Spam Prevention – the 5 Best Ways to Stop It Dead In Its Tracks
Spam – no longer just a tasty, meaty treat <shudder>. I can’t decide which version of spam is more disgusting but I guess it depends upon the version of spam you are currently looking at. Still, someone must be hooking up with hot Russian brides or I wouldn’t still be getting those <ahem> highly enticing messages.
All kidding aside, spam is not only irritating (and more than just a little distasteful), it’s can also be downright dangerous. Take back your Inbox with 5 of the best spam prevention techniques…
1. Get an anonymous email address
Everyone gets an email from time to time that has something of interest that you’d like to find out more about. Trouble is, you need sign up to a list somewhere and confirm it with a real email address. But what if you know you aren’t interested in buying yet – if at all – and you don’t want to hand out your valuable email address just to get spammed for the rest of your natural life (and beyond) or worse yet, have your email addy sold to a thousand other spammers? Easy! Sign up with any one of a million free email providers (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.) and use it only for that purpose. Better yet, try 10 Minute Mail to get a free email address that expires in 10 minutes. Brilliant!
2. Make a minor change in your email address
One of the things we have learned as a Managed Services Provider is that spammers often use brute force in trying to get spam into your organization. They do it by combining every possible name combination you could imagine on the left side of the @ sign followed by your domain name on the right e.g. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org etc. This is called a dictionary attack. If your email addy is simple e.g. email@example.com, you will get found, make no mistake. However, if your email addy is firstname.lastname@example.org you will have just made it infinitely more difficult to get found. This is exactly why we use dots in our global email addresses such as help.desk and sales.group @ ourdomain.com. Notice how I have not published those exact addresses in this blog… which leads me to the third spam prevention technique
3. Email addresses on your website
Never, ever (like, ever) publish your email addresses on your website. You might as well have the equivalent of an internet neon sign that says: “Please spam me here!”. Spammers use simple little bot programs that scour the internet for email addresses with a simple routine that gathers whatever info exists on either side of the @ sign, go away for a day, and when you come back – you have gathered (literally) millions of new “subscribers”. If you must (really must) publish your email address do it like this: your.name(at)yourdomain.com.
4. Get a good anti-spam program
Don’t rely on whatever is built into your native email program such as the Junk Mail rules in Outlook because it just isn’t good enough. Nor is it granular enough – far too rigid with few options for tailoring your needs. We recommend a two-phased approach. One program that filters out the dictionary attacks offsite BEFORE they arrive at your mail server – your server will thank you for the lighter workload – and another program onsite that has a very granular approach to that which does make it to your Inbox. We recommend GFi MailEssentials. Very robust and very “tweakable” with an intelligent engine that learns from the legit emails you get vs. the spam. Whatever you go with, it should have learning capabilities, multiple levels of filtering, and auto-whitelisting to ensure you get all the emails from the folks you do business with.
5. Look before you leap (or click)
Like I said earlier, there would be no spammers at all if people would just quit buying from them! Yes, I’m looking at you – someone keeps buying crazy cheap car insurance online else there would be no one trying to spam you with ads for it – am I right? So, before you click on that offer for the lowest priced meds on the planet, make sure it is actually linked to a legitimate operation by researching the name of the outfit on the web. Chances are, either they are selling sugar pills (or far, far worse), or the link is designed to phish you into hitting a website that has been compromised and the second you land there, it unleashes a Trojan that harvests every email address on your system (including yours), and presto – new subscribers! Repeat after me: I will not click that link. I will not click that link.
So there you go – 5 really easy stops on the road to spam prevention. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wait for my $10M from the Nigerian prince before I commit to a hot Russian bride. I just hope he gets my $5000 bank transfer fee in time. I’d hate to miss out…
Finding yourself in email purgatory? Need a better spam prevention solution? We can help. Contact us today to find out how!