Google s tag to remove content spamming

Content spamming, in its simplest form, is the taking of content from other sites that rank well on the search engines, and then either using it as-it-is or using a utility software like Articlebot to scramble the content to the point that it can't be detected with plagiarism software. In either case, your good, search-engine-friendly content is stolen and used, often as part of a doorway page, to draw the attention of the search engines away from you.

Everyone has seen examples of this: the page that looks promising but contains lists of terms (like term – term paper – term papers – term limits) that link to other similar lists, each carrying Google advertising. Or the site that contains nothing but content licensed from Wikipedia. Or the site that plays well in a search but contains nothing more than SEO gibberish, often ripped off from the site of an expert and minced into word slaw.

These sites are created en masse to provide a fertile ground to draw eyeballs. It seems a waste of time when you receive a penny a view for even the best-paying ads – but when you put up five hundred sites at a time, and you've figured out how to get all of them to show up on the first page or two of a lucrative Google search term, it can be surprisingly profitable.

The losers are the people who click on these pages, thinking that there is content of worth on these sites – and you. Your places are stolen from the top ten by these spammers. Google is working hard to lock them out, but there is more that you can do to help Google.

Using The Antispam Tag

But there is another loser. One of the strengths of the Internet is that it allows for two-way public communication on a scale never seen before. You post a blog, or set up a wiki; your audience comments on your blog, or adds and changes your wiki.

The problem? While you have complete control over a website and its contents in the normal way of things, sites that allow for user communication remove this complete control from you and give it to your readers. There is no way to prevent readers of an open blog from posting unwanted links, except for manually removing them. Even then, links can be hidden in commas or periods, making it nearly impossible to catch everything.

This leaves you open to the accusation of link spam – for links you never put out there to begin with. And while you may police the most recent several blogs you've posted, no one polices the ones from several years ago. Yet Google still looks at them and indexes them. By 2002, bloggers everywhere were begging Google for an ignore tag of some sort to prevent its spiders from indexing comment areas.

Not only, they said, would bloggers be grateful; everyone with two-way uncontrolled communication – wikis, forums, guest books – needed this service from Google. Each of these types of sites has been inundated with spam at some point, forcing some to shut down completely. And Google itself needed it to help prevent the rampant spam in the industry.

In 2005, Google finally responded to these concerns. Though their solution is not everything the online community wanted (for instance, it leads to potentially good content being ignored as well as spam), it does at least allow you to section out the parts of your blog that are public. It is the “nofollow” attribute.

"Nofollow" allows you to mark a portion of your web page, whether you're running a blog or you want to section out paid advertising, as an area that Google spiders should ignore. The great thing about it is that not only does it keep your rankings from suffering from spam, it also discourages spammers from wasting your valuable comments section with their junk text.

The most basic part of this attribute involves embedding it into a hyperlink as . This allows you to manually flag links, such as those embedded in paid advertising, as links Google spiders should ignore. But what if the content is user-generated? It's still a problem because you certainly don't have time to go through and mark all those links up.

Fortunately, blogging systems have been sensitive to this new development. Whether you use Wordpress or another blogging system, most have implemented either automated "nofollow" links in their comment sections, or have issued plugins you can implement yourself to prevent this sort of spamming.

This does not solve every problem. But it's a great start. Be certain you know how your user-generated content system provides this service to you. In most cases, a software update will implement this change for you.

Is This Spamming And Will Google Block Me?

There's another problem with the spamming crowd. When you're fighting search engine spam and start seeing the different forms it can take – and, disturbingly, realizing that some of your techniques for your legitimate site are similar – you have to wonder: Will Google block me for my search engine optimization techniques?

This happened recently to BMW's corporate site. Their webmaster, dissatisfied with the dealership's position when web users searched for several terms (such as "new car"), created and posted a gateway page – a page optimized with text that then redirects searchers to an often graphics-heavy page.

Google found it and, rightly or wrongly, promptly dropped their page rank manually to zero. For weeks, searches for their site turned up plenty of spam and dozens of news stories – but to find their actual site, it was necessary to drop to the bottom of the search, not easy to do in Googleworld.

This is why you really need to understand what Google counts as search engine spam, and adhere to their restrictions even if everyone else doesn't. Never create a gateway page, particularly one with spammish data. Instead, use legitimate techniques like image alternate text and actual text in your page. Look for ways to get other pages to point to your site – article submission, for instance, or directory submission. And keep your content fresh, always.

While duplicated text is often a sign of serious spammage, the Google engineers realize two things: first, the original text is probably still out there somewhere, and it's unfair to drop that person's rankings along with those who stole it from them; and second, certain types of duplicated text, like articles or blog entries, are to be expected.

Their answer to the first issue is to credit the site first catalogued with a particular text as the creator, and to drop sites obviously spammed from that one down a rank. The other issue is addressed by looking at other data around the questionable data; if the entire site appears to be spammed, it, too, is dropped. Provided you are not duplicating text on many websites to fraudulently increase your ranking, you're safe. Ask yourself: are you using the same content on several sites registered to you in order to maximize your chances of being read? If the answer is yes, this is a bad idea and will be classified as spamdexing. If your content would not be useful to the average Internet surfer, it is also likely to be classed as spamdexing.

There is a very thin line between search engine optimization and spamdexing. You should become very familiar with it. Start with understanding hidden/invisible text, keyword stuffing, metatag stuffing, gateway pages, and scraper sites.

An introduction to spam filters

Using spam filters is another very effective way of combating spam or junk mail. These programs use some keywords like ‘guaranteed’, ‘free’, etc and block any email with those words in them. But this has the disadvantage of sometimes blocking even important mails from your contacts and preventing those senders from sending mails to your address again. The way out is to use add-on spam filters which allow you to control the content that should be allowed into your inbox. This will save you a lot of time and energy as you no longer will have go through each and every email before identifying it as spam and eliminating it.

Spam filters can be installed on any computer system and aim at filtering junk and getting only relevant information to the user.

Setting up a simple spam filter can be very easy. Identify the section ‘filters’ in your email program and create a new filter. Lay down the rules or filter conditions for the new folder. These can be the parameters under which an email would be marked as spam and deleted from your inbox. If you prefer to look at the filtered mail before deleting it, you can choose the option to move it to another folder once it is filtered. Once you save the changes you have made in the new filter, it will be active.

You have a new variety of spam filters in the market now which are called ‘smarter filters’. While these fight and prevent spam very effectively, setting it up is a very complex process and is recommended only for technical experts.

New generation spam filters are different from traditional ones in that they go in for statistical data rather features of spam. These filters decide on spam by analyzing the entire email and comparing it with other already identified spam mails. The error margin for these filters is almost zero as more than 99% of scams are identified and eliminated through this method.

Email anti spam and virus protection for businesses - there is hope

With anti spam vendors offering low cost licensing, businesses can now afford advanced email spam and virus protection with a simple to use interface at a much lower cost. The great thing about technology is that as it evolves it gets faster, additional features and economical. Over the past few years the same evolution has taken place with anti spam technology and services. In large part this can be attributed to the open source software community plus enterprising companies enhancing the capabilities of this software and packaging it into easy to use anti spam appliances.

It is not practical to have anti spam software running on desktops in a networked business environment. Managing all employee junk email software at the desktop is not realistic. It can be a nightmare and costly in terms time and licensing.

Spam appliances sit in front of your email server so that when email comes in it will first go to the spam appliance and the email will be scanned for spam as well as viruses. The filter will block the message if it identified as know spam. If the filter is not sure if the email is genuine it will quarantine and hold the email at the filter and it will be stored until the recipient deletes it, releases it to their email box, or they can white list a trusted correspondent so that future emails will not be held back. This will greatly reduce the load on your email server and reduce your bandwidth needs. We have seen anti spam systems block up to 83% of incoming messages. This could help extend the life of your email server and push back the need for upgraded capacity.

Most virus outbreaks occur via email and for little cost an appliance can block viruses before they reach your network and user’s inboxes. This provides an extra layer of defense in addition to your current anti virus solution.

Businesses have two options if they use an appliance based solution for their spam and virus control. They can purchase and administer their own filter. This is a good option if you have a large number of employee mailboxes to protect and the technical staff to administer the spam appliance. Businesses also have the option to outsource their spam control as a hosted service. This is a good choice for smaller companies and if information technology is not your specialty.

If you purchase your own spam filter, a subscription to updates may also be required. Make sure you get upfront pricing for the add-ons that you will need. If you have more than 100 email users and the technical staff to maintain the spam appliance, buying your own filter may be your best option. Generally the basic model will work for most organizations. Large organizations with thousands of users will require a spam filter appliance with increases capacity and features. Spam appliances are designed to work with all mail systems but some do have specific enhancements for Exchange server Microsoft’s popular collaboration software and mail servers that support LDAP (light weight directory access protocol). Spam appliances use the LDAP protocol to verify recipients before delivering messages to your email server, this avoids consuming server resources.

If your business has five to one hundred employees, then an outsourced anti spam and virus filter service is going to be a good economical choice for your organization. Fees are based on the number of users and you only pay for what you use. You will not have hardware to buy, maintain, and upgrade. The upfront cost is minimal and most email filtering providers will let you try the service for free at first. Another added benefit to outsourcing your spam control is redundancy. It is important that you choose a provider that has their spam and virus filters collocated at secure internet data center facilities. Data centers provide redundant network connections and power, so if your email server or internet connection is down unexpectedly the spam appliance will hold your email until your email server becomes available, minus spam and viruses.

Anti spam technology is constantly improving and the costs are getting lower. With increased productivity and an added layer of defense against virus attacks, an anti spam appliance or service is something your business can not afford to be without.

Steps to reducing spam in your inbox

Steps to Reducing SPAM in Your Inbox

Spam first made its mark in the world in 1978 when Gary Thuerk, Marketing Director of Digital Equipment Technology sent an email solicitation to 400 employees at Arpnet. The email created a few sales, but it also created fierce backlash. Today, more than 180 billion spam messages are sent out each day to over 1 billion Internet users. This staggering statistic makes it clear why spam is such a major problem for Internet users. Many companies are working hard to solve the spam problem, but the first step to stopping spam starts with the consumer.

By following the steps below, Internet users can reduce the number of spam email messages they receive in their inbox.

Before an Invasion of Spam

Software:

Choose email providers that offer built-in spam protection services. Look for service providers that promote a high success rate of blocking spam email.

Spam Filters:

Spam is a cat and mouse game. Spammers are constantly looking for ways to bypass filters. Regularly check your spam filter software if you’re using non-web based email to make sure it is up to date. If you’re using web-based email, m make sure your webmail provider is working hard to protect you from spam.

Improve Security:

A firewall may be one of the most important applications on a computer. It acts as a barrier between hackers and the computer, and prevents access to unauthorized information.

Limit Email Dispersal:

When performing online transactions, thoroughly scan the page for any checked and unchecked boxes. Some companies will word these boxes in a way to increase the likelihood of a consumer opting-in to their email campaigns.

Shop From Known Vendors:

Shopping from known vendors can greatly reduce the threat of spam email. Many companies are guilty of selling email addresses to third parties, which are then used for spam. The company’s privacy policy is supposed to list their intended uses of your personal information, such as whether they will sell your email address to third parties. Consumers can check the Better Business Bureau’s and the FTC’s (Federal Trade Commission) websites for lists of reputable companies and for lists of violators.

