As the name implies, spamfilters are in the business of providing you with spam protection.
‘Spam’ is the abuse of electronic messaging systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages.
Spam usually comes in the shape of e-mail spam, but the term is applied to similar abuses in other media, e.g.:
Instant messaging spam – a.k.a. ‘spim’
Mobile phone messaging spam – a.k.a. ‘spasms’
Blog and wiki spam – a.k.a. ‘spomments’ or ‘blam’
We have to accept the pervasive nature of spam – it is a fact of life, much like pollution. Until strong anti-spam laws are passed and actually enforced worldwide, spam proliferation will continue because it's proven to reach a mass audience. If it didn't work, spammers wouldn't waste their time.
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Spam protection step 1: Avoiding it in the first place
There are several ways to block spam from getting into your e-mail inbox. In the spirit of prevention as a cure, the very best way to protect yourself from spam is to avoid giving out your e-mail address to unfamiliar or unknown recipients. Easier said than done, obviously!
Online shopping opens the floodgates to spam
Nowadays it's virtually impossible to shop online without providing a valid e-mail address, and even offline stores are asking for e-mail addresses in exchange for discounts or free merchandise. This opens the door to a flood of unsolicited e-mails – all annoying and some dangerous.
Open up an e-mail account for likely spam offenders
Therefore, it might be wise to have more than one e-mail address: One for friends, family and colleagues - another for unfamiliar sources. There are plenty of free e-mail services in cyberspace to choose from.
Spam protection step 2: Install a spamfilter to protect your inbox
BullGuard’s Spamfilter will prevent spam from landing in your inbox. While no spamfilter is 100% effective, installing one goes a long way towards detecting and blocking it.
If you do get spam in your inbox anyway, BullGuard will advise you on how to deal with it. If you have any questions you can contact our Live Support Team 24/7.
Spam protection step 3: Treating it right
When it comes to spam there is only one way to treat it: ignore and delete. Do NOT open a message from an unknown source, do NOT click on anything in it (not links, not pictures, not anything), and do NOT open anything attached to it.
Do NOT ever respond to a message from an unknown source, even if it promises you wealth, health, sex, love and a lifelong supply of bananas.
If you act on spam they know you’re there!
By answering to phishing email, you are confirming that your address is real – that you are a flesh-and-blood human being with a trusting nature and possibly money in the bank.
Although over the past year we observed a steadily decrease of malware distribution over e-mails (in 2009, 25% of all sent emails included infected attachments, but the numbers dropped to 18% in 2010), the first months of 2011 showed high levels of messages containing malware accounting for more than 30% of all emails received. In March 2011, the number of e-mails with infected attachments went up by 400%.
2011 started aggressively with 149 billion spam mails being sent every day, out of which almost 30% were pharmaceutical ads. However, the first three months of 2011 show high variations concerning spam messages, after the takedown of the Rustock botnet, responsible for sending out approximately 60 billion spam messages per day.
Annual spam levels in billions
In mid-March, the Rustock servers were taken down, disabling the botnet and leading to a significant decrease in spam levels. Before Rustock was disabled, spam levels were at 160 billion/day. Disconnecting the servers caused a drop of more than 30% and spam levels reached 110 billion/day.
The US is at the top of the countries delivering spam, pushing Brazil over to the third place after it had held 1st place for several months. The decrease in spam volumes in Brazil is due to restrictions made by service providers for port 25, the one used in spamming.
Remember: If it didn't work, spammers wouldn't waste their time.
Read our security articles and learn more about spam:
What is spam?
How spammers make their money
What is phishing?
What are pump & dump schemes
What are 419 scams? (The Nigerian scam)
What is a targeted attack?
Malware and spam in blogs
How does a Spamfilter work?