Spam is the bane of everyone’s existence. Unsolicited mail flooding mail boxes has caused many problems world wide. The widely accepted definition of spam is “Electronic communication that contains material of a commercial, solicitational, or illegal nature, directed as part of bulk distribution to any address.”
The first step towards fighting spam is to learn how spam works. A useful source is CAUCE or the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email and the SpamCon Foundation. Log on to the World Wide Web and read about ant-spam laws, government stand against spam, and coalitions that are working towards prevention of spamming. Be sure to take part in anti-spam community efforts by joining forums and groups.
Spam can be prevented from entering your mail box by:
1. Determining the IP address of the sender and blocking it.
2. Use blacklist services like SBL (http://www.spamhaus.org/sbl) or the RBL (http://www.mailabuse.org/rbl) that maintain lists of IP addresses that are know originators of spammers. Blacklist services are efficient in blocking spam as they use the latest methods in preventing spam.
3. Use the spam guard services offered by email services like gmail and yahoo.
4. White list services where only mail from known addresses are approved by the recipient.
5. Use heuristic engines that look for keyword patterns that match know spam rules and block messages that contain known patterns. Well known heuristic engines include SpamAssassin that has a high detection rate.
6. Networked vigilance an open source initiative that involves continued maintenance of a data base and then the mail server asks a centralized VR node, Vipul’s razor for spam listings.
7. Using Bayesian filtering engines like SpamBayes , http://www.spambayes.org/. This has its uses as well as downside.
Spam can also be blocked by configuring anti-virus software to scan emails for viruses. Desist from leaving your email address over the internet and signing up for freebies and news letters. Use a separate email account for this purpose. Stay abreast of anti-spam efforts and adopt the latest possible anti-virus software and firewall systems. Never open mails from people unknown to you and immediately report spam mails to the mail host/provider. Try standalone spam filtering software like Qurb eTrust Anti-Spam, iHate Spam, Spam Bully.
Experts at PC World reported that almost 75 percent of email is spam mail and that in their study they found that SpamCatcher was one of the most affordable and simplest of anti-spam tools. Another notable product was InBoxer which works only with Out Look.
Fighting spam is a world wide war and efforts are being made by software manufacturers, search engines, lay persons, as well as others.