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 MegaFAQ : Technical Information

  We are getting a lot of spam (junk mail). How can we stop it?
Answer:
While we do have software on our mail servers that filter a tremendous amount of spam, the BEST way to limit the amount of spam you get is to keep your email address out of the hands of spammers.

Community Internet does run a filtering software, but we can only run at a high level because what you and I might consider spam, other subscribers may want - so the bottom line is we can't filter all of the junk mailings.

Here are some tips that might help:

- Don't participate in public forums with your primary address. Spammers use software designed to suck email addresses out of chat rooms, mailing lists and newsgroups. This is so prevalent on AOL that you can get spammed within MINUTES of entering a chat room.

- Only give out your e-mail address to trusted people or companies. Sites that offer freebies in return for your email address may be funnels for spammers. This includes greeting cards, travel comparisons, coupons, sample products.

- Don't post your email address (in plain text). Spammers expect to lose their e-mail accounts, most of which are free and anonymous. So they just get another and move on.

Some people prefer to install spam filters in their e-mail program. These work to varying degrees. We like the idea that you can control by keywords what mail comes in. One of the best products we have tested is SpamKiller - It runs about $30 and you can download it from the Internet: www.spamkiller.com

What not to do:

DON'T reply to a spammer. If you send REMOVE requests this tells the spammers two things:
(1) your e-mail address is valid; and
(2) you read the e-mail you receive. Thus, you are a perfect target for more spam.

DON'T register at sites where you can list yourself as a "no spam" address. Supposedly spammers run their bulk mailings through these databases and remove the addresses that have requested no spam. You can't be sure these sites are legit and we recommend that you NOT use them. Some of these sites are merely collection points run by spammers to obtain valid e-mail addresses. It's quite likely that registering at these sites is the cyber-equivalent of hanging a "Kick me" sign on your own back, and will actually increase your spam level.

DON'T buy anything from a spammer. No matter how tempting the offer, resist the urge to patronize any business that contacts you with unsolicited bulk email.

Since the beginning of the Iraq war the amount of spam has dramatically increased with the spammers using increasingly sophisticated systems. Most of the spam is coming from overseas where our laws do not apply. Most every ISP and Internet user is struggling with this issue.

In the last six weeks one of the newer techniques used by spammers is to use something called Web bugs, little 1x1 transparent GIF images embedded in the HTML of spam emails. This code is buried in the email that sends back an echo email to the spammers telling them that they have a good address and that you read junk mail (spam). This echo is sent the minute the email is opened.

Some popular email programs, such as Outlook and Outlook Express have a "preview pane" that automatically opens new messages. By shutting down the preview pane you can go through your list of new mail and delete the spam email before it is opened. Then, to open the email you want to read, just double-click on it. Supposedly, when spammers do not get an echo email back they are less likely to use that address in the future or sell it to another spammer.
To shut off the preview pane, in your Outlook Express click on View then Layout then un-check "preview pane". Shutting down the "preview pane" will not cause an immediate decrease in spam but over time is reportedly effective in reducing spam.


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Added
11/14/2003

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Category
Technical Information

Updated
12/1/2003


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