prospects, and clients. The conversion of these lists, developed on a relationship basis, to a formal subscriber list treads a fine line and should be considered very carefully before assuming that permission has been granted.

Lack of Value

Every time you send email to your list members, you will be judged, and in some cases, it may appear to have been done unfairly. In today's environment subscribers are now becoming annoyed at a variety of shortcomings, such as messages about products they seldom buy, messages that serve the sender more than the recipient, unsubscribe processes that don't work, 'hard sell' messages or even messages in formats that can't be properly displayed in the recipient's mail program.

The plain simple truth is that even in a permission email environment, recipients are now applying their own tests for Spam whether they opted in or not. These are natural human reactions to the mailings they receive - it can be as straightforward as "Email marketing is email I like, Spam is email I don't like."

Real businesses need to insure that they aren't jeopardizing their brand name by meeting or exceeding the best practices for email marketing. Auditing the list, evaluating your content and insuring proper conformance with the documentation process in the permission mailing process are the key components to a successful campaign.

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Get Rid Of Spam

(category: Spam, Word count: 575)
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Every day, both dmoestic and corporate users of the internet receive considerable amounts of spam e-mail. They are not only annoying, but sometimes you can miss an important e-mail or newsletter simply because you lose it among the great number of e-mails that flood out your Inbox. Often you'll find that important people neglect to read your e-mail, because busy people like them hardly have the time and patience to browse through the huge quantities of spam mail they receive.

One solution to this problem is a filter or a free spam blocker. Many companies have designed filters for their customers. Many e-mail servers, especially the renowned ones that have a reputation to protect, have their own free spam blocker. There are several types of programs that can help you stop spam, including:

- the ones that are offered when you create a new e-mail address. Every company that provides e-mail service has a spam filter, including those that offer free accounts like Hotmail, Yahoo!, Gmail and so forth.

- there are also standalone programs that go through your mail folders regularly and do their best to separate valid e-mail from spam and unwanted mail. The main disadvantage with these free spam blockers is the fact that, when they do their checks, they use quite a large percentage of your computer's resources and sometimes also of your bandwidth. Before installing this kind of free spam blocker, you'll need to decide if this is okay with you.

- other types of free spam blockers are the ones that work as plug-ins to other programs like e-mail clients. The disadvantage with this kind of approach is that you need to download all your mail anyway, before the plug-in can do its stuff.

When you decide to use a filter, you must be sure that you update it or install new versions regularly, because marketing researchers working for spammres are continuously developing new ways of 'fooling' the filters. Filter makers must keep up by improving their software accordingly.

A free spam blocker works by looking for trigger words or phrases inside the text of the e-mails, and categorizing e-mails on that basis. Nowadays, there are special programs being created that are designed to pass spam through free spam blockers by re-arranging words or using a different language style in the e-mails. This is an unfair marketing strategy, of course, but if you want to be protected against it, you must always have an up-to-date version of your free spam blocker program.

Specialists recommend that you should review your needs and see what kind of filter suits you best. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. You must make up your mind whether you want to use the default filter on the e-mail server, or if you want to download all your mail before scanning them, or if you are willing to share your bandwidth with a standalone application. The best way is of course, if you can blend all the programs in one, but that's not always practicable. Still, it is advisable that you should not remain satisfied with the free spam blocker that your e-mail server provides, because you will probably continue to receive unwanted mail in spite of it. Using a plugin in addition to server-side filters is viewed by many experts as the most effective way of getting rid of spam, considering the trivial effort it takes to set up.

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How To Know If It Is A Link Farm Spam Page

(category: Spam, Word count: 1269)
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A link farm is a network of sites that link to other sites for the sole purpose of increasing link popularity. This is when a website gets hundreds of links to unrelated sites in exchange for reciprocal links. This is termed as spamming and any website who relates to link farms is penalized by removal from a search engine's index.

Backgrounder on Link Farms

Link farms were originally developed by search engine optimizers to take advantage of the Inktomi search engine's dependence on link popularity. It was targeted for manipulation with the use of link farms because of the fact that it was used by a number of independent but popular search engines. The most popular search engines during that time - Yahoo! also used Inktomi results as a supplement to its own directory search feature. Link farms facilitated the stabilization of listings for online business websites having few natural links from more stable sites.

Link popularity is used by most search engines to come up with a ranking order for search results. However, at the time link farms came to be, the Inktomi engine was maintaining two indexes. The primary index produced search results that are limited to about 100,000,000 listings thus pages with few inbound links fell out of the index on a regular basis. While the handling of link farm exchange was informal at the start, several service companies were eventually founded to handle automated registration, categorization and link page updates to member websites.

The coming of the Google search engine paved the way for the use of a link weighting scheme called PageRank. The PageRank algorithm assigns more weight to links that it determines as more valuable than others. Link farming was used to help member pages to increase their PageRank. This soon became the subject of manipulation by unscrupulous webmasters who continue to receive inbound linkage but found ways to hide outbound links if not totally avoid posting any link at all to their sites. There came a need for link farm managers to implement quality controls and require member compliance to rules that were installed to ensure fairness.

As a result, alternative link farm products emerged such as the link-finding software that identifies potential reciprocal link partners. This made possible the sending of template-based e-mails that offered link exchanges. Directory-like link pages were created for those websites intent on building link popularity as well as PageRank. The link farm movement was actively countered by search engines as they sought to identify specific attributes associated with link farms thus filtering those pages from indexing and search results. There were instances where entire domains had to be removed to prevent the potential influences of link farms on search results.

Link farm-influenced crawling diminished as search engines increased their capacity to index more sites. It became unnecessary for link farms to help sites retain their positions in primary indexes. However, it remained a popular tool to increase PageRank or perceived equivalent values. The Inktomi technology has since become a part of Yahoo! while the term "Link Farm" is now widely considered as derogatory.

There is still an ongoing debate as to the value of using PageRank in determining search results ranking. Reputable search engines are one in recommending that webmasters request for relevant links to their sites instead of participating in link farms. Sites that participate in link farms run the risk of having their search rankings penalized.

Link Farm Spam Page or Not?

Link farms usually refer to sites with an almost boundless list of links to other websites rather than links from page to page within a site. Relevancy to a site is not a major consideration in determining the links as the major purpose of linking is to get a high ranking among search engines. The provisions of good information to users cease to be the goal of these websites as they concentrate on attaining search popularity through the sheer number of links.

When is a specific website said to be participating in a link farm? The current indication seems to be pointing at having not more than 100 links on a page as a safe measure. There are apprehensions of whether having numerous internal links will be interpreted as a link farm.

A link farm is composed of a group of web pages that hyperlink to every other web page in the group. It can be manually created but is most often created through automated programs and services. It is sometimes called spamdexing as it is a form of spamming the index of a search engine. A term that is often associated with it is the "spaghetti code" which is a code with a complex and tangled control structure that uses unstructured branching constructs.

The algorithmic principle that puts emphasis on the voting power of "authority sites" lies behind the manipulated processes of link farms. There is that assumption that related pages link to each other and authoritative pages tend to link to other authoritative pages. Conversely, being linked to spam sites or sites that use Black-Hat SEO degrades the reputation of any site. Association with poorly reputed sites affects a site's search engine positioning as it stands to be categorized as an irrelevant site.

As spammers continue to go around the valid purpose of linking, the value of reciprocal linking continue to decrease. Too many irrelevant links provide no value and can be seen as spam by human experts and search engines. A link directory with no clear, organized and distinct categories of links can be interpreted as a link farm especially if there are already more than 50 links on a page.

TrustRank is used to counter the various techniques employed to achieve higher rankings than actually deserved in a search engine's result. It uses a technique that manually identifies reputable seed pages and uses their link structure to discover other pages that are likely to be good as well. It aims to cut down on spam and deliver the real content that is desired by the searcher.

There are a number of ways to ensure that a website's link directory does not end up being categorized as another form of a link farm. Incorporating a link directory into a website has its own advantages but caution should be taken so as not to have too many outbound links on a page that dilutes its value. If a website's links are very much varied and tend to be unrelated, they will need to be categorized to become relevant to each other.

The use of clear, concise titles and descriptions for categories will help searchers (humans and search engines' spiders alike) understand what a particular category is all about so that the measure of relevancy can out rightly be determined. It is not a requirement to agree to all link exchange requests especially if the requesting site cannot be considered a good representation of a site's theme and values. It is highly recommended that regular follow-up on approved link exchanges is done to determine the status of the links and determine whether continued linkage with them is still acceptable. It is possible that although some links present themselves initially as good links have been banned, gone under, or moved. These are situations beyond anyone's control so it is best for a website to work hard on keeping its links and contents relevant so as to bring continuous qualified traffic to itself. Link farms may be considered obsolete in a sense but it continuous to pop-up in different forms at present.

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New Irs Scam Hits Email Mailboxes

(category: Spam, Word count: 364)
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There is a new wave of email "phishing" that is showing up in email mailboxes this spring, unscrupulous scammers are now targeting the American public with email claiming to be from the IRS.

The ingenious fraudsters' aim is to collect your Social Security number, credit card account information and banking account information. The emails, which look authentic complete with the IRS logo and privacy policy, lure people into providing this information by notifying them of an audit or offering them access to a link to collect their refund. Additionally, the web site that appears bears a striking resemblance to the official IRS web site (even the font type matches) and when people click home, it actually takes them to www.IRS.gov (the real IRS web site).

However, there are some flaws to these thief's attempts to secure people's private and personal information. This is what the public should know: In one of the scam emails in the browser or address bar at the top of the page it reads: http://tzk.kozle.pl and the information that is requested, Social Security number, credit card number, banking information (where the refund goes).

The public needs to know that the IRS generally does not communicate with them via email.

"We do not communicate with taxpayers via email. We may send you a letter, we may call you, but we do not send out email," stated IRS spokeswoman Nancy Mathis.

In recent weeks up to one hundred complaints a day are reported regarding email scams and the IRS has found twelve web sites operated in eighteen different countries committing this type of fraud or other types of IRS related fraud.

If you get an email from the IRS and if you doubt its authenticity, it is best to call the IRS and verify that they did, in fact send the correspondence. Call the IRS at 1-(800) 829-1040 ask confirm if they are trying to contact you. To report a fraudulent or suspicious email claiming to be from the IRS, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1 (800) 366-4484. Furthermore, report any cases of identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.

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Strategies To Fight Email Spam

(category: Spam, Word count: 588)
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If you are a business owner and you rely on email, spam is going to be a major concern. How you address it can make a big difference in employee efficiency. Email spam has been a nuisance and has gotten even worse over the last several years. Email spam slows down server performance and can eat away at storage. Cleaning all those bad messages out of your inbox is time consuming. The easiest way for viruses to spread is via email.

Having a strategy to deal with email spam and viruses threats is essential for any business to survive and be productive. You can limit the negative impact to your business by having policies and guidelines in place.

Tips to avoid getting email spam:

If you have a company web site, use a contact form that the web site visitor

can fill out. Some spam mers use robots that crawl web pages looking for

email addresses. Your web site designer should be able to help you with this.

When signing up for forums, products and services use a free email or throwaway

account like hotmail or Yahoo mail.

When signing up for offers be careful what boxes you check although technically

not spam you may get a lot of email offers you do not want.

Never reply to an email spam message, this just lets them know that your

account is active.

You may want to use a throwaway email address if you post on newsgroups

or forums.

These measures may help to reduce spam, but if you have an old email address you may want to change your email address or deploy a spam filter system. There are several choices for anti spam systems you could buy software that runs locally on your PC to filter the spam, but this can be expensive, does not prevent virus infection, and is not a good choice in a networked environment. Managing individual machine spam software is inefficient.

If you have limited technical resources you can outsource you email spam filtering to a hosted anti spam and virus solution provider. Spam filter service providers colocate their spam and virus filters in data centers with redundant power and network connections. You will need to change your mail exchanger on your dns servers to point to the service providers spam filters. Your service provider will then scrub your email for spam and viruses. They then forward your email to your mail server minus the spam and viruses. This gives you a few extra layers of protection. In the event of a network outage or server downtime your email is held and is delivered when the network or your server is available minus the virus and spam. Spam filter services also scan for viruses; this adds another layer of defense to the virus software already running on your network.

If you have an organization with more than one hundred email boxes investing in your own spam filter appliance is the most cost effective solution if you have the technical expertise to manage the system. A spam appliance sits in front of your email server and blocks spam and viruses. The price of the spam appliance will depend upon your number of users, amount of mail and storage requirements.

Fighting spam is no longer be a losing battle if you have a good strategy to deal with the threat.

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