SPAM!  Are you tired of junk e-Mail?

What a waste of time.  You come into the office, open your e-Mail, and spend the next five minutes clearing out the junk.  Multiply that times the number of computer users in your company times the number of work days per year and you will see a real impact on the bottom line.  What can you do to prevent getting on spammer’s mailing lists and how can you block it from your in-box?

The answer to the first question is… not much.  Spammers buy mail lists compiled from every conceivable source including company web sites, newsgroup messages, vendors willing to sell their customer lists, telemarketing efforts, etc.  In addition, since sending email is free, they simply use smart guessing such as  One thing to remember is to NOT reply to have your name removed from distribution lists.  In most cases this just lets the recipient know they have a live e-Mail account to sell.

How you can cut down on spam reaching your in-box is a different story.  The first thing you can do is to check with your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to see if it offers a spam removal service.

If you use Microsoft Outlook, you can manually add a sender to your Junk e-Mail Sender’s list before deleting the message.  Press Alt-A, arrow down to Junk E-Mail, and press your enter key a couple of times before deleting the email.  If you do this consistently, after about a month you will find that about 50% of your junk emails will automatically delete when you first open Outlook.

To further reduce the junk, rules can be set up either in Microsoft Outlook or in Microsoft Exchange to identify spam e-mail and take appropriate action.  For instance, you can specify that any messages received from an entire domain will be blocked, or search for keywords in the subject such as “viagra”.  Unfortunately, spammers have tricks to get around some of these rules.

The best method is to set up a dedicated anti-spam application to screen all e-Mail.  These programs use a variety of methods to identify spam.  One important method is use of a downloadable “black list” that gets updated consistently in much the same manner as a virus signature list for anti-virus programs.  At the corporate level, a program such as the SurfControl E-mail Filter has this functionality.  See the article on the back page for information on programs for use at the pc level.



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