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Beginners Guides: Stopping Spam e-Mails

Beginners Guides: Stopping Spam e-Mails - PCSTATS
Abstract: According to one recent opinion, over 45% of all email sent over the Internet is unwanted and uninvited.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Nov 27 2006   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Techniques to Avoiding Spam

As mentioned earlier, emails triggered by viruses are also a leading source of spam. The most insidious of these may be received directly from people you normally correspond with over email, but the majority are from seemingly random addresses or disguised ones, an example being the recent 'Microsoft patch' worm known as 'W32.Dumaru @ mm' which you may have received in the hundreds over the past few months. This worm disguises itself as being from 'security @ Microsoft.com'

Mass-mailing worms such as w32.Dumaru scan files in your computer as part of the process of infection, and can pull email addresses from many other sources besides your Outlook Express address book. In fact, most recent worms can extract email addresses from stored .html files in your Internet Explorer history folder, meaning any email address on any web page you have visited recently is going to get spammed by you if you unwittingly infect your computer.

Techniques to Avoiding Spam

Let's look at some methods you can use to stem the flow of garbage into your inbox. Several of these are pure common sense, but by applying all of the methods together, you can armour yourself quite effectively against spam. Unfortunately, there is still not really a reliable method for stopping the spam from reaching you altogether without losing the occasional important message, so the below methods focus on filtering spam out to 'junk' folders and addresses so you do not have to pick through it to get at your regular mail, blocking out repeat senders of unwelcome email, and using common sense to avoid common 'spam traps' in the first place.

Junk addresses

One of the best ways of avoiding spam is to not avoid it at all, but to actually welcome it, with open arms into an email address that you have no intention of checking. Make a Hotmail account, or the equivalent (you know, boxospam @ somesite.com) and use this address when you are registering or filling out forms for companies you have no interest in ever receiving email from. Empty the thing out once a month if you like, but otherwise you can happily let the junk mail accumulate in a tidy pile away from your view.

Opt-out of opt-ins

As we stated before, it is highly unlikely that any of the pre-checked offers from whoever you just signed up with are going to offer you anything besides more spam to clutter up your inbox. The sensible thing to do is to uncheck anything you are not sure you want to receive. This will help cut down on your spam quotient.

Note that while many spam emails will offer a link to allow you to remove yourself from their mailing list, this is often not a sensible thing to do. While 'legitimate' commercial email purveyors may respect your wishes on this front, replying to the addresses provided may simply serve to confirm your email address as working and invite more spam. Better to use one of the below methods to block it out completely.


Using Outlook Express message rules to filter spam

Outlook Express contains a simple set of message handling rules that you can put into effect to sort your incoming mail. Depending on the subject, the sender, the contents of the email or its attachments, you can choose to stream email to a separate folder or even delete it automatically.

In effect, OE will examine your incoming mail and decide how to handle it based on the rules you specify. Message rules are useful for filtering out repeating spam like the fake Microsoft patch email, or spam that covers a certain subject (you might wish to block out the V-word for example, or possibly 'add inches...').

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Stopping Spam e-Mails
 Pg 2.  What Makes Spam Tick?
 Pg 3.  — Techniques to Avoiding Spam
 Pg 4.  How to institute message rules
 Pg 5.  Filtering with Message Rules
 Pg 6.  Spam Blocking/Filtering Software
 Pg 7.  Working with POPfile

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