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Introduction to Spam and Anti-spam

Spam is a word that you would have come across if you were a computer literate. If you are a person who is using emails for communication then you should have heard this term definitely.

What is a spam, what word spam means?

The word spam means junk mails. The unsolicited emails that are received by any person in his / her mailbox are called spam. These junk mails are usually sent in bulk for advertising and marketing some products.

Lots of space in your mailbox is occupied by these junk mails. Sometimes it eats up your valuable space so that the genuine mails are bounced back to the sender if the whole lot of space is occupied by the junk mails. Hence there comes a necessity to filter out those junk mails from your mailbox.

Characteristics of Spam

Just by looking at the emails that you receive you may notice that some of the emails are not meant for you. Although they have been addressed to you, you may know that the sender is unknown to you and the subject of the email is something that you have not expected. Such emails in your inbox are spam. These spam are meant to promote some product or service. It is easy for a human to go through the mails that they have received and identify them as spam although it is a tough job for the software that are meant to filter spam.

How spam affect to the normal e-mail communication?

Spam affects the normal email communications in many ways. The spam puts unnecessary load on the network traffic. It is not possible to reduce this load anyway. Moreover if you get lot of spam in your inbox it takes a lot of time to clear those junk emails. This takes away lot of your precious time in clearing your inbox. There is need to search your inbox if you are to reply to some important email immediately.

How to recognize a typical spam?

Spams are being sent out in a clever manner as days pass out. Some of the easy ways to identify a spam are to look for the following signs in the email that is sent to your inbox. The subject line of the emails would be very bad and they mostly have grammatical errors and spelling errors. This is clearly an indication of a spam. Some junk letters in an inappropriate combination would be seen in the subject line. An example of this would be something like “FW:FA:STE:RE:CT:USTemucut“. The words in the subject line may not be connected and it may be irrelevant.

Sometimes the subject lines include some user id and password requesting you to go to some website. Some of the spams would have attachments that are not intended for you. If you download these attachments and open them in your system the system may behave erratically. There is a possibility that the attachments may have some virus or worms in them, which may send out sensitive information from your system to somebody in the world. The best way to deal with this type of spam is to simply delete the emails that are not for you, without even opening it. It is better to have anti-virus software installed and updated in your system. Never open the attachments if you suspect it is a spam.

Preventing the mail you send to be treated as spam

There are chances of your mail being treated as spam and sent to the junk mail folder. To prevent this you have to configure your email so that your full name is sent out to the recipient. Proper typing of the subject matter is essential. For example if you type your email in all capital letters it may sometime be treated as spam by the spam filter and sent to the junk mail folder. Give a clear subject line for your emails and do not give generic subject lines like “Hi!”, “Wow”, and “Great!”. Let the subject line be specific to the subject of the content that is sent out to the recipient.

Preventing spams in your inbox

It is better to take some precautions when you give out your email address to somebody particularly to some organization or a website. Most of them ask for email addresses. If you fill out a form in a website you are sure to get some emails from them. Most of the time the companies that get your email address sell them to other companies and you keep on getting emails from them. So do not give out email address to websites or companies unless you feel it is necessary.

Why do spammers send junk e-mails?

Spammers send junk emails to the users mostly to market some product or a service. Some of the spams are meant to reconfirm that the email address is a valid one, so that they can sell those addresses to someone else or to send some product information to you. There are many individuals who are contracted for this purpose of sending emails to the persons they have in the mailing list. There are direct marketers who genuinely market their products from a particular email address only. Some of the junk emails are from the websites you would have registered and requested some content or newsletter from them as a part of the registration process.

Spam cost and cost of anti-spam solutions

Lot of spam calculators is available in the Internet. A typical spam cost calculator in the internet calculated a wastage of nearly 5 hours per year for an employee if the employee is getting 10 spam emails per day and if the employee wastes 5 seconds on each spam received. Around $80 per employee is lost. If the organization is having 100 employees then the amount lost per annum on spam alone is around $8000.

If you go for some anti-spam solutions so that the spams are filtered out and only the genuine emails are sent to the employees, the anti-spam solution is going to cost the organization around $2500. You can see the benefits of using anti-spam software. There are many anti-spam softwares in the market. Depending on the cost of the anti-spam software the amount of gain in the organization varies. Hence it is worth investing in anti-spam software.

Anti-spam laws

It is really a question whether the laws against spam would actually prevent spam. Anti-spam law in the USA is effective from January 1, 2004. there are some regulations that have to be followed when a spam is sent to a user. This law states that there must be provision for the recipients to get removed from the mailing lists if they opted for that. Moreover the spammers should also send in their complete information. Although the law states like this we have to see whether the spams received adhere to these regulations. This law does not prevent spam but it enables to send spam with some information for removal. The spams have to be labeled as advertisements and clear warnings should begiven if the content contains sexually explicit materials.


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