Once Spam Becomes a Problem

Internet users should avoid opening spam. It should be immediately deleted. Pay close attention to the senders email address as most spammers use deceptive subject lines intended to promote opening. If opened, avoid attachments, which may contain viruses, and do not purchase goods or donate to charities solicited in the message. Many spam email messages will have unsubscribe links at the bottom of the message, as dictated by the CAN-SPAM Act.

If consumers find themselves with an inbox full of spam, they can also report the spam emails to their Internet Service Provider.

There are numerous companies and organizations designed to regulate the Internet and protect users. But, it is important that Internet users are informed of the threats of spam. By following the stated suggestions and by not falling victim to the ploys of spammers, users can help put spammers out of business, and keep their inbox free of junk email.

Antispam. aren t we all don t you just hate it

Antispam. Aren't we all! Don't you just hate it? You've got enough to do without having to sift through a bunch of worthless, or worse yet, offensive junk e-mails in your Inbox.

So what can be done about it? What antispam procedures and software really work?

Spam filtering software is the first stop in your antispam campaign, but in some ways it's the easiest to subvert.

What this antispam tool does is tell your e-mail system to look for designated clue words - sex, nude, porn, for example - and to eliminate the messages that contain these clue words. Of course, there are easy ways to get around these antispam tactics. Did you ever see a message that comes through with the word sex spelled s*e*x? Well, that asterisk method has circumvented your spam filter - or the spam filter of your Internet and e-mail provider.

The other problem with this filter is that you could miss legitimate messages. A friend, for instance, who might mail you that she was "sick of porn sites popping up" might have her message deleted because it contained the word porn.

Two upgraded versions of these antispam filtering products are Bayesian and heuristic filters, which try to identify offensive messages through recognition of phrases as objectionable. SpamAssassin by Apache is probably the best known example of heuristic filtering. What these filters are doing that the more basic ones aren't is looking at the message itself rather than the subject header. Both Bayesian and heuristic filters have an Achilles heel in that they depend for their filtering on frequency. Were a spammer to send a short message it would get past.

To further complicate things by punishing the "good guys," major Internet service providers started simply considering batch emailing as potential spam. What this did, however, was to disrupt opt-in products such as e-zines and newsletters. So that didn't work well. The spammers themselves found a way around it anyway. As they sent out their batch messages they inserted a program that produced a variant in each heading. Perhaps a word that didn't even make sense, but still individualized each message enough to have the batching not appear as batching.

Some non-profit Internet watchdog agencies started keeping lists of the IP addresses of spammers. When these addresses cropped up in mail they were blocked. The way around this for spammers was simple - they changed IP addresses. The result was even worse, in that those addresses then got handed out to completely innocent folks who now had problems sending e-mail. Then the spammers got really aggressive and started creating and distributing viruses allowing them to hijack IP addresses that weren't on the "spam" lists.

Where the answer seems to lie for many businesses and their sites is to bypass standard email communication altogether and resort to online feedback forms for electronic communication. Which of course doesn't resolve the antispam issue for private individuals who have no Web site of their own.

The spamming trap for online business beginners

People who begin their online business ventures would naturally be unaware of many of the internet business rules, protocols and etiquettes. Yet, as in any law, the internet law does not forgive for ignorance. One of the most important issues that are governed by many controls over the internet is Spamming.

A beginner in online business can very easily fall unintentionally into the spamming trap while conducting internet marketing activity to promote his/her business.

Spamming has many faces and forms depending on the marketing activity performed. We will list the marketing activity, the possible spamming forms within each marketing activity, possible consequences and how to avoid unintentional spamming in each spamming form.

1- E-mail Campaigns: The most common spamming method is conducted through e-mail campaigns. E-mail spamming is when you send an e-mail promoting your product or service to someone who did not request any information from you. In many cases beginners fall into the trap of buying lists of e-mails from questionable sources and when sending the e-mail campaign they would realize that one of the following occurred:

a. Received direct complaints.

b. The e-mail account gets shut from the ISP or the hosting provider.

c. Contacted by internet police.

How to avoid e-mail spamming:

a. Make sure that the person who you are sending your campaign to has requested information from you or allowed you to send him e-mails.

b. When buying e-mail lists make sure that the list is safe and has allowed e-mails to be sent to them.

c. Ensure to have a statement at the end of your e-mail that would allow the recipient of your e-mail campaign to opt out if they do not wish to receive any communication from you.

2- Link Submission: Spamming in Link submission could be done in different forms but to cut the story short, you should follow the rules of each directory carefully. Among the very famous rules that are common across many link submission directories:

a. Do not submit your website link in more than one category.

b. Do not submit different pages of your website; submit only your top level link.

c. Do not submit your link more than once. Search the directory to check if your link already exists.

Failing to follow the rules of each directory would delete your link immediately at this particular directory.

3- Article Submission: Just like link directories, article directories have their own rules as well. Not complying with these rules will make those directories decline your articles. Among the most famous rules are the following:

a. Submit your own work and not somebody else's.

b. Submit a topic that is acceptable by the directory.

c. Do not make your title all in Capital letters. Use Title Caps form.

d. Do not Bold your key words within your article.

4- Posting in Forum: Again you have to read the rules of each forum you intend to be part of before you make any posts. Among the most famous rules are the following:

a. Do not advertise your business in your posts.

b. Do not include affiliate links in your posts.

c. Follow the exact rules of the forum for your sig. file.

Failing to comply will make the forum moderators cancel your account permanently.

5- Blogging: Filling your Blog by copying other people's articles could eliminate your account permanently with your Blog host.

6- Search Engine Related Spamming Activity:

a. Filling your site content with your keywords will be considered spamming by search engines.

b. Submitting your website to link farms will be considered spamming by search engines.

c. Adding huge amounts of content to your website while your site niche does not usually require such additions will be considered spamming by search engines.

d. Submitting your website to FFA's could be considered as spamming by search engines.

e. Including Keywords in your Keyword tag on your website while they are not related to your website could be considered as spamming by search engines.

I hope this will help all online business beginners to avoid the spamming trap and have a smooth and successful internet marketing activity.

New irs scam hits email mailboxes

There is a new wave of email “phishing” that is showing up in email mailboxes this spring, unscrupulous scammers are now targeting the American public with email claiming to be from the IRS.

The ingenious fraudsters’ aim is to collect your Social Security number, credit card account information and banking account information. The emails, which look authentic complete with the IRS logo and privacy policy, lure people into providing this information by notifying them of an audit or offering them access to a link to collect their refund. Additionally, the web site that appears bears a striking resemblance to the official IRS web site (even the font type matches) and when people click home, it actually takes them to www. IRS. gov (the real IRS web site).

However, there are some flaws to these thief’s attempts to secure people’s private and personal information. This is what the public should know: In one of the scam emails in the browser or address bar at the top of the page it reads: http://tzk. kozle. pl and the information that is requested, Social Security number, credit card number, banking information (where the refund goes).

The public needs to know that the IRS generally does not communicate with them via email.

“We do not communicate with taxpayers via email. We may send you a letter, we may call you, but we do not send out email,” stated IRS spokeswoman Nancy Mathis.

In recent weeks up to one hundred complaints a day are reported regarding email scams and the IRS has found twelve web sites operated in eighteen different countries committing this type of fraud or other types of IRS related fraud.

If you get an email from the IRS and if you doubt its authenticity, it is best to call the IRS and verify that they did, in fact send the correspondence. Call the IRS at 1-(800) 829-1040 ask confirm if they are trying to contact you. To report a fraudulent or suspicious email claiming to be from the IRS, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1 (800) 366-4484. Furthermore, report any cases of identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission at www. consumer. gov/idtheft.

Save time money and hassle - stop spam

Spam can be an absolute nightmare, and one that seems to spiral out of control in some of my email accounts. If i've been away for a few days and haven't had a chance to check my emails, I dread having to open up my email client when I get back online in anticipation of hundreds or thousands of spam emails.

Although I simply delete these emails, for some, they seem legitimate messages that can often cause the recipient to become the subject of a fraudulent activity. An example of this that many people may have experienced are the emails that claim that you have won the lottery in some country that you probably haven't even visited, or emails that ask for you to help claim a substantial amount of money for someone who claims to be entitled to millions of dollars from a lost relative. These types of emails are laughable but for a lesser experienced internet user, they pose a great threat.

This was when I decided to use a spam blocker to prevent the hassle and time wasted deleting spam emails.

Spam has been around since the medium of email became popular. Even though there have been several laws passed that are trying to limit the amount of spamming activity, it still exists. A good way to stop the annoyance and the time wasted deleting spam emails is by using a spam blocker. They can also save you a lot of money in the scenario where you are unfortunate enough to receive a virus from a spam email. This has happened to me before, and I can honestly say I will now do everything possible to stop it from happening again because of the hassle and time it took to get my pc back to the way it was. In fact this took several weeks and numerous times formatting my hardware, which despite my best efforts resulted in quite a few programs and software being lost.

But why do people fall victim to spam emails? The truth is that the spammer is becoming cleverer in the way that they set up the scams. It was not so long ago that I received an email which was apparently from Paypal. The email was pretty well written and even the links seemed to point to the Paypal site. I felt it was not genuine though as it asked me to click a link to visit the "Paypal" site, whereas I had read some time ago never to click a link in an email to visit the site, but to type the address directly into your internet browser so that you can rest assured that the site is genuine. It is a distinct possibility that many internet users will have fallen for these types of emails.

Do not become a victim of the consequence of spam emails. A spam blocker is a simple solution that will prevent the emails from ever reaching your inbox. They can save you time, money, hassle, and any potential problems that spam emails possess.

Free spam blockers

Remember when spam was just another horrible thing you would never eat? And then you grew up a little and spam became the lyrics to a great Monty Python song. And now spam is something to avoid at all costs. Or, in the case of free spam blockers, at no cost at all. Everything is better when it’s free, right? Such is the case with blocking out annoying spam from your email account, too.

Free spam blockers are popping up all over the internet. Kind of ironic, isn’t it, that some pop-up ads are advertising spam blocking technology. The problem with spam isn’t really the content, of course, it’s the time spent winnowing through all those e-mails in search of the ones that really contain useful information or are from people with whom you want to contact. The best free spam blockers in the world are not only free, but don’t take up any space on your computer. Yes, I’m talking about being very careful to whom you give your e-mail address.

The plain simple truth is that any time you fill out a form that asks for your e-mail address, you are just asking for spam. Maybe the site where you filled out the form sold your address to mass marketers and maybe they didn’t, but chances are if you have ever given your e-mail address to a company rather than an individual, you received spam because of it. And if you’re like most people doing business on the internet, you’re spending anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour and a half just checking your e-mail every day. You don’t have time to wade through the spam pool. That’s why getting yourself one of the reliable free spam blockers out there is so important.

You can almost instantly tell when you’ve come across one of these free spam blockers because of their oh-so-clever name. For instance, Spamhilator, SpamButcher, or SpamKiller. And you want to know a secret? They are almost all exactly alike. Oh sure, there are little differences that may mean a lot to you personally, but frankly it doesn’t matter. The best thing you can do is download them as a trial version—and with so many on the market offering trial versions, it makes no sense to ever download any of the free spam blockers that don’t offer trial versions—and check them out to make sure they do what they promise. And if they do what they promise, do they do it with a minimum amount of fuss and muss and maintenance on you part.

The key to using free spam blockers is maintenance. You got one in the first place to give yourself more time to do what you need to do. So why would you want to use a spam blocker is high maintenance itself? Go through all the free spam blockers that interest you and then narrow them down until you find the one that works completely in the background without throwing out stuff you really need and that doesn’t require you to keep checking up on it. That’s the one you want.

