Thursday, 6 January 2011

Spam count dropping

The BBC has an interesting article on their web site (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12126880) which shows that worldwide levels of spam are dropping - for unknown reasons.

Possible reasons include a disruption of the spammers activities by law enforcement agencies, but this is thought unlikely given that most spammers operate from Russia, China or West Africa where the authorities have little incentive to clamp down on a problem they can not really see, (and which creates a useful income for the country.)



It is not thought likely that these lower levels of spam will last though, (although governments around the world could, and probably should, cut spam off completely and immediately by implementing a simple switch to what is known as "Reverse DNS Lookup").

So, what can we do to reduce our own spam count?

1.      Most spammers cultivate their spam lists by a simple trawl of the internet for openly published email addresses. If you have a web site, and your email address is published on the site, you will get spam sent to that address. To prevent this you should ask your web designer to mask the address with a script, or to use a Contact Form rather than publish an email address.

2.      If you publish your email address anywhere else on the internet (such as forums, Facebook, etc) the spammers will find it and will use it. You could set up a free email address from Hotmail, Gmail, etc purely for use when you must publish an address. This allows you to keep your own email address for business use or friends only.

3.      Don't forward "round-robin" emails, even if they do appear to be humorous. Several examples of these were circulating at Christmas, including one suggesting the recipient had been "snowballed" and suggesting that you should now send the same email to all of your contacts. However, what appears to be harmless fun is actually designed to get your email address - and those of all of your friends - circulating around the internet.

Eventually one of these emails, now groaning under the weight of all the copied in email addresses, will hit a computer which is infected with a virus. Not only will that virus attempt to send itself to all of those email addresses, but it will also send the whole list to the virus writer, who will sell the list to the spammers.

Such round-robin emails are cleverly designed, but can be very destructive.

4.      If you respond to a spam email you will simply prove that you have read the email and your address will be marked as “live”. This will move your address up the spammers lists, of course. Wherever an “unsubscribe” link is provided you should only click it if you know that you actually signed up for that subscription in the first place.

Alternatively you could simply ignore the issue and install some anti-spam software. Give us a call on 01254 831145 to discuss this. Please don’t email us about it!

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© Michael Donkin 2011