by June 5, 2003 0 comments

So much spam, so little bandwidth!! The growing amount of junk mail has become a menace for organizations. Not only does it consume a lot of bandwidth, but it also reduces employee productivity as they spend more time filtering out junk mail. The sad part is that you can’t escape spam, whether you’re an individual or an organization. If you have a mail id, then sooner or later you’ll be bombarded with spam. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. There are ways to curtail it, both at the client and server level. One is to install anti-spam software, and the other is to follow some guidelines that can help minimize it. Then, of course, there are ways to fight back spammers by lodging complaints against them with their respective ISPs. In the pages to follow, we’ve covered ways to fight spam both at the individual and enterprise level.

install anti-spam software,
follow guidelines and fight spammers

(Un) Serving Spam
To block spam at the server, you need to know what filtering software is available and where to place it
Spam Busting on Windows Servers
Software that you can use to block spam at the SMTP server itself, so that it never goes out
Spam Busting on Linux
Configuring SpamAssassin, an effective program to fight spam on Linux
Anti-spam Tools

You can fight back spam if you know how it spreads

Prevention is always better than cure they say, and the same can be practiced to minimize receiving spam mail. For this, first of all avoid subscribing to suspicious websites or filling up online forms. If you don’t know whether the site can be trusted, then create a free email account and use that to register. Don’t use your official and frequently used email id to register. Another habit most people have is that while sending mail to multiple recipients, they tend to put all email ids in the “To:” field of the mail client. This can happen when you’re forwarding a joke, chain mail, or newsletters. This exposes email ids of all the people thereby making it easier for spammers to get hold of them. Therefore a better practice is to put all the recipients in the BCC field. Don’t unsubscribe to spam mail. It just confirms to the spammer that you exist and therefore sends you more

Rules in Mail Clients
The first level of defense against spam on clients is creating rules, and most of the popular mail clients have this facility. In Outlook Express, select the spam mail from your Inbox, click on the Message menu and select Block Sender. All further mail coming from that sender will be automatically blocked. To create more rules in Outlook Express, select the message from Inbox and click on Message from the menu bar, and select “Create rules from messages”. This will open a wizard. Tick the condition “Where from lines contains people”, choose the action from the list “Delete it” and click “Ok”. You can change the condition to include message body, and subject. In Microsoft Outlook 2000/2002, right click the spam message, select Junk
Mails and Add to Junk Sender list. To create rules, select create rule option.

To create rules in Outlook Express, select the spam mail from your Inbox, go to Message menu and select Block Sender

In Eudora, click Tools from the menu bar and select Filter. From the filter window, click new to create new filter. This enables a “Match” window where you need to give the source of mail (Incoming, Outgoing, and Manual). In the same window you can also define the header content condition such as To, From, and Subject. Next set an action for the defined condition from the action list box and you’re done.

To create rules in Eudora, click on Tools and select Filter

Anti-spam Software
The next level of defense is to use specific anti-spam software. Most such software come as plug-ins to mail clients. They have their own blacklists to match all incoming mail against and all matches are automatically moved to the deleted items folder. One such program called Spam Inspector integrates itself with Outlook and filters spam mails while downloading. After installation it keeps all your address book contacts in its trusted list and creates its own menu in the Outlook’s interface. This makes it easier to manage. It has an enemy list that filters mails based on email address kept in your enemy list. It first downloads all messages, and moves all those matching its enemies list to the Deleted Items folder. Its accuracy level in detecting spam is quite high. We’ve given a trial
version of this software, among others, on this month’s DVD for you to try out.

Anil Chopra and Sanjay Majumder

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