According to studies, half of the e-mails that we received around the world are spam or “junk” e-mail. Although most e-mail messaging websites have a way to identify nuisance or “spam” mails, the prevalence of spam emails have increased so much that most internet users have begun to express a general lack of confidence in the effectiveness of e-mail as a communication platform. A lot are even more concerned with the spread of computer viruses that usually comes together with these unsolicited messages.
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The United States even has a “Can Spam” bill that was signed in 2003 by President Bush. The bill was instantly approved by the Senate and prohibits unsolicited e-mail from using false return addresses, to disguise one’s identity and the use of dictionaries to generate such mailers. It also prohibits that use of misleading subject lines that requires emails to include and opt-out mechanism. Violators are subject to up to a year time in jail.
One major point that needs to be discussed about this: spam is now coming from other countries in ever-greater numbers. These emails are harder to fight, because they come from outside our country’s laws and regulations. Because the Internet opens borders and thinks globally, these laws are fine and good, but do not stop the problem.
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So how can you fight against spam and screen them out just like how you screen out the best home phone and internet deals? Here are tips that you can follow.
Do what you can to avoid having your email address out on the net.
There are products called “spam spiders” that search the Internet for email addresses to send email to. If you are interested, do a search on “spam spider” and you will be amazed at what you get back. Interestingly, there is a site, WebPoison.org, which is an open source project geared to fight Internet “spambots” and “spam spiders”, by giving them bogus HTML web pages, which contain bogus email addresses
A couple suggestions for you: a) use form emails, which can hide addresses or also b) use addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org instead of your full address to help battle the problem. c) There are also programs that encode your email, like jsGuard, which encodes your email address on web pages so that while spam spiders find it difficult or impossible to read your email address.
Get spam blocking software.
There are many programs out there for this. (go to www.cloudmark.com or www.mailwasher.net for example). You may also buy a professional version. Whatever you do, get the software. It will save you time. The software is not foolproof, but they really do help. You usually have to do some manual set up to block certain types of email.
Attachments from people you don’t know are BAD for you.
A common problem with spam is that they have attachments and attachments can have viruses. Corporations often have filters that don’t let such things pass to you. Personal email is far more “open country” for spamers. General rule of thumb: if you do not know who is sending you something, DO NOT OPEN THE ATTACHMENT. Secondly, look for services that offer filtering. Firewall vendors offer this type of service as well.
It is all up to you to fight against Spam and other negative things that comes from the internet. Being aware and cautious helps in increasing internet safety at home and at work.