5 Ways You Can Stop Spam - The Spam Protection Checklist

1. Let your ISP know, unless you own the ISP, in which case know that spammers can sometimes crack into your open SMTP mail relays. This disguises the source of the email and it appears to come from the ISP itself. And of course, spam can waste a good deal of bandwidth.

2. Try "_nospam" email addresses. This doesn't always work, since your real address remains in the header anyway. Also, if someone really needs to reply to you and doesn't know they have to remove the "_nospam" prefix, they can't reach you.

3. Use AutoResponders with Care. This is a real judgment issue, because many businesses find AutoResponders very helpful. Unfortunately, they will also respond to your spam mail, so you have to balance convenience with security.

4. Maintain "junk" email addresses. Set up free accounts on Hotmail or Yahoo. One account you can use when you visit discussion boards, another account you can use when signing up for newsletters, another for your personal use with friends, etc.. If the newsletter account starts getting a lot of spam, then at least its all being collected in one place, and not mixed with your professional email. The spam collected there can be used for analysis to determine the sender and his methods.

5. Use mail-filtering software like Mail Washer to "blacklist" and bounce spam. Bouncing the spam suggests to the sender that your email address is no longer valid. The blacklist allows you to block emails coming from specific domain names and IP numbers.

Filtering software can also be used to examine emails for words typically used in hate mail, pornography, or marketing scams. The only problem is that if you get too specific, you may filter some legitimate mail as well.

Spam continues to outpace anti-spam tools because it can be an effective and inexpensive advertising tool. Even the spam letters from Nigeria have made money for their senders. If you can contact a million people in one week, someone is bound to fall for your scheme.

Unfortunately, professional and legitimate email lists can be used for spamming purposes, because anyone can purchase them.Mail servers at ISPs can be cracked, along with servers on intranets, extranets and Web sites that list employees' names and addresses.

"The Final Frontier"

According to the Kiplinger Letter (10/31/03), the next frontier for spammers is the Instant Messaging services. However, there are several companies like Zone Labs that are currently working on applications for blacklisting and bouncing IM spam as well.

And finally: We all know not to reply to the spam message, but sometimes it happens, especially if the spam is cleverly designed so that it appears to come from a legitimate source, like, say, your bank. Before you reply to serious finance-related emails, check the email's "Properties" to trace where it really came from.

By: Roy Troxel

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