Beginners Guides: Stopping Spam e-Mails
Vikings in Monty Python's skit sang "spam, spam, spam...... spam!" little did
the world know that spam would one day threaten the very usefulness of the Internet & E-mail. Well young grasshopper, we've got a
few points on how to get rid of that 'damn spam.' - Version
Besides being the best
illustration to date of Monty Python's deathless grasp on
popular culture,junk email, unsolicited commercial email, or good old 'spam', is an
issue that affects every email user, and by extension, every computer user. The
use of email as a mass-marketing tool has become an epidemic particular to the
current global use of computers in our society.
According to one recent
opinion, over 45% of all email sent over the Internet is unwanted and uninvited.
This is a conservative estimate, we would say. While an average email account
may start out pristine and useful, it quickly accumulates layers of spam like
the age rings of a tree, until the whole thing collapses under its own weight.
Private addresses are bad enough, but lord help you if you function with a
public email address like we do. So what to do about it? Many processes have
been set in motion to declare spam illegal, but as yet no law exists to really
regulate it. Even the recently enacted "Can Spam Act" in the United States
offers only legal distinctions between what is, and isn't, a legal commercial
The best way of dealing with spam currently is through avoidance and redirection.
If you use email, sooner or later you will start receiving spam; but if you can redirect
this spam to a location where you don't have to look at it, it won't do
you any harm. It's sort of like the 'if a tree falls in the forest...' question.
If spam lands in an inbox, and no one is there to read it, does it really exist?
Answer is, who cares?
Before PCstats tells you how to get rid of that
unwanted commercial email, how to avoid in the first place, or even how to block
what we now call 'spam,' we should tell you that 'SPAM' refers to the
meat-in-a-can food product from Hormel Foods. The lower case word 'spam' refers
the annoying advertisements and junk email you find filling your mail box... If
you can believe it, Hormel Foods actually took the time to lay out the ground rules so its lively tinned food
product is not confused with Unsolicited Commercial Email, or 'UCE' as
it is officially titled.
Let's look at what spam is and how to filter
it out of your life like the hairball in your sink.
How does spam work?
At its simplest, spam is the
mass mailing of a single email to thousands, millions or billions of recipients.
The spam perpetrator ('spammer') obtains a list of valid email addresses from
one of several sources (more on this later), then fires out as many emails as he
or she wants, hoping to get one or two percent of profitable responses.
Commercial spam is like telemarketing on steroids. Instead of one call at a
time, you can send thousands of emails in a very short period, with really no
expense besides the bandwidth necessary to mail out all that email, or just the
cost of the Internet connection itself.
The second most common source
of spam are the many email propagating viruses, or 'worms' on the Internet. Once
a computer is infected with one of these programs, it will email a copy of the
virus accompanied by a sometimes deceptive, often inane message, to every email
address known by the system. If these emails are opened, the worm will reproduce
itself exponentially, creating more junk email, etc. etc.
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