Friday, December 31, 2004

Fighting Spam

Spam is out of control and there is little that can be done.

Changing your email address and not using your primary email address for buying things on the web, post info to website or having it listed in text format on your web site or any web site helps eliminate most all spam. List the email address as an image instead on your web site. You can check to see where on the web it may be listed by doing a Google search on your email address.

If you are still using your old email address and that address is receiving all the spam, you can set an Outlook rules wizard to route that email to another folder that you can call spam. That will clean the inbox, and makes it easier to review the spam and delete it. Note: I didn’t say stop it…

When receiving spam the best things to do are: Do not respond to it, don’t preview or open it. Previewing it only lets the spammer know that you are a valid address. Inside the spam are hidden images that point back to the spammer with your email address letting them know that you opened/previewed the spam email.

These evil spammers do send all kinds of graphic, sick adult related material and right now there is little technology or the legal system can do about it.

There are some counter measures that I can take on your server to turn up the heat to reduce some illegitimate spam spoofing such as a reverse lookup on the sender before accepting the email. However, this will deny email from company’s that do not have there email systems configured correctly or an ISP doesn’t have their DNS servers configured correctly. It is estimate that some 35%+ systems are not configured correctly, hence the reason why it is off by default.

Turning it on will result in a partial reduction in spam, but will deny some legitimate email which will lead to additional costs for our time to investigate why a sender can not send you email as we track down where the issue is. I do this research all the time and it does take a little time, but takes more time coordinating with the senders ISP to correct their DNS configs so they are not spoofed by spammers.

Another option is having multiple email address. Use certain addresses for certain functions. Since you own your own email server you have an unlimited amount of email address variations that you can use. Having multiple address allows you to track and route inbound email.

A company called GFI has several products worthy of using. Their Mail Essentials is a great Bayesian anti-spam product. Using it along with the Mail Security will help curb virus bombardments as evil email. I really like these products.

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