Computers and consumers - understanding avoid identity theft

Computers and Consumers - Understanding & Avoid Identity Theft

The Internet has given over a billion people, worldwide, a way to instantly find information. The number of threats to a consumer’s security increases as the consumer connects with more computers, companies, and people online. The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), the nation’s consumer protection agency, says that all Internet users should understand the importance of online security and should take measures to protect themselves.

Why the Need for Security & How to Protect Yourself

The Computer: Part of a computers sophistication lies in its ability to connect with other computers over the Internet in order to bring you information. When it is connected with other computers, it opens itself up for the transmission of information, which can create vulnerability for the computer. Hackers can connect to the computer, scan it for open ports, and gain access to unauthorized information about the computer user.

Most computers have an Intrusion Detection System (“IDS”) that monitors the computer for suspicious activity. When suspicious activity is detected, the IDS sends an alert that an intrusion has occurred.

An IDS alone will not protect your computer from incoming hackers and viruses. Computer users also need to protect themselves with firewalls, which create a barrier between hackers and the computer and help to prevent access to unauthorized information.

The Computer User: The computer user can also accidentally open doors that will lead to a security breach, such as when the user is using the Internet to make purchases. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, U. S. e-commerce sales for the year 2007 were $136.4 billion. Although the Internet has made shopping a whole lot easier, it has also increased the number of instances of identity theft. A study conducted by the US Department of Justice reports that 6.4 million households experienced some kind of identity theft in 2005. Consumers also open themselves up to increased junk e-mail called SPAM when shopping online. Thankfully, there are ways to minimize your risk when shopping online.

Be careful where you post your personal email address. Consumers using the Internet increase their chances of receiving SPAM e-mail each time they provide their e-mail address to make a purchase. As mentioned earlier, hackers can access consumer information by scanning ports that are not secure. Consumers can help protect themselves by only providing information that is necessary when making the purchase. There are companies designed to help protect consumers from e-commerce identity theft and SPAM.

When providing payment information, consumers should always make sure the site is secure. An easy way to determine whether a site is secure is to look at the web address bar at the top of the screen. The http, which precedes the address, should change to https when checking out on a shopping site. The ‘s’ indicates that the consumer is shopping from a secure page.

Finally, a consumer should avoid using ATM/debit cards to make purchases, as the breach of this information could lead to unauthorized access of the consumer’s bank account information. Use a credit card instead. Most credit card companies will work on behalf of their client, should a hacker steal their credit card information. In many cases, the consumer will only be responsible for $50 of the transactions.

When a consumer shops wisely on the Internet and acts in conjunction with private Internet security sites and the FTC they will decrease the chances of being one of the six million households affected by identity theft.

Two main groups of spam

There are two main types of spam, and they have different effects on Internet users. Cancellable Usenet spam is a single message sent to 20 or more Usenet newsgroups. (Through long experience, Usenet users have found that any message posted to so many newsgroups is often not relevant to most or all of them.) Usenet spam is aimed at lurkers, people who read newsgroups but rarely or never post and give their address away. Usenet spam robs users of the utility of the newsgroups by overwhelming them with a barrage of advertising or other irrelevant posts. Furthermore, Usenet spam subverts the ability of system administrators and owners to manage the topics they accept on their systems.

I think it's possible to stop spam, and that content-based filters are the way to do it. The Achilles heel of the spammers is their message. They can circumvent any other barrier you set up. They have so far, at least. But they have to deliver their message, whatever it is. If we can write software that recognizes their messages, there is no way they can get around that. Email spam targets individual users with direct mail messages. Email spam lists are often created by scanning Usenet postings, stealing Internet mailing lists, or searching the Web for addresses. Email spams typically cost users money out-of-pocket to receive. Many people - anyone with measured phone service - read or receive their mail while the meter is running, so to speak. Spam costs them additional money. On top of that, it costs money for ISPs and online services to transmit spam, and these costs are transmitted directly to subscribers.

The statistical approach is not usually the first one people try when they write spam filters. Most hackers' first instinct is to try to write software that recognizes individual properties of spam. You look at spams and you think, the gall of these guys to try sending me mail that begins Dear Friend or has a subject line that's all uppercase and ends in eight exclamation points. I can filter out that stuff with about one line of code.

But the real advantage of the Bayesian approach, of course, is that you know what you're measuring. Feature-recognizing filters like SpamAssassin assign a spam score to email. The Bayesian approach assigns an actual probability. The problem with a score is that no one knows what it means. The user doesn't know what it means, but worse still, neither does the developer of the filter. How many points should an email get for having the word sex in it? A probability can of course be mistaken, but there is little ambiguity about what it means, or how evidence should be combined to calculate it. Based on my corpus, sex indicates a .97 probability of the containing email being a spam, whereas sexy indicates .99 probability. And Bayes' Rule, equally unambiguous, says that an email containing both words would, in the (unlikely) absence of any other evidence, have a 99.97% chance of being a spam.

How to stop spambots harvesting your email address

: It’s an unfortunate thing, but the internet certainly has its share of unscrupulous people. In my opinion, the worst amongst these are those that deploy software robots to roam the web and harvest email addresses from web pages. These addresses are then collated into huge databases and sold for the purpose of spam. Now we all hate spam and anything that can be done to reduce it is very worthwhile. This is not rocket science and a basic knowledge of html and how to cut and paste will see you protected from the spambots. All we are going to use is a bit of javascript. First, open Notepad or any text editor and then copy and paste the following into the file. /* This script provides for a straightforward email address in a web page. In your web page add the following:- */ function blocker(name) { var domain ="yourdomainname. com"; document. write('' + name + '@' + domain + ''); } /* This script adds a subject field to the email. function blockersubject(name, subject) { var domain ="yourdomainname. com"; document. write('' + name + '@' + domain + ''); } /* This script is for using as an "Email Us" or like in a menu system or on a page. Insert the following in your web page:- function blocker2(name, text) { var domain ="yourdomainname. com"; document. write('' + text + ''); } /* This script allows the adding of a subject, but also displayable text for a menu system. In your web page place the following:- */ function blockersubject2(name, subject, text) { var domain ="yourdomainname. com"; document. write('' + text + ''); } //End of file. Save the file as blocker. js in your document folders because this script can be reused over and over for as many different web pages as you like. You only need to change the variables in the script. To get the scripts to work, there are a couple of things you need to do. I usually create a sub-directory for my javascript and actually call it that. Any javascript for the web page can be stored there. Save a copy of the file blocker. js to this directory and then edit all the variables to suit your site. Now you need to allow the scripts to be called and the web page needs to know where they are. The easiest way to achieve this is to have the information in the section of your document. Before the closing tag, and assuming you have saved the file to a javascript sub-directory, insert the following line of code:- (Insert less than sign)script type="text/javascript" src="javascript/common. js">(insert less than sign)/script> You will just have to make sure that the path to the javascript sub-directory is correct for the document. This is simple if you use Dreamweaver as you can modify the template for your site and it will update all the pages. If you are using php includes, you will need to make sure that the path is correct from your header template through to the javascript directory. A little playing will usually get this sorted out for you. One final thing that you should be aware of and that is that not everyone has javascript turned on. If a visitor hits your page and has javascript turned off then they won’t be able to see your email addresses at all. To resolve this, enter the following code just below the area where the email address is supposed to appear. (Insert less than sign)noscript>

If you are seeing this, then Javascipt is not turned on in your browser and you won’t be able to see our email addresses. They are hidden by Javascript. You can either turn your Javascript on or alternately email us at youraddress at domainname dot com

(insert less than sign)/noscript> Make sure you do not use the @ sign or put the dot in or even type the full email address properly. You will destroy all the good work you’ve done. And there you have it. A simple piece of javascript that will prevent your email address being harvested by the nasty little bots that roam the web.

Spam filter - bayesian filter to fight back spammers

: The most prolific and path breaking innovation of last century had been the developments in the communication field. It literally changed the business working, product marketing, support services and most importantly, the advertisement campaigns. But just like all goods things comes with a price, so was the communication. It brought in the problems of Spam Emails. Automated mailers with mass mailing capabilities, growing marketing dependencies on this tool have seen the large losses in terms of time and money. There have been many ways of targeting spam mails like blacklisted domains, banned IPs, words in subject and many more. The spammers have always found out a way to change their identity. But here is the catch. The spammers are being paid to send the message. They can change their Domains, IPs, subject lines, but how much they can play with the contents? And that’s where content based filtering comes into focus. Now we can understand that by targeting and focusing on message body, there is a better chance of filtering spam emails. Apart from the usual spam emails, the new menace has been created by the "phishing emails" targeting primarily eBay and PayPal accounts. These emails come as a "Last Warning", "Attention Required", "Password Change Required" or "Your account is suspended" among many more. These mails appear to have come from eBay or PayPal and provide a link to their own page. These pages are designed just like the original pages and the unsuspecting user ends up providing his/her sensitive information like username/password or Credit Card Information to these duplicate pages. Here I would like to add one piece of advice to all users that you should always see where the link is taking you by seeing the tool tip and then if sure, follow the link. The role of content in marking the mail spam or not spam has been achieved using the Bayesian filter. Together with the Black List of spammers and White list of trusted emails ids, is the best technique to counter the spam. The most interesting fact is that Spam Filter with Bayesian algorithm is a self learning filter. The more you use, the more secure you shall be within a matter of few days. The spam filter integrate easily with popular emails clients such MS outlook and Outlook Express. With due course, up to 98% of the spam mails can be stopped from entering your Inbox. The Spam Filter for Outlook Express and Spam Filter for Microsoft Outlook, with the features of White List/Black List and properly used Bayesian Algorithm will help prevent spam mails, phishing mails and fraud mails from bothering you further. There has been a considerable increase in the spam mails containing Non English Characters also. The Bayesian Algorithm based Spam Filter also must have the capability to parse non English characters and mark as spam mail. To get rid of continuous spam mails, phishing mails, fraud mails and Non-English mails, you might like to try Official Spam Filter for Outlook Express 1.2 and Official Spam Filter for Microsoft Outlook 1.2. Official Spam Filter has the capability to seamlessly integrate with MS Outlook and Outlook Express and provide following features: •Bayesian Algorithm for Anti Spam Filtering •Auto Learning Bayesian Filter to challenge Spam Emails •White List of Trusted Email Address •Custom Black List •Individual Marking of Spam/Not Spam Emails •Optional feature to block Non-English Emails •Complete Mail Header Information For more information, visit Spam Filter

Seven tips for securing your organization s network from spam and email viruses

Seven tips for securing your organizationґs network from spam and email viruses

Providing security against email related threats has become a burden for most IT professionals in 2006. According to a recent study by Postini, spam and email viruses now make up to 80% of all emails sent out as compared to 50% in 2000. As a result, IT professionals now face a tougher challenge in providing network security for this amount of spam. IT professionals also have the disadvantage of defending against new forms of email threats such as spam zombies, directory harvest attacks, mass mailing trojans, as well as the latest email virus.

In this article, I have listed the seven most effective spam fighting tips for organizations with in-house mail servers. These seven tips are proven techniques I have used for my customers, partners and associates who wish to tighten their perimeter (network) security.

1. Firewall:

A firewall is your first line of defense against hackers, crackers, and spammers. Without a firewall, your network is a disaster waiting to happen and could give any novice hacker free reign over your network. If your organization has multiple Internet users, this tool is essential for securing your network.

