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Spam

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Spam

Email spam, also known as junk email or unsolicited bulk email (UBE), is a subset of spam that involves nearly identical messages sent to numerous recipients by email. Definitions of spam usually include the aspects that email is unsolicited and sent in bulk.

Email spam has steadily grown since the early 1990s. Botnets, networks of virus-infected computers, are used to send about 80% of spam. Since the cost of the spam is borne mostly by the recipient,

How to address this ISSUE - Preventive Measures:

There are several common ways that spammers can get your email address: 

  • Crawling the web for the @ sign. Spammers and cyber criminals use sophisticated tools to scan the web and harvest email addresses. If you publicly post your email address online, a spammer will find it.
  • Making good guesses... and lots of them. Cyber criminals use tools to generate common user names and pair them with common domains. These tools are similar to the ones that are used to crack passwords. And they work. 
  • Tricking your friends. Even if you know better than to publicly post your email address on the web, it could still be stored in the email inbox of anyone who's ever emailed you or whom you've ever emailed. Cyber criminals can steal contact lists or use social engineering to trick people into giving them access. 
  • Buying lists. Spammers can purchase lists legally and illegally. When you sign up for a website or a service, make sure you read the privacy policy carefully to find out what the site plans to do with your email address. 
  • It pays to keep your email address as private as possible, but sometimes it seems like there's nothing you can do to keep it out of the hands of spammers. For this reason you have to combine smart privacy practices with strong email filters. 
  • All of the most recent versions of Microsoft's email services (including Hotmail) use a strong filter called SmartScreen. 

Help keep spam out of your inbox

You have powerful tools to help stem the tide of spam, from SmartScreen spam filters to common sense, to SenderID technology that helps verifies who an e-mail message is from.

1. Use e-mail software with built-in spam filtering Microsoft SmartScreen is an intelligent spam-filtering solution that is integrated across all Microsoft e-mail platforms, including:

SmartScreen technology determines how to distinguish between legitimate e-mail messages and spam by using extensive user input from hundreds of thousands of Windows Live Hotmail users.

The result is that more legitimate e-mails reach you and upwards of 95% spam is blocked.

 

2. Keep your filters current

Spam is a cat-and-mouse game with spammers working relentlessly to outwit the filters. Do your part by keeping your junk e-mail filter up to date.

Update your e-mail junk mail program and e-mail filters. Spammers continually try new tricks to bypass anti-spam technologies. The Outlook Junk E-Mail Filter is powered by Microsoft SmartScreen technology, which helps prevents spam from cluttering your inbox.

Updates are available from the Microsoft Update and can be downloaded automatically, providing you up-to-date protection against spam and phishing.

 

3. Be careful about sharing your e-mail or instant message address

  • Only share your primary e-mail address with people you know. Avoid listing your e-mail address on your social networking site, in large Internet directories, and in job-posting Web sites. Don't even post it on your own Web site (unless you disguise it as described below).
  • Set up an e-mail address dedicated solely to Web transactions. Consider using a free e-mail service, like Windows Live Hotmail to help keep your primary e-mail address private. When you get too much spam there, simply drop it for a new one.
  • Create an e-mail name that's tough to crack. Try a combination of letters, numbers, and other characters-Don2Funk9@example.com or J0e_Y0ng@example.com (substituting zero for the letter "O"). Research shows that people with such names get less junk e-mail.
  • Disguise your e-mail address when you post it to a message board, newsgroup, chat room, or other public Web page-for example, Username AT example DOT com. This way, a person can interpret your address, but the automated programs that spammers use often cannot.
  • Watch out for pre-checked boxes. When you buy things online, companies sometimes pre-select check boxes by which you indicate that it's fine to sell or give your e-mail address to responsible parties. Clear the check box if you don't want to be contacted.
Tip: When you sign up for Web-based services such as banking, shopping, or a newsletter, carefully read the privacy policy before revealing your e-mail address so you don't unwittingly agree to share confidential information. The privacy policy should outline the terms and circumstances regarding if or how the site will share your information. If a Web site does not post a privacy statement, consider taking your business elsewhere.

4. Sender ID technology helps keep e-mail honest

According to a recent Microsoft study, spammers send an average of 3.8 billion messages to Hotmail addresses every day. Thanks to a technology called Sender ID, an average of 20 million of those spam messages are blocked from e-mail inbox's every day.
Sender ID authenticates inbound e-mail to help verify that it is from the person that it says it is from. Messages that have been authenticated by Sender ID are less likely to be spam and messages that fail Sender ID are more likely to be spam.

 

 

 

 

If you use the following e-mail programs, you're already experiencing increased protection from spam through Sender ID:

  • MSN Hotmail
  • Windows Live Hotmail
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft Office Live Mail
If an e-mail message fails Sender ID, you will see a warning like this one.

To help distinguish between verifiable and unverifiable senders, Sender ID checks and validates the sender's e-mail address against the sender's Internet Protocol (IP).

Sender ID at work. Only authenticated messages are allowed to reach the receiver. 

An increasing number of technology organizations have announced Sender ID support by encouraging industry adoption, publishing their own sender records, or offering specific products and services that support the Sender ID system, from e-mail applications to anti-spam services. For more information on Sender ID, Visit: www.microsoft.com/senderid

 

5. Improve your computer's security

You can greatly reduce your risk from hackers, viruses, and worms if you use a firewall, keep your Windows and Microsoft Office software up to date, and install antivirus and antispyware software (and update it routinely).

Learn more about how to protect your computer.

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