What is Spam
Spam is a term which refers to unsolicited commercial email, it can also be referred to as junk mail. The problem is very widespread and has got much news coverage in the past few years. Spammers are typically selling a product or service, I'm sure your all familiar with messages like 'get rich quick', bank scams, health products, porn sites, fake id/degrees, spy products, virus warnings etc, the list could go on and on. Spammers operate because it is so cost effienent for them, unlike conventional mail, it doesn't matter if only 1 in a few thousand respond, it's still enough for them to make a profit. It's unbelievable how sad some people are to have to sink to these levels, they simply don't care about you or the time you'll waste having to delete it. They also don't care about sending offensive messages, what's even worse is some spammers try to trick you by not making it appear as if it is not an advert, tricks like this in the subject line '[your username] : Important Info' or 'Account Cancelled'. They do this because most people don't want spam and therefore don't open the messages. Spammers don't like your choice and don't respect your time so they'll do anything to trick you into believing that it's an important email. Billions of spam is sent each day costing people millions, slowing down the Internet (because each message sent normally travels through numerous systems before reaching its destination) and wasting people time, and also very annoying.
So how do I avoid it then
- If your using an free email account like Hotmail, Yahoo!, AOL, or some other that is equally popular, it's very hard to avoid it. The reason something like Hotmail is a problem is because millions of people use it, so it's not exactly hard for a spammer to find a valid address. Something like john79, I'm sure is a valid username at Hotmail. Because Hotmail is just so popular at the moment, it is even worth spammers time to simply go through every combination of usernames, like aaa,aab,aac,aad, and go on forever, hence making it almost impossible to avoid 'getting caught'. The best chance to avoid junk if you simply have to use a popular free email account is to choose a long username.
- Don't view the message, WebBugs (invisible graphics) can be used to track who opens the mail. Therefore even viewing the message itself can give an indication to the spammer that you've read it. This will no doubt show that not only is your account active but you have an interest in what they are selling. If your using a Internet account like Hotmail don't click on the message to view it, if your using Outlook try turning off the preview panel.
- Another tip is to never reply to any Junk mail (in most cases the email origin address is fake anyway). They don't care what you have to say, they have automated program which will simply show the spammer that this account is 'active' and you'll no doubt get even more Junk than you originally got. Don't click link within the email itself, this includes a 'unsubscribe' link or similar.
- Obviously never buy the product or Service they are selling. You are only surporting them by doing so, goes without saying really...
- Don't supply your email address to sites your not sure about. Be careful then you use Newsgroups - There are programs which can scan through newsgroups looking for emails when it finds them it stores in the database.
- Do use methods to 'hide' your email from Spambots when you write a contact email address on your site. Spambots are programs which actually extract email addresses from web pages, they typically look for the "mailto:" string within the html code, although they do vary in 'intelligence'. Like Spiders (robots) they follow all links within your site, be careful what sites you submit your page to. Don't leave your email address on message boards, Guest Books etc.
Spam : Further Info on Adoko
Spam : Links
http://spam.abuse.net/ - An excellent site for reporting spam.
http://www.cauce.org/ - Highly popular site and famous site.
http://www.euro.cauce.org/ - European version of the above site.
http://www.samspade.org/ - Offers many tools to investigate spam and to help trace spammers.
http://www.stopspam.org/ - Very useful site, with interesting info about reading the headers to try and trace the spam.
http://www.spamcon.org/ - Another good anti-spam site.
Remove Windows Messager - Windows Messager allows spam pop-up windows to appear on your system. Here are instructions on how to remove messenger.