By Rodger Cresswell
Spam was once simply just a nuisance but now has become a serious problem for individuals and businesses alike. It is estimated that as much as 80% of e-mails circulating on the internet are spam. Besides clogging networks and facilitating the spread of viruses or fraudulent schemes, spam is a major factor in undermining trust in the Internet, thus slowing the growth of the digital economy.
There was a time when we received so much junk through the land mail that it made you wonder how long we would have trees left on the planet. Something had to be done about it and thankfully the preference services came to the rescue. Not only can we reduce the amount of junk through the letter box but we can now stop most of those annoying telephone sales calls.
In business especially, email began to take over from land based mail. Remember how good it felt to receive that first email when you first set up your email account? Then the second arrived and as your friends and work contacts got to find you, you had to allocate time to respond. But wait, why is it taking so long for my emails to come over from my server? Have I become so popular that I have to go over to Broadband to cope with the volume of my mail? Eventually the server stops the mail drop and I get chance to look. Eighty percent junk! Trouble is the junk kept increasing in volume. Not only companies and individuals from your own country sending the stuff, but now it is from all parts of the world. Adding to the problem is that many could be carrying a virus, could be threatening, pornographic or trying to solicit bank account details. Time is money and it takes time to check through and delete the rubbish before you can start work on the genuine emails.
Once more something had to be done. Spam filtering software came onto the market but the mail had to be downloaded to our e-mail inbox before this filtering. Then thankfully the larger ISP (Internet Service Providers) took on the task of filtering the mails before we downloaded. This had a dramatic effect on the number of mails left to download.
Like virus protection, it is a continuing battle with the junk mailers changing their mails to get through the filters. The junk emailers do all they can with titles and content to fool the filters with the inevitable result that some spam still gets through.
Now there is a simple and inexpensive solution that enables you to receive just valid email. Services such as Spam Arrest make this possible. It does not require that you install any software on your own computer. The first time that you are sent a mail from a new address, the sender receives a one time request to visit a web site that addresses them by name. They are asked to confirm they sent the mail and type a word that is displayed in an animated image that automated spam programs cannot decipher from this image. You then have the chance to vet the rest and block further mails from undesirable sources. Eventually, the vast majority of mails you receive will be the genuine and useful emails that you want to see.