Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to Avoid Spam in your inbox?

Spams are unsolicited emails that are of no use to you, that are found in your inbox. After knowing what a spam is, the next step is to know how to avoid spam. Avoiding spam saves a lot of resources in your network. It also saves a lot of money for the organization. If you compare the costs of spam and the cost of an anti-spam solution, you would come to know that anti-spam solutions save you a lot of money. Now let us know how to avoid spam in your inbox to save a lot of space. 

How to avoid spam in your inbox? 

Most of the web mail providers like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, and Rediffmail and a host of other web mail providers give you anti-spam filters. All you have to do is to activate the anti-spam filters in your account. If you spam filter is ON, all the spam are delivered usually to a Bulk folder or to a Junk folder. The name of the folder is not a concern, you should note that the spam are delivered to a separate folder other than you Inbox. You can modify the settings so that the spam mails are deleted automatically after 1 or 2 weeks or after a month. Different steps are provided by each service provider to avoid spam in your inbox. 
If you are using Outlook Express or any other email client to retrieve your emails, then you have many antispam solutions that help you to identify the spam and deliver it to a special folder. 
Another way to avoid spam in your Inbox is to avoid posting your email address to any newsgroup, or to avoid putting your email address on the WebPages of your website. Do not give your email addresses unnecessarily to all the websites you browse. They collect your email addresses and sell them to other companies who send you spam mails that take most of the space in your Inbox. 

When you try to avoid spam using these filters there is every chance that some genuine emails from your friends get trapped in the Bulk or Junk folders. Hence it is always better to check you bulk folder for some genuine emails once in a while. If you find any genuine email in your Junk folder you can just mark it a Not Spam or Not Junk and that email address will be added to a Safe list so that further emails from that email address will be delivered to your Inbox instead of the Junk folder. Emails from the addresses that are in your Address book or Contacts Page are delivered to the Inbox only. So it is also better to update your Contacts page regularly to include all the email addresses of your friends and colleagues. 
How e-mail addresses are harvested? 

You might be wondering how those companies and organizations that send out spam find your email address. Most of the companies that send you emails are those that would have got the email id from your self. You could have given them the email address when you are in the process of registration for a service in their website. These companies sometimes sell your email address to a third part for a hefty sum. The company that buys your email addresses usually uses it to market a product. Mostly they use these email addresses and target only the intended audience. For example, while registering with a site, you might have given out your likes and dislikes, the subject of interest to you, etc. They use this information to target you when there is a product that is available which might interest you. You could have registered in a forum or newsgroups to join a community of your interest. They might also send you emails regularly. If you leave checking these emails for a few days you might end up with a few hundreds of junk emails. Anti-spam software’s help you to sort them to a different folder or to delete them. Email IDs are harvested from these newsgroups and forums. 

Mailing lists are another option, where the companies request the mail servers to divulge with the list of emails they have. Sometimes the emails sent are tracked by using some code wherein if the email is read or delivered, the email address to which the mail is delivered is sent to the sender. This way they collect a list of valid email addresses and use them in the future. 

Harvesting the web pages is another way. Software spiders are created that will crawl the Internet and look for the mailto: tags or the @ letter in the HTML codes of the web pages and if found they collect the email address in that tag. Email addresses are also harvested using the HTTP_From header that is sent by the browser to some of the servers. A well-designed page with some script is capable of sending the email address configured in the browser to any email address. Viruses like Melissa are created to send the email address in that way. These viruses are more powerful that they send all the email addresses available in your address book also. 

During domain name registrations you will be giving your email addresses. This is also one of the way by which your email addresses are leaked to a third party. There are three email columns available during domain name registrations. Contacts for Administration, Technical, and Billing. The persons email addresses are available in these columns. These are easily harvested from the ‘whois’ directory, which is always open. Another major source of email addresses are the IRCs and chat rooms. 

Another method of harvesting email is the brute force method. In this method the spammers try all the possibilities of names of the email ids for that particular domain. They usually try the common names that are used as email ids and send out emails to them. Some of them respond to the emails and they get added to the spammers list. This method can be easily avoided by the site administrator if they watch the heavy incoming email traffic for their domain. 
Unsubscribe facility in spam e-mails 

Due to legal implications on the spammers now they provide with an ‘Unsubscribe’ feature in the spams that are sent. You can use these links to unsubscribe from the mailing list of that company so that you can avoid further emails from that company. This is also a tedious process if you get many unsolicited emails. You can’t keep on unsubscribe each of the mailing list and it may take a lot of time for you. Hence it is better to use anti-spam software’s and spam filters to avoid spams in your Inbox.

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