2. Block Port 25:

On your firewall, allow outbound traffic on TCP port 25 for all mail servers. Block traffic on outbound TCP port 25 for all other computers and servers. On the Internet, TCP port 25 is used for email traffic through SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol). Blocking this port is a good security practice and prevents mass mailing worms and spam zombies from sending mail from your users’ computers.

3. Managed Email Filtering:

Consider using a managed filtering solution such as Postini, Brightmail, or SpamSoap. Managed Email Filtering services quarantine spam, viruses, and email threats before reaching the email servers on your network. In comparison to desktop filters and server appliances, managed filtering services provide superior perimeter (network) protection by preventing delivery of spam and viruses to your network and servers.

4. Check Relay Setting:

A mail server’s relay setting controls which computers and servers are able to send SMTP email on your organization’s behalf. Check your settings and limit the IP address range to email users on your local network. Some mail servers have settings to limit email relay through authentication. If authentication-based relay is available, setup and configure it too. NOTE: If the relay is not set properly, spammers will be able to send email from your mail server. This exploit is commonly known as an “Open Relay” or a “Spam Relay.” Use the Open Relay test at http://www. abuse. net/relay. htm to check if spammers can relay mail from your server.

5. Black Lists:

Setup your mail server(s) with a black list. A black list (black hole list) is a database or listing of known spam sources. Most modern email servers can be configured to query inbound email against online blacklists. Messages originating from these sources can then be blocked. I recommend configuring your email server with SpamHaus blacklist. Spamhaus. org is an excellent free service to use. Some other good blacklists are DBSL and SpamCop.

6. Reverse DNS:

Reverse DNS (rDNS) associates an IP Address with a Domain Name. Most mail servers, as an anti-spam feature, often use a reverse DNS lookup to compare an email address domain name with its IP address. If the IP address found from the rDNS lookup does not match the domain name, it is probably spam. If you haven’t done so, setup and configure reverse DNS records on your DNS server.

7. Anti-Virus Scan:

There are many tools that provide adequate anti-virus protection for desktops at the workplace. Most anti-virus software is good at detecting viral threats that proliferate email spam such as mass mailing worms, trojans, and directory harvesters. Large organizations might want to use enterprise anti-spam software with management and monitoring tools that will allow tracking of network virus outbreaks.

Recommended Links:

- SPAM-X [Postini service – managed filtering, 1 to 500 users]

- http://www. postini. com [Postini service – managed filtering, 500+ users]

- http://www. spamhaus. org [Blacklist]

- http://www. dbsl. org [Blacklist]

- http://www. spamcop. net [Blacklist]

- http://www. abuse. net/relay. htm [Open relay test]

- http://www. dnsreport. com [DNS report/open relay test]

- http://www. dnsstuff. com [Spam database lookup and open relay test]

- http://www. cnn. com/2004/TECH/ptech/02/17/spam. zombies. ap [Spam Zombie Article]

Email viruses and related threats delivered through spam have cost businesses billions of dollars in expenses and lost productivity. Each spam email sent or received from your domain costs your organization money and bandwidth. By implementing these seven tips, your organization can reduce spam and recover costs.

This article: © Copyright 2006 Todd Green and free for republishing.

How to know if it is a link farm spam page

A link farm is a network of sites that link to other sites for the sole purpose of increasing link popularity. This is when a website gets hundreds of links to unrelated sites in exchange for reciprocal links. This is termed as spamming and any website who relates to link farms is penalized by removal from a search engine’s index.

Backgrounder on Link Farms

Link farms were originally developed by search engine optimizers to take advantage of the Inktomi search engine’s dependence on link popularity. It was targeted for manipulation with the use of link farms because of the fact that it was used by a number of independent but popular search engines. The most popular search engines during that time – Yahoo! also used Inktomi results as a supplement to its own directory search feature. Link farms facilitated the stabilization of listings for online business websites having few natural links from more stable sites.

Link popularity is used by most search engines to come up with a ranking order for search results. However, at the time link farms came to be, the Inktomi engine was maintaining two indexes. The primary index produced search results that are limited to about 100,000,000 listings thus pages with few inbound links fell out of the index on a regular basis. While the handling of link farm exchange was informal at the start, several service companies were eventually founded to handle automated registration, categorization and link page updates to member websites.

The coming of the Google search engine paved the way for the use of a link weighting scheme called PageRank. The PageRank algorithm assigns more weight to links that it determines as more valuable than others. Link farming was used to help member pages to increase their PageRank. This soon became the subject of manipulation by unscrupulous webmasters who continue to receive inbound linkage but found ways to hide outbound links if not totally avoid posting any link at all to their sites. There came a need for link farm managers to implement quality controls and require member compliance to rules that were installed to ensure fairness.

As a result, alternative link farm products emerged such as the link-finding software that identifies potential reciprocal link partners. This made possible the sending of template-based e-mails that offered link exchanges. Directory-like link pages were created for those websites intent on building link popularity as well as PageRank. The link farm movement was actively countered by search engines as they sought to identify specific attributes associated with link farms thus filtering those pages from indexing and search results. There were instances where entire domains had to be removed to prevent the potential influences of link farms on search results.

Link farm-influenced crawling diminished as search engines increased their capacity to index more sites. It became unnecessary for link farms to help sites retain their positions in primary indexes. However, it remained a popular tool to increase PageRank or perceived equivalent values. The Inktomi technology has since become a part of Yahoo! while the term “Link Farm” is now widely considered as derogatory.

There is still an ongoing debate as to the value of using PageRank in determining search results ranking. Reputable search engines are one in recommending that webmasters request for relevant links to their sites instead of participating in link farms. Sites that participate in link farms run the risk of having their search rankings penalized.

Link Farm Spam Page or Not?

Link farms usually refer to sites with an almost boundless list of links to other websites rather than links from page to page within a site. Relevancy to a site is not a major consideration in determining the links as the major purpose of linking is to get a high ranking among search engines. The provisions of good information to users cease to be the goal of these websites as they concentrate on attaining search popularity through the sheer number of links.

When is a specific website said to be participating in a link farm? The current indication seems to be pointing at having not more than 100 links on a page as a safe measure. There are apprehensions of whether having numerous internal links will be interpreted as a link farm.

A link farm is composed of a group of web pages that hyperlink to every other web page in the group. It can be manually created but is most often created through automated programs and services. It is sometimes called spamdexing as it is a form of spamming the index of a search engine. A term that is often associated with it is the “spaghetti code” which is a code with a complex and tangled control structure that uses unstructured branching constructs.

The algorithmic principle that puts emphasis on the voting power of “authority sites” lies behind the manipulated processes of link farms. There is that assumption that related pages link to each other and authoritative pages tend to link to other authoritative pages. Conversely, being linked to spam sites or sites that use Black-Hat SEO degrades the reputation of any site. Association with poorly reputed sites affects a site’s search engine positioning as it stands to be categorized as an irrelevant site.

As spammers continue to go around the valid purpose of linking, the value of reciprocal linking continue to decrease. Too many irrelevant links provide no value and can be seen as spam by human experts and search engines. A link directory with no clear, organized and distinct categories of links can be interpreted as a link farm especially if there are already more than 50 links on a page.

TrustRank is used to counter the various techniques employed to achieve higher rankings than actually deserved in a search engine’s result. It uses a technique that manually identifies reputable seed pages and uses their link structure to discover other pages that are likely to be good as well. It aims to cut down on spam and deliver the real content that is desired by the searcher.

There are a number of ways to ensure that a website’s link directory does not end up being categorized as another form of a link farm. Incorporating a link directory into a website has its own advantages but caution should be taken so as not to have too many outbound links on a page that dilutes its value. If a website’s links are very much varied and tend to be unrelated, they will need to be categorized to become relevant to each other.

The use of clear, concise titles and descriptions for categories will help searchers (humans and search engines’ spiders alike) understand what a particular category is all about so that the measure of relevancy can out rightly be determined. It is not a requirement to agree to all link exchange requests especially if the requesting site cannot be considered a good representation of a site’s theme and values. It is highly recommended that regular follow-up on approved link exchanges is done to determine the status of the links and determine whether continued linkage with them is still acceptable. It is possible that although some links present themselves initially as good links have been banned, gone under, or moved. These are situations beyond anyone’s control so it is best for a website to work hard on keeping its links and contents relevant so as to bring continuous qualified traffic to itself. Link farms may be considered obsolete in a sense but it continuous to pop-up in different forms at present.

Real businesses send spam too

Unsolicited Commercial Email or Spam has grown at epidemic proportions. It is rapidly becoming the number one problem that Information Technology departments deal with on a day-to-day basis, surpassing computer viruses. The volume and percentage of unwanted email received in business and personal email inboxes is starting to overwhelm and drown out legitimate email.

Although the vast majority of this bulk email is being perpetrated by individual spammers and a few large bulk mailers pushing pornography, gambling, get rich schemes, ‘medicinal cures’ and bootleg software, real businesses have been caught in the web also by committing several errors. The three ways a legitimate business falls into the Spam mode are: 1. Legal non-Compliance, 2. Violating Trust, and 3. Lack of Value.

Legal non-Compliance

Through the end of 2003 it was very difficult to comply with Spam laws as twenty six states had passed their own laws dealing either directly with the process of sending unsolicited commercial email or the format requirements of bulk email.

With the passage of the Federal law – “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003” or better known as the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, it has become a lot easier to understand and apply the rules. Real businesses should have no problem complying with all aspects of the law and those that don’t will find themselves in legal jeopardy for significant penalties.

The process components of the law won’t be an issue for real businesses, they don’t fake the reply address, they don’t hijack someone else’s mail server nor do they contain falsified routing information. Where they are likely to fail are in three specific areas.

1) Neglecting to include a valid physical address in the body of the email.

2) Not having a functional Internet-based opt-out mechanism, which must be active for a minimum of 30 days after the email has been sent.

3) Failing to include clear and conspicuous identification that the message is an advertisement or solicitation. Most State laws approached this similar provision by requiring the use of the letters ADV: in the beginning of the subject line. The Federal doesn’t specify how this is to be accomplished; thereby, leaving it open to a wide range of interpretation.

There are several additional areas that are process related that may trip up the sender unintentionally.

1) The sender rents or purchasing a defective email list, for example one that has individuals that have already opted-out of email communications.

2) They use a ‘tricky’ subject line to entice recipients to open the message. Subject lines that stretch the truth could be identified as misleading the purpose of the email and therefore be a violation.

3) Agents or related 3rd parties that have business relationship with the firm send out Spam. This could put the company in jeopardy if it can be proven that they were aware of the related company’s activities.

Although the Federal law isn’t perfect one significant advantage it does offer to real businesses is that there is now only one place they need to go to check the rules before a company embarks onto an email marketing program.

Violating Trust

Trust is one of the major stumbling blocks keeping the publics’ enthusiasm for the Internet in check. And when it comes to providing their email address that is in the eye of the storm. The overwhelming concern people have about providing a company their email address is that it will be shared, loaned, rented, sold or carelessly unprotected. Sharing lists internally between product lines, departments, or divisions and externally with ‘business partners’ stretches the permission basis originally given by the subscriber. When opt-in lists developed at one website are resold to list brokers, real businesses that rent these lists automatically become spammers because recipients are typically applying this litmus test to commercial email they receive: “Email marketing is for product/service information I’ve specifically requested, Spam is sent without asking for it”.

Businesses embarking down the eMarketing path often have in-house databases that include email addresses of suspects, prospects, and clients. The conversion of these lists, developed on a relationship basis, to a formal subscriber list treads a fine line and should be considered very carefully before assuming that permission has been granted.

Lack of Value

Every time you send email to your list members, you will be judged, and in some cases, it may appear to have been done unfairly. In today’s environment subscribers are now becoming annoyed at a variety of shortcomings, such as messages about products they seldom buy, messages that serve the sender more than the recipient, unsubscribe processes that don’t work, ‘hard sell’ messages or even messages in formats that can’t be properly displayed in the recipient’s mail program.

The plain simple truth is that even in a permission email environment, recipients are now applying their own tests for Spam whether they opted in or not. These are natural human reactions to the mailings they receive – it can be as straightforward as “Email marketing is email I like, Spam is email I don’t like.”

How to Fix

Real businesses need to insure that they aren’t jeopardizing their brand name by meeting or exceeding the best practices for email marketing. Auditing the list, evaluating your content and insuring proper conformance with the documentation process in the permission mailing process are the key components to a successful campaign.

Spammers and spam hunters

Sometimes I don't know which people are the worst. Those that spam or those that say they are going after spammers.

I deleted 145 spam posts on one of my blogs today. Fortunately I have moderate comments turned on so they never actually get posted. That makes the spammers bad, but that’s the worst inconvenience spammers have caused me.

However those that supposedly are our Spam saviors. Those that say they are fighting spam have caused me more problems than the spammers themselves.

Sorbs. net lists your domain name as a spam domain name if you happen to be hosted on or near the same IP address as the spammers. Therefore you are guilty by association.

To get your domain name removed off of sorbs. net's list, you have to give them money. Sounds a lot like extortion since they manually add you to the list then ask you for money to be removed.

Then of course they tell you that they give the money to charity. I checked out the charity they say they give the money to. It goes to a legal defense fund they could use to defend themselves if you sued them. Some charity.

Twice now blogger. com has caused me spamconvenience. They have locked me out of one of my own blogs and one I manage for a client because their spambot said it might be spam. It also says that if you are a human reading this message then of course I am not likely a spambot and they will correct the situation.

They did this even though on that blog they require me to type into the little box whatever crazy letters they have in the little graphic to make each post on that same blog.

Half the time the little picture isn't even there. So you cannot type the little letters into the box because the little letters don't exist. So how can they use that method to make sure I am not spamming, then flag it as a spam blog?

However since I get paid to blog daily on the client's blog, my loss of income, that I am sure Google will not reimburse me for, is just that lost income due to the spam fighters.

They did this today to the client's blog. They are reviewing it they say. Like to see that blog? Go to http://hotelsandapartments. blogspot. com It's not spam.

The first time it happened was one day after I created the blog. It had exactly one post in it. Wow, what a spammer I am. They blocked me from logging in but sent me a very nice email, which I had not opted in for, saying they would be glad to review that blog too. They even provided a nice link to where I could fill out a form to request a review.

When I followed their nice link in the unsolicited email, (not spam), they sent me, it asked me to log in using the username and password that THEY HAD ALREADY BLOCKED ME FROM USING!

So that blog had to be rebuilt elsewhere. Again, I have had way more trouble from spam fighters than I ever have had from spammers. Well, that’s all for my rant. Now I have to see if I can get the little picture below to load so I can see what stupid letters I have to type into the box so you can see this post.

Fighting spam

It's been nearly a decade since spammers and their enemies begun evolving competitively. As with the classic cheetah/gazelle model originally formulated by Darwin, each time one group becomes a little faster or more agile, its adversaries develop traits for outwitting and outrunning it.

In addition to wasting people's time with unwanted e-mail, spam also eats up a lot of network bandwidth. Consequently, there are many organizations, as well as individuals, who have taken it upon themselves to fight spam with a variety of techniques. But because the Internet is public, there is really little that can be done to prevent spam, just as it is impossible to prevent junk mail.

Nobody wants it or ever asks for it. No one ever eats it; it is the first item to be pushed to the side when eating the entree. Sometimes it is actually tasty, like 1% of junk mail that is really useful to some people.

The number of unsolicted commercial electronic messages received by the average American in 2001 was 571, according to Jupiter Media Metrix. By 2006, Jupiter says, that number will increase to 1,400, with more than 206 billion spam messages going out over the course of the year. While these numbers are notoriously difficult to calculate, every survey and ISP record points to dramatic increases in spam, sometimes as much as 300 percent year over year. One reliable indicator of the problem's magnitude is the size of the anti-spam effort. The range of tools available to ISPs, enterprises and consumers in the fight against spam grew considerably during the Web bubble. Simultaneously, heavyweight Web marketers and interactive ad players have been scrambling to distinguish their services from the bad guys, as well as to counteract growing calls for government controls on digital marketing.

In one of the biggest such moves, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), through its subsidiary, the Association of Interactive Marketing (AIM), has released online commercial solicitation guidelines in an effort to promote high ethical standards among marketers. The rules require that members let e-mail recipients know how they can refuse future mailings and allow consumers to prevent the sale or rental of their addresses

How anti spam software works

It was not too long ago that email mailboxes were so full of junk mail and spam that they threatened to render electronic communication useless. When you opened up your email you were bombarded with poorly written advertisements for $ex, V! agra, and tons of other intentionally misspelled products, designed to evade any spam blocking devices. Those interested in consumer protection knew the ultimate goal, to eliminate and block spam, but as soon as they created a product designed to do just that, the spammers evaded their efforts by getting more creative. That is, until modern anti spam software was developed. Antispam software comes in a variety of forms, with the obvious ultimate intent of stopping unwanted emails from reaching you.

Blacklist

One of the primary anti spam methods is known as blacklisting. This software identifies the IP address of the spam sender, and then communicates with the Internet Service Provider of the sender and instructs the ISP to block mail from that IP address to your email account. In theory this is a fool proof solution. The reality, however, is that there is a lot of money to be made in spamming, so forcing a spammer to switch his IP address frequently is not too high a price to pay to evade blocking. That said, this practice does, over time, start to close down doors to spammers and all but eliminates amateur spammers who do not have the capability to frequently switch IPs.

Spam Votes

Many individuals who frequently use their email accounts will be familiar with this device. Spam voting software works through the participation of users. When you receive email you have the option of classifying it as spam, usually by pushing a button which says, unsurprisingly, ‘spam’. Once enough people classify a piece of mail or an IP as spam it falls in trust until ultimately it becomes completely blocked from addresses.

Profiling

Profiling involves learning the common characteristics of spammers and spam mail. It is software that looks for things like bugs, invalid message ID’s and other traits and uses these characteristics to evaluate incoming pieces of mail. Each piece of mail is then given a score depending upon how it fares against these criteria. The user is then given the option of how high or how low to set the bar with regard to which emails are let in. This method has been shown to be immensely effective against amateur spammers and many professional spammers. However, it relies upon a ready team of professionals to identify new traits used by spammers and to incorporate those traits into the profiling algorithms.

Bayesian Filtering

The most promising spam blocking software follows no rules. Rather, it constantly learns new techniques to fight spam by scanning the mail you’ve read and comparing it to the mail that you have rejected. This highly sophisticated software uses the data that it gleans from thousands of users to identify which items are spam and which are not. It then has the capability to adjust its standards to your particular preferences. Over time, it becomes adept at sending you only the emails that you want, and blocking the emails that you do not.

Problems with spam learn how to treat it

The first step in your antispam campaign may well be to understand spam and how it works.

Spam is usually defined as unsolicited e-mail that is delivered in bulk. It has become so prevalent because it's cheap, reaches the greatest number of folks in the least amount of time, and because it's unregulated. In the U. S. alone more than 50 million citizens are online, with their own Internet accounts.

For spammers this is an ideal situation. Even were it not to work, there's virtually no punishment other than subsequent inability to spam until a way is found around it. And ways are constantly found around just about everything we do in our antispam campaign. That's not to say you shouldn't try though.

Here are some of the things you can do:

First, don't respond - not even to say, "Hey you not nice person, get off my computer." First, it's a waste of time. As soon as the first batch of spam has been sent that spammer may very well have deleted that email address. It'll just bounce back. The second is that you're not talking to a live person anyway. And any response, no matter how negative, is noted by their system as a response. What this means to the spamming system is, "Hey this guy is interested. He answered our message. Let's send him the second message." If you have a provider that lets you note spam then do so. Block it if you want but that seldom really works. It's worth a shot, though, unless you're limited to the number of blocks you can place at which point you'll be forced to pick and choose.

If your provider allows spammers to get through what is going to happen eventually is that other sites will begin to block your provider if they do in fact police spam. Then you'll have trouble sending and receiving e-mail. That's when you step in and tell your provider that they start blocking spam or you're gone. There's nothing like an irate customer threatening cancellation to spur them into action. If they should not respond by blocking spam, then do follow through and change providers.

The primary principle for preventing spam is to avoid mailing to a list. We're all tempted to organize our emails into lists - business clients, friends, and so forth. Then we mail them all the same message. Saves time and effort. The problem here is not that you sent out one message but you didn't use the software necessary to hide each person's email from the others.

Not only does this set you up for spam but it's also just plain rude. It's like telling all those folks what your sister-in-law's address and phone number is without first asking her if it's okay to tell the buddy of your best friend's high school teacher where she lives. No, it's not. But where spam is concerned what happens is that a few of those folks are undoubtedly going to add everyone whose address they see to their own list, and send it on and on and on ad infinitum. It snowballs, and sooner or later there's a spammer who receives your name and your e-mail address.

Don't sign up with a site that offers you an antispam service. "Sign up with us, they say, and we'll add you to an antispam list." Wrong! They're spammers and you're now on their list.

The economics of spam

Tennessee resident K. C. "Khan" Smith owes the internet service provider EarthLink $24 million. According to the CNN, in August 2001 he was slapped with a lawsuit accusing him of violating federal and state Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statutes, the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984, the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 and numerous other state laws. On July 19, 2002 - having failed to appear in court - the judge ruled against him. Mr. Smith is a spammer.

Brightmail, a vendor of e-mail filters and anti-spam applications warned that close to 5 million spam "attacks" or "bursts" occurred in June 2002 and that spam has mushroomed 450 percent since June 2001. This pace continued unabated well into the beginning of 2004 when the introduction of spam filters began to take effect. PC World concurs.

Between one half and three quarters of all e-mail messages are spam or UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email) - unsolicited and intrusive commercial ads, mostly concerned with sex, scams, get rich quick schemes, financial services and products, and health articles of dubious provenance. The messages are sent from spoofed or fake e-mail addresses. Some spammers hack into unsecured servers - mainly in China and Korea - to relay their missives anonymously.

Starting in 2003, malicious hackers began using spam to install malware - such as viruses, adware, spyware, and Trojans - on the unprotected personal computers of less savvy users. They thus transform these computers into "zombies", organize them into spam-spewing "bots" (networks), and sell access to them to criminals on penumbral boards and forums all over the Net.

Spam is an industry. Mass e-mailers maintain lists of e-mail addresses, often "harvested" by spamware bots - specialized computer applications - from Web sites. These lists are rented out or sold to marketers who use bulk mail services. They come cheap - c. $100 for 10 million addresses. Bulk mailers provide servers and bandwidth, charging c. $300 per million messages sent.

As spam recipients become more inured, ISPs less tolerant, and both more litigious - spammers multiply their efforts in order to maintain the same response rate. Spam works. It is not universally unwanted - which makes it tricky to outlaw. It elicits between 0.1 and 1 percent in positive follow ups, depending on the message. Many messages now include HTML, JavaScript, and ActiveX coding and thus resemble (or actually contain) viruses and Trojans.

