It seems to be everywhere these days and we all hate it, both the unsolicited e-mail
and the meat by-product. CrispNet already filters the bulk of the spam coming in from it's
servers and still much of it gets through! However, there are ways to mitigate the
problem and keep unwanted junk out of your inbox.
Don't Post Your E-Mail Address to the World
Don't give your e-mail address on Websites, forums, or newsgroups. The Spammers
have web crawlers that look for e-mail addresses posted to the internet. Most web
forums nowadays will not include your e-mail address with every post, but some still
do. So that humans can still contact you, there are easy ways to allow humans to
read your address, but not the spam machines. For instance, if you write your
e-mail address as "help at crisp net" rather than "firstname.lastname@example.org", a human
will still know what your e-mail is, but the spam crawlers won't.
Use a Local Filter
Most E-Mail clients nowadays have some level of e-mail filtering built-in. Many
of them are a bit arcane, but quite usable. Outlook Express, for instance, has
a reasonably intelligible rules-based system for sorting your incoming e-mail, including
spam. At some point, I'll write up some pointers for this. However, rules-based
filtering is rather tedious and eventually futile, which leads us to:
Bayesian filtering, besides being difficult to pronounce, is a "learning" mail
filter. Essentially, as mail comes in, you mark e-mails as "Spam" or "Not Spam".
Pretty soon, the mail program will be able to recognize what is or isn't spam, and
quickly filter it out for you. The best part is that it's constantly updating, you
just mark any messages that are mistakenly labeled, and the filter learns. Currently,
Mozilla and Netscape's
browser's e-mail clients support Bayesian filtering, and I've found two plug-ins
for MS Outlook that implement Bayesian Filtering,
SpamBayes. CrispNet recommends everyone use Mozilla for browsing the web and
reading their e-mail. It's a great browser and doesn't have all those ugly security
hassles that IE enjoys.
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