Part 1 - Junk mail Prevention & Control
Spam - the term the coiled to represent junk advertising arriving by email, posted onto news groups and in some cases interactive mediums such as chatting. More than just annoying it costs time and money. Some set aside time to delete the hundreds of junk mail they receive, there is lost productivity relating to the removal of such junk mail and it takes up significant resources on the Internet (namely bandwidth) and indirectly these costs are passed down network to network and eventually down to your monthly Internet bill.
In this article we look closely at anti spam measures for commercial unsolicited content arriving by email as this is what affects people the most.
Generally junk mail is not just sent to you, rather it's sent to millions upon millions of people. They are sent in the hope that a few people will read the message and act upon it, such as buying a certain product or service. These services may in fact be fraudulent and illegal, but as long as just a small percentage of people act on the junk email it will be a successful day. The content of spam can be deceiving, misleading and offensive.
Graphical adult (perhaps illegal) content is not what you want minors to see. Deceiving aspects will be discussed later.
Once you appear on a spammers list there is an extreme risk of getting an overwhelming amount of Spam. These lists are traded and sold over the Internet at varying costs and the problems for you get worse over time.
Address collection methods
There are several ways you could end up on a spammers list. A spammer generally employs harvesting software and scans Internet pages and news groups for Internet addresses.
Popular websites to scan are forums and guest books since this where email addresses are likely to be found. We have more information on protection of your address from this sort of harvest further in this article.
The key here is you never opted into such a list. You were merely added, and of course once added to the list you will begin to receive unsolicited emails. However what you choose do with the spam you receive can cause this problem to worsen.
Most spammers no longer just harvest addresses. Their work has already been done and published on CD's of addresses. Read on to learn how these CD's contain mostly valid addresses.
After a harvester has got a full list of email addresses they realize that a significant portion of these addresses are fake or do not work. The value of their list is not that high but there are ways to improve on it, and its your job as a regular Internet user to do everything you can to prevent this.
The junk mailer will probably want to know what addresses work and don't work. So they employ on tracing schemes.
- Web bugs could be
contained within the spam message. If you open the email in web based
services such as Hotmail or local clients with lax security settings to
execute HTML then the web bug will launch allowing the spammer to log
generic system details and more importantly know your address does
exist and so they could move it to a validated list.
- Some spammers even appear kind enough to provide an sun-subscription link. However never click on such links. By un-subscribing from junk mail you never asked for you run the risk of alerting the junk mailer that your address is valid and so they could move it to a validated list. The result is more spam.