Jupiter Media Matrix predicted in 2001 that the number of spam messages annually received by a typical Internet user will double to 1400 and spending on legitimate e-mail marketing will reach $9.4 billion by 2006 - compared to $1 billion in 2001. Forrester Research pegs the number at $4.8 billion in 2003.

More than 2.3-5 billion spam messages are sent daily. eMarketer puts the figures a lot lower at 76 billion messages in 2002. By 2006, daily spam output will soar to c. 15 billion missives, says Radicati Group. Jupiter projects a more modest 268 billion annual messages this year (2005). An average communication costs the spammer 0.00032 cents.

PC World quotes the European Union as pegging the bandwidth costs of spam worldwide in 2002 at $8-10 billion annually. Other damages include server crashes, time spent purging unwanted messages, lower productivity, aggravation, and increased cost of Internet access.

Inevitably, the spam industry gave rise to an anti-spam industry. According to a Radicati Group report titled "Anti-virus, anti-spam, and content filtering market trends 2002-2006", anti-spam revenues were projected to exceed $88 million in 2002 - and more than double by 2006. List blockers, report and complaint generators, advocacy groups, registers of known spammers, and spam filters all proliferate. The Wall Street Journal reported in its June 25, 2002 issue about a resurgence of anti-spam startups financed by eager venture capital.

ISPs are bent on preventing abuse - reported by victims - by expunging the accounts of spammers. But the latter simply switch ISPs or sign on with free services like Hotmail and Yahoo! Barriers to entry are getting lower by the day as the costs of hardware, software, and communications plummet.

The use of e-mail and broadband connections by the general population is spreading. Hundreds of thousands of technologically-savvy operators have joined the market in the last five years, as the dotcom bubble burst. Still, Steve Linford of the UK-based Spamhaus. org insists that most spam emanates from c. 80 large operators.

Now, according to Jupiter Media, ISPs and portals are poised to begin to charge advertisers in a tier-based system, replete with premium services. Writing back in 1998, Bill Gates described a solution also espoused by Esther Dyson, chair of the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

"As I first described in my book 'The Road Ahead' in 1995, I expect that eventually you'll be paid to read unsolicited e-mail. You'll tell your e-mail program to discard all unsolicited messages that don't offer an amount of money that you'll choose. If you open a paid message and discover it's from a long-lost friend or somebody else who has a legitimate reason to contact you, you'll be able to cancel the payment. Otherwise, you'll be paid for your time."

Subscribers may not be appreciative of the joint ventures between gatekeepers and inbox clutterers. Moreover, dominant ISPs, such as AT&T and PSINet have recurrently been accused of knowingly collaborating with spammers. ISPs rely on the data traffic that spam generates for their revenues in an ever-harsher business environment.

The Financial Times and others described how WorldCom refuses to ban the sale of spamware over its network, claiming that it does not regulate content. When "pink" (the color of canned spam) contracts came to light, the implicated ISPs blame the whole affair on rogue employees.

PC World begs to differ:

"Ronnie Scelson, a self-described spammer who signed such a contract with PSInet, (says) that backbone providers are more than happy to do business with bulk e-mailers. 'I've signed up with the biggest 50 carriers two or three times', says Scelson ... The Louisiana-based spammer claims to send 84 million commercial e-mail messages a day over his three 45-megabit-per-second DS3 circuits. 'If you were getting $40,000 a month for each circuit', Scelson asks, 'would you want to shut me down?'"

The line between permission-based or "opt-in" e-mail marketing and spam is getting thinner by the day. Some list resellers guarantee the consensual nature of their wares. According to the Direct Marketing Association's guidelines, quoted by PC World, not responding to an unsolicited e-mail amounts to "opting-in" - a marketing strategy known as "opting out". Most experts, though, strongly urge spam victims not to respond to spammers, lest their e-mail address is confirmed.

But spam is crossing technological boundaries. Japan has just legislated against wireless SMS spam targeted at hapless mobile phone users. Many states in the USA as well as the European parliament have followed suit. Ideas regarding a "do not spam" list akin to the "do not call" list in telemarketing have been floated. Mobile phone users will place their phone numbers on the list to avoid receiving UCE (spam). Email subscribers enjoy the benefits of a similar list under the CAN-Spam Act of 2003.

Expensive and slow connections make mobile phone spam and spim (instant messaging spam) particularly resented. Still, according to Britain's Mobile Channel, a mobile advertising company quoted by "The Economist", SMS advertising - a novelty - attracts a 10-20 percent response rate - compared to direct mail's 1-3 percent.

Net identification systems - like Microsoft's Passport and the one proposed by Liberty Alliance - will make it even easier for marketers to target prospects.

The reaction to spam can be described only as mass hysteria. Reporting someone as a spammer - even when he is not - has become a favorite pastime of vengeful, self-appointed, vigilante "cyber-cops". Perfectly legitimate, opt-in, email marketing businesses and discussion forums often find themselves in one or more black lists - their reputation and business ruined.

In January 2002, CMGI-owned Yesmail was awarded a temporary restraining order against MAPS - Mail Abuse Prevention System - forbidding it to place the reputable e-mail marketer on its Real-time Blackhole list. The case was settled out of court.

Harris Interactive, a large online opinion polling company, sued not only MAPS, but ISPs who blocked its email messages when it found itself included in MAPS' Blackhole. Their CEO accused one of their competitors for the allegations that led to Harris' inclusion in the list.

Coupled with other pernicious phenomena - such as viruses, Trojans, and spyware - the very foundation of the Internet as a fun, relatively safe, mode of communication and data acquisition is at stake.

Spammers, it emerges, have their own organizations. NOIC - the National Organization of Internet Commerce threatened to post to its Web site the e-mail addresses of millions of AOL members. AOL has aggressive anti-spamming policies. "AOL is blocking bulk email because it wants the advertising revenues for itself (by selling pop-up ads)" the president of NOIC, Damien Melle, complained to CNET.

Spam is a classic "free rider" problem. For any given individual, the cost of blocking a spammer far outweighs the benefits. It is cheaper and easier to hit the "delete" key. Individuals, therefore, prefer to let others do the job and enjoy the outcome - the public good of a spam-free Internet. They cannot be left out of the benefits of such an aftermath - public goods are, by definition, "non-excludable". Nor is a public good diminished by a growing number of "non-rival" users.

Such a situation resembles a market failure and requires government intervention through legislation and enforcement. The FTC - the US Federal Trade Commission - has taken legal action against more than 100 spammers for promoting scams and fraudulent goods and services.

"Project Mailbox" is an anti-spam collaboration between American law enforcement agencies and the private sector. Non government organizations have entered the fray, as have lobbying groups, such as CAUCE - the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail.

But, a few recent anti-spam and anti-spyware Acts notwithstanding, Congress is curiously reluctant to enact stringent laws against spam. Reasons cited are free speech, limits on state powers to regulate commerce, avoiding unfair restrictions on trade, and the interests of small business. The courts equivocate as well. In some cases - e. g., Missouri vs. American Blast Fax - US courts found "that the provision prohibiting the sending of unsolicited advertisements is unconstitutional".

According to Spamlaws. com, the 107th Congress, for instance, discussed these laws but never enacted them:

Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail Act of 2001 (H. R. 95), Wireless Telephone Spam Protection Act (H. R. 113), Anti-Spamming Act of 2001 (H. R. 718), Anti-Spamming Act of 2001 (H. R. 1017), Who Is E-Mailing Our Kids Act (H. R. 1846), Protect Children From E-Mail Smut Act of 2001 (H. R. 2472), Netizens Protection Act of 2001 (H. R. 3146), "CAN SPAM" Act of 2001 (S. 630).

Anti-spam laws fared no better in the 106th Congress. Some of the states have picked up the slack. Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The situation is no better across the pond. The European parliament decided in 2001 to allow each member country to enact its own spam laws, thus avoiding a continent-wide directive and directly confronting the communications ministers of the union. Paradoxically, it also decided, in March 2002, to restrict SMS spam. Confusion clearly reigns. Finally, in May 2002, it adopted strong anti-spam provisions as part of a Directive on Data Protection.

Responding to this unfavorable legal environment, spam is relocating to developing countries, such as Malaysia, Nepal, and Nigeria. In a May 2005 report, the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) warned that these countries lack the technical know-how and financial resources (let alone the will) to combat spam. Their users, anyhow deprived of bandwidth, endure, as a result, a less reliable service and an intermittent access to the Internet;

"Spam is a much more serious issue in developing countries...as it is a heavy drain on resources that are scarcer and costlier in developing countries than elsewhere" - writes the report's author, Suresh Ramasubramanian, an OECD advisor and postmaster for Outblaze. com.

ISPs, spam monitoring services, and governments in the rich industrialized world react by placing entire countries - such as Macedonia and Costa Rica - on black lists and, thus denying access to their users en bloc.

International collaboration against the looming destruction of the Internet by crime organizations is budding. The FTC had just announced that it will work with its counterparts abroad to cut zombie computers off the network. A welcome step - but about three years late. Spammers the world over are still six steps ahead and are having the upper hand.

How to reduce spam in your inbox and enhance your email security

Spam is the internet’s equivalent of junk mail. Spam is defined as an e-mail message sent to people without their consent or permission. Addresses of recipients are often harvested from Usenet postings or web pages, obtained from databases, or simply guessed by using common names and domains.

Spam is sent to promote practically any product or service ranging from “Adult” products to logo design for websites. It is also used by hackers to spread viruses or links to dangerous websites used to gather your personal information like credit card details or passwords for sites like Ebay or PayPal. To the average user these messages appear genuine. Even the link has a genuine looking domain name. This technique is known as “Phishing.”

Here are some smart strategies and tips you can employ now to start reducing Spam and boost your email security.

- Configure your anti virus software to automatically scan your incoming email for viruses. Email is still widely used to distribute malicious software. Make sure you keep your anti virus software definitions up to date.

- If you are someone that frequently signs up for “freebies” or other stuff on the internet start using a separate e-mail account just for this purpose. Accounts from providers like Yahoo!, Hotmail, and Google’s Gmail all come with generous storage as standard.

- If sites don’t accept free e-mail address from the services listed above then use a free disposable email service like Sneakemail - http://www. sneakemail. com.

- If you are posting your email to a blog or your website then submit it in a way that is only recognizable to a human. For example if your email is [email protected] com then post it as “johndoe at hotmail. com”.

- Never open a message from an address you do not recognize – always delete it straight away. This is especially so if there is an attachment. Never reply to a message as this only confirms the email address is “live” to the spammers.

- If you get an official looking message from your bank or Ebay or another site you are not sure is genuine here is what you do. Instead of clicking on the link embedded in the mail log on to the site normally via your browser. If there are any genuine serious problems you should get a message when you log on. Alternatively contact the site’s customer service via the phone if possible.

- Consider using standalone spam filtering software. This software analyses your email for common characteristics of spam email including words like “click” or “teens.” It also compares senders’ emails against a “Friends List.” Try Mailwasher for free here - http://www. mailwasher. net.

Simple steps to defeating spam

GMail SPAM filter is fighting a losing battle. I am doing some ANTI-SPAM testing. For the past 4 months I have been very public with my Gmail email address, signing up for newsletters, using it on forms, and sharing it publicly on forums, blogs, and discussion boards. I expected to get SPAMMED to death, that's exactly what's beginning to happen. Everyday, I receive about 20 junk emails. I know that is small, but for someone who is use to never seeing SPAM in their inbox, it's a quite bit.

I did this sort of testing, once before with Yahoo! Mail, and I took the time to get rid of all my SPAM (from coming into the inbox). I'll share my secret.

1. First, you should have 3 email addresses; (@.hotmail, @.yahoo, @.gmail). These 3 email addresses should represent your public (personal) email address, your business email address, and your spam catcher). Remember the less you publicly use your email address, the less SPAM you'll have.

2. If you wish to use your public or business email address, each site you travel to, (which you plan or must share your email address) you should check the site Privacy Policy. You don't have to study the policy, but finger through it and see what their policy is about sharing your information. If the policy doesn't have this clause or the site doesn't have a Privacy Policy (visibly linked) then be skeptical and assume this site plans to share your information. Many sites claim to be legit and have a privacy policy in place, but through the backdoor they sell your information, so never put all trust into the privacy policy, just make good judgment. The best thing about managing your SPAM is that you can speculate how someone got your email address, because your amount of SPAM is down to a minimum and you are securely managing your email address. Any place you need to enter your email address and you feel skeptical about using your public or business email address then you should enter your spam catcher email.

3. Your public (personal) email address should be used for public trusted sources, such as: on forums, discussion boards which you frequent. You should use this address only on sites which you trust and visit on a day-to-day or occasional basis. Your public email address should be used for sign-up forms (only sites you want information from). Your public email address should also be used to subscribe to newsletters which you initiate. Your public (personal) email address should be your most commonly used email address for basic day-to-day communication. This is the email address you should share with family, friends, and co-workers.

4. Your business email address should be used for business contacts. In fact, your business email should NOT be a free email address, it should be an email address with your company, your website, or your business name (example: @.yourcompanyname. com). If you don't have a company, business, or website then use a free email address and make this your email address for professional purposes, such as putting this email on your resume, etc. This should be for extremely trusted sources. You should only share your business email address with individuals you connect with one-on-one on a professional or business level. Example: You shouldn't share this email address with the customer service staff of a company, but you should share this email address with the CEO of the company. This is your exclusive email address. In some instances you may share your business email address with the customer service staff, but the source should be trusted and you should make good judgment. Example: If the company plans to send you sensitive information via email, like money market account information. Your business email can be used for signing up at sites which you will use your credit card and is a highly respectable and honest site, world renown. This email should only be used with those whom you trust with your information and trust will not share or send you advertisements. You should only use this email address to get company related information or information which directly affects you or your business on a consumer or business level. You should NEVER publish your business email address on any website, forum, discussion board, or any other publicly available media.

5. Your spam catcher email address is the email address you should use at any time you feel skeptical, when you don't trust a site, or when a site doesn’t provide you information that you wish to receive. Many sites have products, programs, or services which you want, but to register or to move forward you must enter an email address (and most of the time the email address must be valid and confirmed), therefore you should have a spam catcher email address, for non-trusted sources. Using your spam catcher email address you could easily register at any site while using a valid email address, which you can log into and confirm the authenticity of the email addresses.

6. Use the 'Report Spam' feature of your email client. Most online and now even software (local install) email clients have a 'Report Spam' feature which blocks the delivery of future mail from the sender. It is important to make good use of this feature, because it will help keep your inbox free of unwanted mail. The only email addresses you are worried about receiving spam from is your personal email address and business email address, the spam catcher email address should not be an account you log into daily, you should only log into your spam catcher email address to confirm an email. At this point you shouldn't receive any spam into your business email address account, if you followed the steps above, but if you do then make sure you use the 'Report Spam' feature so you can block future delivery. Use the 'Report Spam' feature immediately when you receive spam so there is no delay and to be sure you don't miss a spam message. In your personal email address account you will probably receive spam messages or unwanted mail, if you do then make sure you use the 'Report Spam' feature each time you receive a piece of unwanted mail, within a few months and good email address management (following the steps above) you should never or rarely see any spam coming into your inbox.

If you receive any mail into your inbox, then make sure you use the "Report Spam" feature within the email client. This should soon eliminate any mail you do not wish to have. Following the steps above is imperative to getting a good clean inbox. Managing your email address is ultimately your responsibility and you should know who you share your information with. Most people use only one email address for all their communication, this technique is not the best option. You should use at least 3 email addresses adhering to the steps above. You can simply log into one account, your personal email address or your business email address and just have the email from the other forwarded to the account you log into most. You can also send email from the account under either your personal or business email address. Setting up forwarders and multiple sender accounts is not a hard task in the 3 major online email clients. For some additional steps may need to be taken, like with Yahoo! you must have a paid account to forward your email, but from Gmail you can automatically forward your email where you like for FREE. So, if you forward your Gmail email to your Yahoo! account and setup multiple accounts within your Yahoo! Account then you are in good shape. Use the Hotmail account as your spam catcher. This is just a thought, but you can set it up any way you like, its your preference. Currently, I have a paid Yahoo! account and I use my Yahoo! account as my business email address. I use my Gmail account as my personal email, and I use my Hotmail account as my spam catcher. My Yahoo! mail is forwarded directly to my Gmail account, and I have a sender account setup in my Gmail account, which will send mail as my Yahoo! email address. I use Gmail Notify and know instantly whenever I receive new mail from either my public (personal) or business email address. I rarely log into my Hotmail account, only to confirm an email or just to login so my account doesn’t close. This proactive approach has kept my inbox clean for years and now I’m sure it will help you with your fight against SPAM!

If you do research on the web you really need an internet spam filter

Spam has got to be one of the most annoying things on the Internet today. I remember when pop-ups first came on the scene, every website I went to was inundated with tons of pop-ups, I hated them, and I'm sure I wasn't alone. Spam flooded the Internet with so many copies of the same messages, it's a very shameful attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. Most spam is commercial advertising of get-rich-quick schemes, or products for younger looking skin. There are basically two types of spam and they affect Internet users differently. Cancelable Usenet spam is a single message sent to many Usenet spam is aimed at people who read newsgroups but rarely or never post and give their address away. Usenet spam robs users of the utility of the newsgroups by overwhelming them with a barrage of advertising or other irrelevant posts. Email spam is another type of spam that targets individual users with direct mail messages. Email spam lists are usually created by scanning Usenet postings and stealing Internet mailing lists, or searching for Web addresses. What ever IT is, it's not wanted and thank goodness there are plenty of websites were they will allow you to download free spam blockers.

Internet spam filters are a good way to block those pesky spam pop-ups, in fact, without them, there really is no way to get from website to website without Internet spam filters today. Even with spam filters, some pop-up can still get through. However, most Internet spam filters can recognize more than 98% of all incoming spam. There are Plugins that can be installed on your computer that will increase your Internet spam filters to the program. A Spamihilator does just what it says, it annihilates spam and e-mail spam. Most are freeware applications that works in conjunction with other Internet spam filters and some will send you a daily report by e-mail if you want that will tell you how much spam you receive during that day while you were online. This way, you can restore false-positives or add the senders to your friends or block them completely. You can create your own language file by editing an XML file. There are many good Internet spam filters you can trust to download on your computer today. It is a Federal offense for anyone who knowingly, with the intent to carry on any activity which would be a Federal or State crime of fraud or identity theft. Also in one “creates or procures the creation of a website or domain name that represents itself as a legitimate online business, without the authority or approval of the registered owner of the actual website or domain name of the legitimate online business and uses that website or domain name shall be fined under this title or imprisoned up to five years or both.

What is spam

You have probably seen an increase in the amount of junk mail which shows up in your email box, or on your favorite newsgroup. The activities of a small number of people are becoming a bigger problem for the Internet.

Chain letters that ask for money, whether for reports or just straight up, are illegal in the US whether they are in postal mail or e-mail. Report these frauds to your local US Postmaster. You may see e-mail coming from Nigeria or another African country, sent by someone who wants to use your bank account to transfer 20 million dollars. This is called a '419' scam and people have been killed over it.

Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. Most spam is commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services. Spam costs the sender very little to send -- most of the costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender. To the recipient, spam is easily recognizable. If you hired someone to read your mail and discard the spam, they would have little trouble doing it. How much do we have to do, short of AI, to automate this process? I think we will be able to solve the problem with fairly simple algorithms. In fact, I've found that you can filter present-day spam acceptably well using nothing more than a Bayesian combination of the spam probabilities of individual words. Using a slightly tweaked (as described below) Bayesian filter, we now miss less than 5 per 1000 spams, with 0 false positives.

One particularly nasty variant of email spam is sending spam to mailing lists (public or private email discussion forums.) Because many mailing lists limit activity to their subscribers, spammers will use automated tools to subscribe to as many mailing lists as possible, so that they can grab the lists of addresses, or use the mailing list as a direct target for their attacks.

Digging into spam and filtering services

If you talk to anyone who uses email, spam is something that is frequently on there mind. How often is it that you open your inbox checking for an email from your mom, and you end up with emails with subjective titles involving animals, and foreign objects.

There are ways to fight back against Spam, and one of the most popular is through the use of a spam filtering service. There is all different types of spam, and surprisingly not all of them involve email. Most spamming involves the advertising or otherwise promotion of a product, however this is not true in some cases.

Most common types of spamming include: Email spam, Link spam and search engine spam.

Email Spam is the simple act of sending out massive amounts of 'junk email' to anyone and everyone, in order to promote a product. Often times spamming has been exploited by more 'undergorund' industries such as the adult industry, but it would be unfair to say that other industries haven't used it as well.

Link Spam is a form of spamming or spamdexing that recently became publicized most often when targeting the increasingly popular weblogs. Weblogs is one of the biggest problems, however link spam also affects guestbooks, and online discussion boards. The purpose behind spamming these various places, is to display hyperlinks to a various page or product, which helps both with user exposure and search engine popularity.

Search engine spam is usually closely related with the above "link spam", as it is the process of creating countless numbers of pages, that populate search engines. Often times these pages will be full of garbage text and have no real value on there own. When a user visits them, they will either be re-directed to a completely different page, often times on another domain, or show prominent advertising.

Everyone can take their part in removing spam. The easiest way for a general user to not encourage spam, is not to use it. Spammers only spam, because it must be effective, otherwise they would find something better to do with their time. It is also recommended to get various levels of personal spam protection, which is often times included with anti-virus software. 3rd party solutions such as Hotmail, have very good spam detection, however often times spam will leak in, and in that case you can help hotmail out by notifying them of the occurence, so that they can better help protect you next time.

Phishing it s signs and your options

Phishing is the act of some individual sending an email to a user in an attempt to scam the user to release personal information. Is it easy to determine if it’s a scam? Sometimes – but not always. I hope to give you enough examples and information to help you to safeguard yourself from these unsavory individuals.

In addition, sometimes the email is sent to malicious software so as to render your computer helpless. Thus, it is important that you do not click on the link they provide, because that is the trigger that will load the software to your system.

EXAMPLES OF PHISHING

You receive hundreds of emails in your mailbox, but one email catches your eye – it directs you to a website, requesting that you need to update your personal information. It requests such personal information as:

passwords

credit card numbers

social security number

bank account numbers

“It appears to be legitimate”, you say to yourself. And you also notice that the emails are from companies that you have been doing business with for a while. Warning: The website could be bogus.

Here are several examples of phishing in action.

1. E-mails stating they are from E-bay and they feel that your account may have been compromised and would like you to verify your information with they so conveniently supply. DO NOT click on it.

2. E-mails from Paypal or your bank asking that you verify your information because they feel that your account has been compromised, or heaven forbid, suspended. Same scenario, different company. DO NOT click on the link.

3. E-mail that states that an unauthorized transaction has occurred on your account. Please click the link below and confirm your identity. DO NOT.

4. Here’s a work at home scam – We have seen your resume on Monster and feel you would fit our position. If you are interested, please go to our website, look over the experience required and submit your resume if you have this background. Website is professional looking, offer looks good – but it could be a scam.

WHAT ARE THEY AFTER

In the above examples they are after information about you, be it passwords, credit cards, social security numbers, anything that can identify you – and that which they can use to profit from you.

The job email is used to verify that the email address is a true blue, active email address. What do they do with this info – they sell these accounts to spammers for good money. They need to verify your email address—because if the spammers come up empty – this person’s business is dead.

HOW TO VERIFY SAFELY

1. If they want you to verify your account, do not cut and paste, or use the link they provide in the email. Close your Internet session, open a new session and enter the site that you have on record to verify.

2. Emails requesting resumes – Verify their account before you send your resume. When verifying – these red flags should be considered:

1) If they are hesitant to provide a phone number – might be a scam. 2) If their business address is not verifiable – might be a scam. 3) If the website is new – might be a scam. 4) If they use a large company’s name—and that company never heard of them – might be a scam.

5) Again, verify this information before you send your resume.

WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Here are some quick tips to protect you and your computer system.

1. Use anti-virus software and a firewall – keep them up to date.

2. If you have a broadband connection make sure you have a firewall in place.

3. Don’t email personal or financial information.

4. Before providing personal information – search to see if the site is secure – look for a lock icon. However, remember not all phishers are stupid – in fact, they could be computer savvy enough to forge security icons. Thus, look for a site whose link looks like this: https://www. somename. com -- this shows that it is a secure site.

5. Coupons from respected companies – Verify that it is a true-blue coupon from the company – I had one coupon sent to my email address from what I thought was Staples. Verified it with Staples – not a coupon honored by Staples. When on the Internet – if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it still may not be a duck!

6. When making transactions on the Internet – be it online banking, Paypal, Internet Gold, etc. – complete your transaction, log out of the website, and close out of your Internet Explorer—and then continue with a new session of Internet Explorer.

WHERE TO FORWARD SPAM THAT IS PHISHNG

If you encounter spam that is phishing, or are a victim of a phishing scam, you can forward the information to [email protected] gov and to the company, bank or organization that the email may have stated they are from. In many cases, the other organizations have information on their website where you can report the attempted scam.

In addition, if you have been scammed, and you wish to file a complaint – go to ftc. gov.

To conclude, no one is immune to spam or a scam. But try to be ever vigilant and do your due diligence with anything you do on the Internet. But being human is a scammer’s hope – they know that most will ignore the bait, but some will be tempted. So, if you so humanly slip, and succumb to a phishing scam, you can report them to ftc. gov.

Spam where it came from and how to escape it

: Who Cooked This!? (How did it all start?) The modern meaning of the word "spam" has nothing to do with spiced ham. In the early 1990's, a skit by British comedy group Monty Python led to the word's common usage. "The SPAM Skit" follows a couple struggling to order dinner from a menu consisting entirely of Hormel's canned ham. Repetition is key to the skit's hilarity. The actors cram the word "SPAM" into the 2.5 minute skit more than 104 times! This flood prompted Usenet readers to call unwanted newsgroup postings "spam." The name stuck. Spammers soon focused on e-mail, and the terminology moved with them. Today, the word has come out of technical obscurity. Now, "spam" is the common term for "Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail", or "UCE." Why Does Bad Spam Happen to Good People? Chances are, you've been spammed before. Somehow, your e-mail address has found it's way into the hands of a spammer, and your inbox is suffering the consequences. How does this happen? There are several possibilities. Backstabbing Businesses. Businesses often keep lists of their customers' e-mail addresses. This is a completely legitimate practice and, usually, nothing bad comes of it. Sometimes though, the temptation to make a quick buck is too great, and these lists are sold or rented to outside advertisers. The result? A lot of unsolicited e-mail, and a serious breach of trust. Random Address Generation. Computer programs called random address generators simply "guess" e-mail addresses. Over 100 million hotmail addresses exist - howhard could it be to guess some of them? Unfortunately for many unsuspecting netizens - not too hard. Many spammers also guess at "standard" addresses, like "[email protected] com", "[email protected] com", and "[email protected] com." Web Spiders. Today's most insidious list-gathering tools are web spiders. All of the major search engines spider the web, saving information about each page. Spammers use tools that also spider the web, but save any e-mail address they come across. Your personal web page lists your e-mail address? Prepare for an onslaught! Chat Room Harvesting. ISP's offer vastly popular chat rooms where users are known only by their screen names. Of course, spammers know that your screen name is the first part of your e-mail address. Why waste time guessing e-mail addresses when a few hours of lurking in a chat room can net a list of actively-used addresses? The Poor Man's Bad Marketing Idea. It didn't work for the phone companies, and it won't work for e-mail marketers. But, some spammers still keep their own friends-and-family-style e-mail lists. Compiled from the addresses of other known spammers, and people or businesses that the owner has come across in the past, these lists are still illegitimate. Why? Only you can give someone permission to send you e-mail. A friend-of-a-friend's permission won't cut it. Stop The Flood to Your Inbox. Already drowning in spam? Try using your e-mail client's filters - many provide a way to block specific e-mail addresses. Each time you're spammed, block the sender's address. Spammers skip from address to address, and you may be on many lists, but this method will at least slow the flow.

Also, use more than one e-mail address, and keep one "clean." Many netizens find that this technique turns the spam flood into a trickle. Use one address for only spam-safe activities like e-mailing your friends, or signing on with trustworthy businesses. Never use your clean address on the web! Get a free address to use on the web and in chat rooms. If nothing else helps, consider changing screen names, or opening an entirely new e-mail account. When you do, you'll start with a clean, spam-free slate. This time, protect your e-mail address! Stay Off Spammed Lists in the Future. Want to surf the web without getting sucked into the spam-flood? Prevention is your best policy. Don't use an easy-to-guess e-mail address. Keep your address clean by not using it for spam-centric activities. Don't post it on any web pages, and don't use it in chat rooms or newsgroups. Before giving your clean e-mail address to a business, check the company out. Are sections of its user agreement dedicated to anti-spam rules? Does a privacy policy explain exactly what will be done with your address? The most considerate companies also post an anti-spam policy written in plain English, so you can be absolutely sure of what you're getting into. Think You're Not a Spammer? Be Sure. Many a first-time marketer has inadvertently spammed his audience. The first several hundred complaints and some nasty phone messages usually stop him in his tracks. But by then, the spammer may be faced with cleanup bills from his ISP, and a bad reputation that it's not easy to overcome. The best way to avoid this situation is to have a clear understanding of what spam is: If anyone who receives your mass e-mails did not specifically ask to hear from you, then you are spamming them. Stick with your gut. Don't buy a million addresses for $10, no matter how much the seller swears by them! If something sounds fishy, just say no. You'll save yourself a lot in the end. The Final Blow. The online world is turning the tide on spam. In the end, people will stop sending spam because it stops working. Do your part: never buy from a spammer. When your business seeks out technology companies with which to work, only choose those with a staunch anti-spam stance. Spam has a long history in both the food and e-mail sectors. This year, Hormel Foods opened a real-world museum dedicated to SPAM. While the museum does feature the Monty Python SPAM Skit, there's no word yet on an unsolicited commercial e-mail exhibit. But, if all upstanding netizens work together, Hormel's ham in a can will far outlive the Internet plague that is UCE.

How do anti spam solutions work

We have all suffered from these annoying dangerous spam emails. Most of us still do. There are excellent anti spam solutions in the market, there is no reason to tolerate this no more.

To understand the solution we must first understand the problem. So, what is this spam email? Spam is unsolicited, unwanted, irrelevant or inappropriate email. Spam email is mostly used for commercial purposes. Spam emails are also known as “junk mails”.

So, why do people are constantly searching for the best spam blockers? Why do the market of anti spam solution rolls billions of dollars a year? Well, these spam emails are time consuming and are annoying. But, more than that, they cost a lot of money. Why? First, because time is money. But more than that, billions of spam emails are loading lots of unnecessary data over the servers.

Therefore, big software companies constantly develop anti spam solutions, spam blockers and email spam filters.

Anti spam solutions basically do one or more of the following things:

1. Anti spam solutions check the senders’ names and addresses and filter the spam emails according to a black list of spammers they own and update.

2. Anti spam solutions check the recipients’ names and addresses and according to certain parameters, they filter the emails. Fr example, if the mail is sent to a large group sorted alphabetically, the email is considered spam.

3. Anti spam solution scan the emails (Their subject and body) and search for certain words or phrases such as “Viagra” and filter the spam email accordingly.

There are many kinds of anti spam solutions such as anti spam lotus, anti spam exchange 5.5, anti spam for outlook express and others. Some work on the server layer and some on the client layer. But basically, they all do the same job - Make your life better.

The threat of spam and basic preventative measures

Everyone who uses the internet has more than likely been targets of spam at one time or another. At first they are easy to dismiss for internet experienced persons, however for the inexperienced user of the internet, the messages contained can sometimes be intimidating and in some instances lead to trouble (I will come onto a personal example later).

Spam can take several forms; email and search engine spam are just two, but the one we will concentrate on in this article, and also the one you will, and have most likely encountered, is via email.

Spam is defined as unsolicited bulk mail, much of which is caught in your “bulk” or “trash” folder found in your email service provider control panel. You have probably often seen a mass of these types of emails in you bulk folders when checking for email that you actually have consented to receive, as many emails are caught by spam filters even though they should not. The majority of spam you may receive will be of a sexual or gambling nature, however over the past few months I have noticed an ever-increasing number of scam emails asking for sensitive information, claiming to be someone they are not.

Paypal and eBay scams are a prime example of these types of emails known as “phishing scam emails”. The email will be along the lines of:

“We have noticed an irregularity in your account details and require you to update them immediately. Failure to do so will result in the permanent closure of your account”

You can see how these emails can be pretty alarming to an inexperienced internet user who may only occasionally use the internet to sell or buy items on eBay for example. Some of the emails will look very convincing, and will use the images and symbols of the respective company, however be very cautious and take heed to the following important point:

If you are unsure of the legitimacy of the email, do not follow any link contained within the email to an external website. Instead, type the website address that you know is correct into your browser directly, so that you are safe in the knowledge that you are not using a fraudulent website.

Failure to do this may result in your account being hijacked by the scammer; it’s as easy as this. You follow the link in the email to a website claiming to be, and also looking very much like one where you have an account. The website will ask you to input your username and password to access your account and voila, you will have now sent this information to the scammer, allowing them access to your account containing sensitive information about you.

Another type of email scam that has been very popular is where you are notified to be the very lucky winner of a lottery, even though you have never entered the lottery in the location claiming your success! This is where the example of a personal experience comes in. Many people reading this will be thinking “I’ll never fall for one of these scams”, however the unfortunate reality is that many people will do so. An elderly relative of mine received one of these lottery scams from Spain, and then insisted on following up with the email scam, even though they had never even entered the lottery draw. The only stumbling block was that the bank account details required, needed to be sent by fax, which she couldn’t do, and despite the frustration that this caused I of course refused to help send it.

There are measures that you can take to help avoid being targeted by spammers; a few have been mentioned here. However, in addition never reply to a scam email as it will notify them that the email address is live and also that you have read the email, leading to further spam.

Of course there are many other threats from spam that are not discussed here, such as viruses and trojans being sent via email attachments. More details on spam can be found here: www. spam-blocker-online. com.

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