Junk emails or spam fill our inboxes more than ever before. A lot of precious time is wasted each day reading and deleting those unwanted messages. It's important today to understand spam and the ways to counter it.
In this digital age an email address has become an identity of sorts for people logged on to the net. Well, things are not always rosy when it comes to email.
So, on the one hand you've IT companies which are always exploring ways to make your email experience both fun and professional, on the other there are those who steal your email IDs and sell them to potential advertisers.
The end result is obvious! Your mailbox is bombarded with all sorts of promotional mails, ranging from ads to money transfers. In the end you are left scratching your head - all you wanted was a fast and simple way to communicate!
How to prevent email spam
Spam today has evolved into a new industry altogether. The IT security companies are busy with their anti-spam research and offerings, and so do the businesses involved in trading of email databases.
As a result even the not so frequent email-users are getting a taste of this nuisance in their inbox. Let's quickly go through some of the practical measures you can take to avoid spam.
- "Prevention is better than cure" goes for spam as well. You would be better off spending some time on the ways you can stop junk mails from entering your mailbox in the first place.
- A case of multiple IDs: Your email is your digital identity so there's no physical form attached to it. So you have to be careful when you use it.
The best possible turnaround is to have separate IDs, which you can use for different purposes. So now you've an email address which you use for your profession (your college/school account), one for friends and family, and one for public use.
Using different service providers for different sets of people makes it easier to remember and avoid junk emails where you want them the least.
- A little prudence at work: Almost all the free email service providers today are offering big storage space for your emails. Always remember free comes with a price.
- People have this habit of freely giving their mobile numbers and email IDs. End result is that you have both unwanted calls and emails. The easy way out is to share your personal information with only reliable sources.
- Never respond to unwanted emails no matter how enticing they may look. Beware, a reply is enough proof that your email address is functional and it could soon become part of the huge database that criminals prepare and then make money by selling it.
- Tension free addresses: There is a solution which can cut down your worries drastically, but, still not very popular. The idea is pretty simple; you've certain websites offering you time dependent (seconds, minutes, hour, days) email IDs. They are destroyed after the designated period elapses, so use them on the public domains. They come in handy when you've to register just for the heck of it. Some of the better ones are: www.10minutemail.com, www.mailinator.com, www.pookmail.com, and www.spam.la.
What if your inbox is already a victim of spam or you've lost patience with the manual procedures of cleaning it up?
The answer is simpl; install an anti-spam solution. A spam filter has to make sure you get 100 per cent of the email you want and blocks 100 per cent of the email you don't want, or it hasn't solved your problem.
But no spam filter can do that. Why? Because spam filters try to guess which email you want and don't want.
Some of the filters which guess exactly that - and quite accurately also- are:
- Trend Micro Anti-Spam Pilot
- Ella for Spam Control
My advice is simple: get an effective spam filter installed but at the same time follow the basic precautionary measures discussed earlier.
(The article was first published by Gulf News.)