how to protect your company against unwanted spam

Spam has been in existence as long as email systems have been filling inboxes with wanted and unwanted emails.

Spam is the junk mail of email systems. It is the email you didn’t ask for, on topics you’re not interested in and spam is often linked to forms of cyber-crime such as password phishing, fraud and deception. “Phishing” is the term used in the IT industry to describe people or systems who attempt to trick you into giving them your passwords or personal details.

In 2013, over 90 million spam email messages were sent on a daily basis. That is over 32 billion spam emails sent in one year! Over 9% of spam emails in 2013 originated in the USA. (Source)

Spam Filters to the Rescue

In order to protect email users from this onslaught of unwanted and dangerous communication, the software industry developed tools and services to detect and destroy spam.

The software is called a “spam filter” and it detects suspicious emails that contain content that has proven to be harmful or unwanted by the recipients.

Spam filter software can run on an email server to protect the email users from unwanted spam email. SpamAssassin from the Apache Software foundation is a popular server spam filter and is responsible for protecting thousands of servers across the world.

An individual can also install a spam filter on their own PC or Mac. The software typically works alongside an email program such as Microsoft Outlook and provides another layer of defence against spam. Mailwasher Pro and SPAMfighter Pro are 2 popular spam filters for PC users.

How does spam affect you or your business?

  • Fill your inbox with unwanted emails – everyday.
  • Trick you into giving personal information that is used to later defraud you – user ID, passwords, identification details.
  • Infects your PC with a virus or malware which can then later stop your PC working altogether.

Spam is a real threat to email users and the fight against spam is a constant one. As soon as one type of spam email is blocked, another variation will appear. Spam software is constantly being updated with new algorithms to defend against the latest spam techniques.

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Protecting Your Email Against Spam

What can you do to protect yourself against spam?

  • Use a hosting company with a spam filter on their email servers. This will dramatically reduce the number of spam emails that arrive in your email.
  • Use a spam filter with your email program. This is another layer of protection.
  • Whitelist email addresses that should never be considered spam. A whitelist is a list of email addresses that you always want to receive information from and is typically something you set up in your email program.

Spam is unfortunately a feature of the digital world and is unlikely to ever go away. You need to be able to identify a spam email and ensure your hosting company uses a spam filter.

Matthias Böhmichen
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