Langa Letter: Has Spam Won? - InformationWeek
07:23 AM
Fred Langa
Fred Langa
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Langa Letter: Has Spam Won?

Don't let spam win! Take back your mailbox with these anti-spam tools.

Unsolicited commercial E-mail--spam--is a true evil, wasting huge amounts of time and bandwidth, and often delivering a direct assault on our privacy. Spam costs us all millions--perhaps billions--of dollars in lost productivity and wasted resources.

Despite all that, and aside from some routine grumbling, it seems that little meaningful, direct action is being taken to prevent or fight spam. Have we all been beaten into submission? Is spam now like the weather, something everyone complains about but no one does anything about?

If so, it's a shame, because there's lots you can do to fight spam at every level of the E-mail chain: at the mailbox, the Web site, and the dedicated mail server.

Six Steps To Reduce Spam
For example, I'm a member of CAUCE, the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email. It's a worldwide organization with active affiliate branches in Europe, India, Australia, and Canada. Made up entirely of volunteers, the group works to fight spam through informational campaigns online and in mass media, and through legislative action. (The coalition has offered testimony before the U.S. Senate and the Federal Trade Commission.)

CAUCE also offers tools and techniques that can help in an immediate way. For example, the Spam Recycling Center has anti-spam tips, a link that lets you forward spam to the appropriate federal authorities, links to free spam-filtering services, a way to sign an anti-spam petition, and more.

Through its spam-forwarding links, CAUCE has collected more than 3 million examples of spam. With that many data points to draw on, the coalition has definitively identified the six most-effective ways to reduce the amount of spam you receive. Here's a summary of the group's tips, which you can read in full at

  1. Never respond to spam. An opt-out message from you may do nothing except confirm that your address is valid, and thus invite more spam.
  2. Don't post your address on your Web site. Instead, use a special address that you can filter or change without affecting your real mailbox.
  3. Use a secondary E-mail address in newsgroups. Usenet newsgroups are prime territory for harvesting E-mail addresses. Using a throwaway account from a free E-mail provider for all Usenet postings can help keep your primary account spam-free.
  4. Don't give out your E-mail address without knowing how it will be used. Read the privacy statements on any Web site that asks for personal information!
  5. Never buy anything advertised in spam. If you reward spamming with your dollars, you're encouraging the very behavior you want to stop.
  6. Use a spam filter.

1 of 3
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll