Make us your home page

Spam filters work, but not well enough

I am inundated with spam and receive as many as 50 to 75 junk emails per day. I have used spam filtering software, tried a new Web browser and complained to my email service provider without much effect. What can I do?

There are some things you can do to reduce the amount of spam you receive, but there is no way to eliminate it entirely.

The best thing you can do is find an email service that does a better job of filtering out spam before it gets to your inbox. I suggest Google's Gmail.

You should also avoid clicking on anything in a spam email, including the unsubscribe link. If you try to unsubscribe, you're just confirming that your email address works and can continue to be a spammer target. The right thing to do is either delete the email or send it to your provider's spam filter for future use in deciding what to block as spam.

While spam remains an intractable problem, it's only fair to note that spam filtering does reduce how much reaches your inbox. Without filtering, more than 70 percent of your email would be spam. But the filters are no match for the resourcefulness of spammers. Consider what filters try to catch and how spammers have learned to avoid being caught:

Spam filters, and their associated "blacklists," search for Internet Protocol addresses and domain names (the part of the email address following the symbol) that have previously sent spam. Spammers change those things daily to avoid detection.

Spam filtering programs look at the use of key words or symbols (Free, Money Back Offer, $$$, Click Here) in the sender's name, the subject line or the body of the email. Spammers now avoid using those words or symbols or use them sparingly.

Spam filters also look for attention-getting tactics, such as the use of all capital letters in the subject line or body of the email. As a result, spammers instead get your attention with emails that have unusual combinations of capital and lowercase letters.

Spam filters keep track of how many similar emails they receive, and at some point classify them as spam. Spammers try to stay under the number of duplicate emails they think will trigger that response.

Spam filters work, but not well enough 06/08/14 [Last modified: Sunday, June 8, 2014 8:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA


    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  2. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants the Constitu?tion Revision Commis?sion to ask voters to repeal the state’s system of partial financing of statewide elections.
  3. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — When Miami developer Jorge Perez first eyed a 4.2-acre tract on the west bank of the Hillsborough River two years ago, people asked him if he wouldn't prefer to build on the opposite side closer to the downtown core.

    No way.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  4. Eat 3-course meals for $35 at these 100 restaurants for Orlando's Magical Dining Month

    Food & Dining

    In the early 1900s, hotels offered "table d'hote" or "prix fixe" menus as a form of loss leader. Hotels didn't necessarily make money on these lower-priced, multi-course meals, often served at communal tables, but they made up for it on the booze. Prohibition may have contributed to a gradual shift toward a la carte …

    Bulla Gastrobar serves a variety of Spanish and Portuguese dishes.
  5. Plant City farmer hopes robot pickers can save strawberry industry from shrinking labor force


    PLANT CITY — If current trends continue, the region's status as a major strawberry producer will depend in large part on what happens in Mexico.

    Strawberry pickers work during the daytime, when fruit is more likely to bruise. Machine pickers can work at night. The owner of Wish Farms in Plant City is developing automated pickers and hopes to see them at work on a widespread basis in five years. [Times file]