tech help

Bookmark and Share

Why Do I Get So Much Spam

Home Page

One of the worst things about life on the Internet is spam e-mail. Just about every e-mail address gets flooded with pitches for every questionable product imaginable. If you ever wondered why you get so much spam, the answer is easy. The spammers are making a lot of money despite being universally hated. With the declining cost of bandwidth just one sale can pay for the sending of millions of e-mails. Even though anti-spam technology has been getting better in the last few years, it has been nothing more than a game of whack a mole between the spammers and the anti-spam technology companies.

The simple reason that people get so much spam e-mail is because the spammers are making money with products that couldn’t be advertised in any other medium because of truth in advertising laws. Spammers can send out millions of e-mail advertisements and make a few sales and disappear within a few hours.

The first thing about understanding how spammers operate is how they find your e-mail addresses. Spammers will often engage in a dictionary attack where they will guess using the most popular patterns that people use when choosing e-mail addresses. Using the most popular first and last names and the most popular e-mail providers The spammers will send spam e-mails to and then using punctuation used in e-mail addresses spam is then sent to and then and then this continues with the most common first and last names. The dictionary attack moves on to first initials and last names and then first names and last initials.

Another way that spammers collect e-mail addresses is through the use of programs called spambots that scour the web looking for e-mail addresses. Anywhere you have put your e-mail address on a web page such as a message board or a guestbook makes your e-mail address is a place where a spammer can find it. Spammers will often buy lists of e-mail addresses from those they have business relationships with. Any web site that requires registration by providing an e-mail address could be a partner site that sells lists of e-mail addresses.

A key reason for the torrent of spam is that spamming can be done anonymously. Even though Internet service providers have rules against spamming, the header of the e-mail a portion of the beginning of the e-mail which most people never see is forged by the spammer. Spam e-mails are almost never sent directly from their computer to yours like legitimate e-mails, instead spammers send e-mails through a computers called an open proxy and then the open proxy sends the spam to you.

Most ISP’s and free e-mail providers have some kind of server side spam filtering that let you set how aggressively it controls spam. Setting spam controls too high means that legitimate e-mails are labeled as spam and you may never get it. Spammers are constantly writing their spam e-mail messages in such a way to get around spam filters.

Knowing how spammers operate one can use e-mail in such a way that makes it a little tougher for spam to hit your e-mail box. The key is to have many e-mail accounts and use them for specific purposes. Have an e-mail address just for personal correspondence with close friends and family. I recommend having a separate e-mail address for use when circulating jokes and all that other stuff that people tend to keep forwarding on and on. There is one simple reason for having separate e-mail address for this purpose. As an e-mail keeps getting forwarded it carries e-mail addresses of everybody who has seen it before you did. After you forward it on it will carry your e-mail address until it ends up in the hand of who know whom potentially dozens of spammers.

Another e-mail account should be used for e-bay transactions. It maybe extremely that the people you are buying from and selling to are spammers, but you don’t know what level of security is used on their computers. Virus writers and spammers are known to work in collusion so if your e-mail address ends up in the address book of everybody you’ve done business with and just one of them gets a virus that collects e-mail addresses for spammers you also get the spam.

The next e-mail account is the one used for all those web pages that require you provide an e-mail address to access content. This is the e-mail account with the most aggressive spam filtering. Chances are that you won’t get any real correspondence using this e-mail address so you probably don’t need to worry about false positives.

Spammers are the lowest of the low and if it goes unchecked it will get worse but with responsible use of e-mail spam can be managed with not a lot of effort.


Tech Help


Tech Review


Custom Search