Kill More SpamIn an Afternoon


When you have a few hours to spare, here are a few more tactics to stop even more spam.

Install an Anti-spam Program

Lots of anti-spam programs are available. All the big name software security companies, including Symantec and McAfee, have their own. Choose one and install it; it will drastically reduce the flow of spam to your inbox.

I have had great success with Cloudmark Desktop (see Chapter 4, "Identity Thieves and Phishers: Protect Your Good Name and Bank Account," for more on Cloudmark Desktop). It's a plug-in for Outlook (see Figure 5.10) and Outlook Express that looks at each email as it comes in and electronically compares it to a database of spam email at Cloudmark. If a match is found, the email is marked as spam and is dumped into a spam folder or it can be automatically deleted; it's your choice.

Figure 5.10. Cloudmark Desktop is a spam filter for Outlook and Outlook Express. It shows up as a toolbar near the top of the Outlook window.

Tip

The image-blocking function in Outlook 2003 and Outlook Express has a nice side benefit. When pornrelated spam arrives with graphic images of naked people doing surprisingly agile things, the images won't automatically display, saving you some shock and perhaps a little embarrassment if your grandma is nearby.


The flaw in most anti-spam programs is that no matter how clever it is, it will almost always misidentify some legitimate email as spam or let some spam through.

Cloudmark Desktop catches about 80%90% of spam because humans look at each message. But fear not, there's no team of spam spotters on the Cloudmark staff looking at all your email. The program relies on its users. When email comes in, you can mark it as spam using the program. This reports the message back as spam to the company's servers. If enough of us report the spam, a spam signature is generated and everyone that gets that spam in future has it filtered automatically by the software.

Tip

If you use a web-based email service such as the ones offered by Hotmail.com or Yahoo.com, it's worth investigating their built-in anti-spam features to set spam filtering sensitivity.


The community approach results in no false positives, which is lingo for a misidentification of a legitimate email as spam.

So if I get an email from my aunt who talks about the cocks crowing on her farm and the nice tits singing in the trees outside her window, the Cloudmark software is not going to treat her email as spam, while others might because of misread keywords in her message.

Cloudmark Desktop costs $39.95 per year, but it does have a free 30-day trial. It's available from www.cloudmark.com.

If you don't want to use Cloudmark Desktop, you might consider using Norton AntiSpam or McAfee SpamKiller.

For the Mac, check out SpamSieve from http://c-command.com/spamsieve/.

A series of free anti-spam programs for Windows PCs are available for download at www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/comm/fwspam.html.

Fight Back!

If you are angry enough to fight back against spammers, here's how. Forward a message with your spam complaint to the ISP that hosts the spammer's email account. For example, if you received spam from bobby1234@llamasarenice.com, go to the website www.llamasarenice.com and look for a Contact Us page. Often ISPs have an email account called Abuse for such purposes. In this example, you'd send a copy of the spam to abuse@llamasarenice.com. You could also try postmaster @llamasarenice.com or hostmaster@llamasarenice.com. Try to verify what the correct address is first so you don't waste anyone 's time.

Tip

I've found that turning on Microsoft Outlook's built-in Junk Filter and installing Cloudmark Desktop helps blocks 99% of the spam that arrives in my inbox.


The big problem with this solution is that ISPs are deluged by spam and to investigate every source of spam is not possible. Still, the option is available to you and it will at least make you feel better.

You can also use SpamCop.net (see Figure 5.11), a spam reporting service. It analyzes an email's content and header information (where it came from and how it got there). Then if it is deemed to be spam, it sends a warning to the ISP that provides the spammer with Internet service. ISPs tend to not like spammers on their network, so they often revoke service from them if they receive valid complaints. SpamCop.net has free and paid versions of its service.

Figure 5.11. SpamCop.net analyzes your spam and reports it to the ISP that connects the spammer to the Internet.

The Absolute Minimum

  • Spam is unsolicited commercial email or electronic junk mail.

  • Spammers send massive volumes of email because they make money at it. Someone, somewhere, buys the products they advertise.

  • A spammer's computer can be blocked but it's easy for him to evade this by changing his computer's IP address, the numerical address used to identify his computer on the Internet.

  • Spam is free to send but costs recipients time, productivity, money, and aggravation.

  • Never respond to spam.

  • Never post your main email address to the Web. Instead, use an alternate email for web forums, subscriptions, and the like.

  • Use the junk mail filters in Outlook and Outlook Express.

  • Install an anti-spam program. I recommend Cloudmark Desktop.

  • Fight back by reporting spam to the spammer's ISP.





Absolute Beginners Guide To. Security, Spam, Spyware & Viruses
Absolute Beginners Guide to Security, Spam, Spyware & Viruses
ISBN: 0789734591
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 168

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