In 2004 spam accounted for more
than 45% of all e-mail sent, with the daily average number of
spam sent to approximately 15 billion people at once. The
Collation Against Unsolicited Email recently reported that one
leading ISP processes about 30 million email messages a day,
30% of which are Spam.
A recent MessageLabs, Ltd, report shows that approximately 65
percent of the email they reviewed for businesses in 2005 were
Why is it called spam?
Take your pick of
During World War
II Spam (the canned variety) was
a food staple for soldiers.
The name is an acronym formed from 'SPiced haM'
Pork and haM'.
spam was derived from a Monty Python comedy show which
depicted a restaurant serving Spam (the canned ham
variety) as a side dish to every item on the menu. This
indicated that you would be receiving something whether
you wanted it or not. Hence the term spam applying to
unwanted internet junk e-mails.
How do spammers get your e-mail
Typically spammers use software programs that scan web pages
and newsgroups for any word or piece of text that contains an
'@' symbol. This is commonly referred to as harvesting. The
software collects these addresses and stores them in databases
on the spammer's computer, which the spammer then loads into a
bulk-mailing program used to send out the spam messages.
nearly impossible to stop junk email or to avoid receiving spam email
completely. However, here are a few easy ways to
minimize the amount that arrives in your email inbox.
Do not respond
Never reply to or buy anything offered in a spam message.
You don't want the spammer to know that you have received
their message. This will only encourage them to continue
sending spam, and it will also keep your e-mail address as
'current and deliverable' on their mailing list.
Do not click any unsubscribe links in a spam message.
Most of these links are false or will again confirm to the
spammer that a live person owns that e-mail address.
Not only does this encourage spammers, but hackers and online
dangerous viruses, spyware, trojan horses, etc., that could
infiltrate your computer if you click on one of these poisoned links.
Open an extra e-mail account
Use a free e-mail account for junk (signing up for
newsletters, free offers, downloads). Some sites that provide
this type of service are Hotmail.com, Yahoo.com and GMail.com.
There are hundreds of others so be sure to compare their
features and select the one that best suits your needs.
amount of spam starts to get out of hand, you can
start a new free account and cancel the over-spammed one. Only
give your personal e-mail address, the one supplied by your
ISP, to friends and relatives.
Add some blanks
Another method is to insert blank spaces before and after the
'@' symbol in your e-mail address. Place a small note under it
instructing visitors to copy and paste the address into a new
message and remove the blank spaces before sending their
message to you.
This won't allow the e-mail address to be
clicked like a normal e-mail link, but the
principle is easy enough for anyone to follow (this is
commonly called a munged address).
Set up real mailboxes
If you have your own web site and domain name never use a
catch-all e-mail config- uration. A catch-all setup will
effectively catch-all e-mails that are sent to that domain,
even if they are not addressed correctly, for example firstname.lastname@example.org,
and will forward all e-mail to a nominated e-mail address,
usually your ISP account.
Spammers will simply make up different e-mail addresses at
your domain and see if they are deliverable. If so, they will
add these addresses to their mailing lists (many of which are
sold to other spammers).
Be careful with spam filters
If you or your ISP uses a spam filter make sure you add all
wanted e-mail addresses to your white list (a list of
acceptable senders). The spam filter will then allow e-mails
from these addresses to reach your inbox. IMediaConnection.com
states that approximately 38% of all wanted e-mail is
currently getting blocked by spam filters.
Use extra caution
Your bank or financial institution will never ask for your
Internet banking password or credit card details in an e-mail
message. Neither will they ask you to update these details
through a link to a web page. Messages like these will always
be spam and should be reported to your bank. Never reply or
click any links in these types of messages.
Anti SPAM Software
Spam blockers and
spam filters are standard features of most of the Internet
Service Providers (ISP's). Their filters are designed to
divert or delete a variety of email messages based on Subject
Lines and content. AOL, as one example, gives you the
opportunity to review the diverted messages before deleting or
Software Spam blockers are available from most of the well
known companies that provide security programs, ie, McAfee,
Norton, and many more. The level of security
can be set by the user and White lists of acceptable
correspondents, (those people who you know and trust) are
If your emails aren't being delivered to your friends, etc, it
could be that some of the subject lines and content in them
are being questioned by ISP's filters, or even your friend's
spam filters and spam blockers. You can easily test the emails
your plan to send for SPAM sensitive terms before sending. Try
... Richard Rossbauer