How to combat spam?

Spam emails are a pain. They hinder your mailbox and can cause serious damage to the security of your website or devices. More than 300 billion spam messages are sent every day threatening users with a malware infection.

So can you get rid of them?

The truth is that you cannot eliminate spam 100%. What you can do is reduce the amount of spam you receive. Today, we’ll look at several preventative measures you can take to stay safe.

What is spam?

Spam, or junk mail, is an unwanted message that is sent to a person without their consent. These messages are usually sent in bulk to different email addresses for advertising purposes or for more sinister purposes such as phishing and identity theft.

How do spammers find your email address?

Spammers use various methods to obtain your email address. Let’s take a look at some of them.

  • Harvesting – Spammers use bots to harvest websites on the Internet for email addresses. These bots work in a sophisticated way, mainly focusing on the more popular indicator sign “@”.
  • Random generation tools: Yes. Email addresses can be randomly generated as usernames and passwords. Spammers take advantage of software tools designed for this purpose to obtain address lists.
  • Your email is visible on social media platforms: Many users list their email addresses publicly on their social media accounts, making them easy prey for spammers. Posting your email in comments and public posts will also make you a target for spammers.
  • You have a common email address: Using guess words and common names in an email address makes it easy for spammers and their tools to predict and attack you.
  • Giving away personal data to insecure websites: Providing sensitive credentials and information to suspicious websites is a gateway to spam and other malware.
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Why is spam dangerous?

As mentioned above, companies and online services can use spam for commercial purposes as part of their marketing campaigns. In hindsight, trusted services do not resort to spam to promote their business. In some cases, when you receive a spam message from a legitimate source, it most likely indicates that you have been compromised.

You also need to worry about malicious spam emails sent by cyber attackers to steal personal information. These messages almost always contain infected links or files. Attackers tend to disguise themselves as a legitimate entity and ask you to click the link to be directed to a fake website or download the attachment to install malware on your system.

7 ways to protect your email from spam

Although spammers are constantly trying to find new tricks to launch spam attacks, there are some effective precautions you can take to protect your mail.

Do not give your email to anyone

It is always safer to treat your email address as if you were treating your personal information, such as your social security number. Only give it to the necessary contacts or important business contacts. This way, only a limited number of people or contacts will have your email address, greatly decreasing the chance of receiving spam emails.

Another useful idea is that if you need to access a website but need to provide your email address to do so, you can always use disposable email. This is a fake email address that you can generate for free from certain websites created for such purposes.

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Create different email addresses for different purposes

If you need to subscribe to different online services, please create an email account for this purpose that is separate from your personal email. Also, separate your work email from your personal email. In other words, it is not recommended to use a single email for everything you do online.

Although this will not limit the amount of spam email you receive, especially on your public email account, if one email is affected it will not affect your other accounts. The single account can then be treated separately.

Use email filters

Today, many email service providers offer you the option of filtering emails to prevent spam. It’s up to you to enable this feature and customize the filter to block any unwanted or potential spam emails.

Some providers even warn you when you receive an email that its source is not known and therefore could be spam. Others redirect spam emails (when the filter feature is enabled and customized) to the spam folder or even the junk folder.

Customizing these filters includes blocking emails with specific titles, content, or sources.

Do not click on unknown links

If you ever receive an email from an unknown or suspicious source with a link included, it is most likely spam. If you click on that link, this may be a gateway for the spammer to do more damage.

Clicking on the link may send more spam or download malware to your computer.

Block accounts that send spam emails

Learning from our mistakes is one of the best security measures we can take regarding spam emails. If you keep receiving spam emails from a specific account or service, you can simply block these email addresses through your email account settings. This will prevent you from receiving more spam.

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Do not reply to spam emails

Some spam emails require you to reply as confirmation that you received them or you may want to reply to a spam email to request that they stop sending it or just to let out a little anger. In all cases, you should never reply to a spam email, as this can have multiple negative results.

If you reply, the spammer will know that your account is active and will add your address to every mailing list, which will lead to many more spam emails.

If all else fails, create a new email account

If you tried all the above ways and you are still getting a lot of spam, then you may consider creating a completely new email account to replace the compromised one.

We understand that this doesn’t sound very convenient, but we highly doubt that all of the above ways will fail. Consider this your last contingency plan.

final thoughts

Even though the rate of spam generation isn’t slowing down and spammers will always get in the way of email transfer, you’ll find different ways to defend your mailbox. By applying the security techniques discussed, you will be more aware of spam traps and will be able to avoid them.

Categories: How to

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