||Technically called UCE
or Unsolicited Commercial Email, SPAM is the nickname given to
junk mail sent to your email address in order to try and sell you
something or to entice you to visiting some website. It can
range from mildly annoying to outright theft of service, and
ultimately it can make your email nearly useless. SPAM
annoys you, but it also costs ISP's like us $1,000's of dollars a
month is bandwidth and time.
||That's the $64,000
question, and there are not really easy answers. There
are things you can do, but understand that SPAMmers make
millions of dollars doing what they do, and each step you take may
eventually be countered by the people sending the SPAM.
Again, there are steps you can take that will make a huge dent as
compared to an unprotected address, but there is no single big
'stop the spam' button to press.
Inet2000 stop it for me?
||We try, but again there
perfect, easy solutions. We currently (as of May 2003) stop about 18,000
messages a day, but many thousands of others still get
though. We subscribe to "Black Lists" of known
sources of SPAM, and we refuse all mail from those sources.
However many new SPAMmers keep switching sources in order to make
detection and blocking difficult or impossible using the Black List method.
seems to be getting worse and worse!
||SPAM seems to go in
cycles, with new techniques and new technologies on both sides of
the SPAM war all the time. For a while, users / ISP's seem
to be winning the war and you forget that SPAM is a problem, and
then the SPAMmers find new methods of getting the SPAM to you
again. In the last couple months, an unusually clever bunch of
SPAMmers have been targeting internet users world-wide using a
method that bypasses our ''Black Lists''. This make it look
like SPAM is on the rise, but it's just that you're seeing more of
it getting by our lists.
can I do?
||There are a couple
things you can do that will help reduce the SPAM you get.
- Use a SPAM protecting program.
Companies like Norton make Virus protection and Firewall
products, and companies like that also make SPAM protecting
- If you get SPAM, forward it to email@example.com
or to submit.tNXfxuz6FEY4ZGsi@spam.spamcop.net
. For the SPAM filtering listed below to be effective,
we need to have a good database of the typical SPAM's that we
can build rules around, so letting us know will help.
Just add the spamcop.net address to your address book and then
simply select FORWARD and click on this address to forward the
spam to them for processing. This will help build add
the SPAMmer to the Black Lists.
- Setup ''Message Rules'' in OutLook Express to
sort mail that is specifically addressed to you from mail that
is addressed to false email addresses. Of course, this
will also sort messages where you are just one of many CC:
recipients, so it doesn't guarantee that the mail is SPAM - it
only sorts the mail that is specifically addressed to
you. How do you do that?
- Select TOOLS -> MESSAGE RULES ->
MAIL from the menus of Outlook Express.
- Click the NEW button, and check WHERE THE
TO LINE CONTAINS PEOPLE
- Click on the CONTAINS PEOPLE in the box
- Type in your own email address and click
ADD and OK.
- Check MOVE IT TO THE SPECIFIED FOLDER in
- Click on the SPECIFIED in box #3.
- Create a new folder called MYMAIL (or
whatever you would like) and click OK.
- Rename the rule to something like MYMAIL
RULE (or whatever you would like)
- Click OK and you're done.
This will create a filtering rule that will
sort mail that specifically has your address as the TO:
address into the MYMAIL mailbox, and leave all other mail in
the regular INBOX. You'll probably find that about 85%
of all the mail that goes into the INBOX is SPAM, while about
85% of the mail that gets sorted into the new MYMAIL folder is
actually real mail for you. Of course, this is a pretty
low tech method and will certainly miss mail both ways, but
many people like it as a quick and dirty method of sorting
their mail. It's also ideal for families with multiple
email addresses to sort Sally's mail from Fred's mail.
can Inet2000 do?
preparing an ANTI-SPAM initiative that we hope will really help.
It will involve several methods, depending on how much SPAM you
want to block. The more SPAM you choose to block, the more
chance that you will block valid mail as well.
- In it's simplest form, we will soon offer
Server Side Filtered mail, where we will simply block all
mail containing certain key words & attachments, and
all mail from certain senders / domains. Obviously this
will be a huge help, since much of the mail you get contains
the same words over and over again, but it will be ''stupid''
in as much as it will not be able to tell the difference
between an adult advertisement and a dirty joke from on of
your friends. This will, however, be the simplest way to
eliminate most SPAM. You'll simply choose to have us
filter your mail and anything that meets our criteria will be
eliminated before you ever see it. Our criteria may be
more or less restrictive than you would personally like to see
it, but for simplicity and manageability, we will simply have
a policy on which words / attachments / email addresses /
domains we don't allow. This method will still probably
still let some SPAM though. Since it's simply looking at
the text in a message, those that contain only pictures (even
pictures of text words) can not really be 'read' by the
software and may still get through.
- Client side Filtering will also be
available. This will allow you to select your own set of
words, phrases, email addresses or domains to block messages
from. This will give you far more control, but will
substantially increase the possibility of you accidentally
eliminating mail that you may really want to receive. If
you ask to block all messages that include the words ''size''
then all messages, even from your boss asking if you'd like a
''sizeable raise in your salary'' or a message from your
personal trainer asking if you've "dun yer exersizes"
will be deleted. This
method will also still let some SPAM though, but will be
suitable for those who want their own control over their
- Finally, Tagged Confirmation Messaging will
be ideal for those who only want to accept mail from a finite
list of users. With Tagged Confirmation, you will have
to specifically build a 'White List' of users who are server
will allow messages to come to you from. The first time
someone sends you a message, they will get a confirmation
auto-reply explaining that you've been getting a lot of SPAM
lately and are using this new system to confirm that the
sender is a real person and not a machine. They will
simply have to reply to that confirmation message, and their
address will then be on your 'White List'. If they do
not reply within 14 days, their original message to you (and
all other subsequent mail from them) will be deleted. This
method is the most restrictive and has the probability of
blocking legitimate mail, (particularly legitimate automated
mail like mail from your bank or ebay or message lists) but
will also probably be the most secure and hardest for SPAMmers
to defeat. We are currently evaluating these Tagged
Confirmation servers, so it may be some time before we decide
on a solution. Server side and Client side filtering
mentioned above should be available shortly.