You may have noticed an increase of spam messages in 2017. Fans of computer geek blogs all seem to believe the Spam servers have been working over-time to infect our computers.
To combat the ever increasing spam, Industrial NetMedia has upgraded their SpamAssassin installation to drastically reduce the frequency of spam. Our spam filter blocks thousands of spam messages per day, but while no spam filter is perfect, we do continually make an effort to improve it.
Junk Mail Folder
You can have a direct impact on what you receive or let through. You can actually train the mail server to recognize what you think is spam or a friendly message (ham). To tell the server that a message is spam, simply move it to the "Junk Mail" folder before you delete it. This sends a message to the server telling it that the message was spam. The server will remember this and help recognize similar spam messages in the future.
To white list a friend's email account, log into webmail and right-click on any message from this person and select "Add sender to spam whitelist" from the pop-up menu. This will add the senders email address to your own personal white list.
Spam is Annoying
Spam emails aren't just annoying time wasters that clutter up our inbox and junk mail folders, and violate the security of our computer, but in Canada, sending unsolicited emails is also illegal. Often filled with dubious offers for "virtually genuine" Rolex watches, easy degrees from sketchy universities and, of course, Nigerian princes with unfortunate banking problems, spam can also host serious risks to your hard drive and even your bank account if not handled properly.
When confronted with these nefarious emails, most of us delete them in resignation, or perhaps send them to the trashcan accompanied by a creative selection of four-letter expletives. However, instead of employing this time-tested response, which does nothing to discourage the spammers, here are some other suggestions which may actually help reduce spam in your own inbox, and hopefully, also in the entire Internet community.
De-FENCE! De-FENCE! De-FENCE!
One effective method of defending against unwanted emails is to make sure your email address is not sprinkled around the Internet. Avoid including your "addy" in articles you may write, social media messages you might post or in any of the innumerable ways it may end up in a public place. This is because spammers use "spider-bots" to crawl the World Wide Web looking for innocent email addresses just like yours to corrupt to their fiendish means.
But I must!
If you absolutely have to list your addy online, it's still a good idea to display it in such a manner the bots won't recognize it as an email address. To do this, you simply remove the @ sign from the addy and replace it with (at). For example, NigerianPrince@ripoff.com would be written as NigerianPrince(at)ripoff.com. Only the humans seeing this will know to replace the (at) with the @.
Get an Extra Email Account
When you are signing up for an online contest that requires your email address, or any other situation where an email is demanded but you don't want to provide it, this trick works great. Simply create a drone email account which you can use just for such occasions. Any spam that occurs as a result of the contest will thus be diverted away from your main email account to the spam catcher account. It's a good idea to review the drone account to empty all the junk on a regular basis just to ensure it remains active with the provider.
Just say no to HTML
Some spam may be more than bothersome text asking you to do something stupid like send money away but may actually carry viruses, ransomware or other malware. To avoid this, ensure your email provider lets you disable HTML on incoming emails. This is where the malware will be written and removing the HTML will prevent it from being taken up by your computer through the preview pane. If unclear how to do this, a net search for directions specific to your browser and email provider may be helpful.
Tell the world
Why just delete spam just to solve your own problem temporarily, when you can strike a blow against spamming for all honest users, instead? Move the message to the Junk Mail Folder. If you are a little more tech-savvy, use a spam reporting service such as SpamCop (www.spamcop.net) and you can quickly, easily and at no cost to you, send critical information about the source of your spam with just a fast copy and paste. The company will determine the origin of the unwanted email and report it to the relevant Internet service providers. If you're not confidant about your computer prowess, here's an illustrated step-by-step wiki on how to use SpamCop. http://www.wikihow.com/Fight-Spam
"Unsubscribing" is not all it's cracked up to be.
If you get newsletter or advertising spam from a repeating source, unsubscribing may not be the answer to ridding your inbox of it. Some devious spam uses an "unsubscribe" button to discover if your account is active. By clicking the button, you're actually telling the bad guys you are worth spamming. Sending it to the junk pile and advising SpamCop will provide a much better, more spam-free outcome.
Don't open that attachment. At best, you have only told the spammer you are a live sucker and you can expect more of the same in the future. At worst, you have installed spyware or remote access software on your computer and the spammer now has complete access to your computer to use in its drone army to send more spam to the world. Even worse, they can encrypt your hard drive and hold it for ransom. This could cost you thousands of dollars to get your photos and documents back plus clean the unwanted program from your computer.
Don't load images by default. Choose the option to not show the images unless they are from a trusted sender. Outlook has good settings for this. Make sure they are turned on.
Reply to Sender
Just don't do it. Never, under any circumstances, reply to a spam email.
See above... Just don't click them. They will get you in trouble. I hope you like spam because this will get you a ton more.
The end of spam as we know it?
Following these suggestions will likely reduce your spam problem but it's not likely it will ever disappear totally. For every hole plugged, spam providers seem to find new ways to trick us and our filters. Always being careful with unfamiliar senders is essential to a safer inbox. It's also good to remember the wise words of all our collective Dads about life that also fits spam to a tee, "If it seems like it's too good to be true, it probably is."