How To Protect Against Email Spam

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With approximately 14.5 billion spam emails being sent every day, your email is probably filled with spam. Spam can be very frustrating and even go as far as posing a significant threat to your security. While protecting completely against spam is not possible, there are steps you can take right now that will help to prevent spam, and protect yourself against malware or phishing scams that are often times included in spam emails.

How Do I Know If An Email Is Spam?

This is one very common question we get here at BlackSun. Often times spammers will try to phish for information by pretending to be someone else. If an email that you have received meets any of the following criteria, it is more likely than not a spam email:

  • There is no unsubscribe link or button. Emails sent without a unsubscribe link violate Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation and America’s CAN-SPAM act.
  • The email asks for sensitive information. Emails from banks or legitimate companies will never ask for personal or financial information in an email.
  • You have never done business with the company that sent the email. 
  • The email uses scare tactics. Often times spammers will use scare tactics to scare you into paying them money. The language in the email may be designed to spark fear.
  • It seems too good to be true. If the email offers free money, be very wary. These emails are almost always spam.
  • It asks for money. Emails like this may seem to come from a friend or colleague. Don’t respond to the request until you have checked with the sender in person.
  • It contains spelling and grammatical errors. Legitimate businesses take the time to make sure their emails are grammatically correct

How Do I Protect Myself Against Spam?

There are many steps that you can take to protect yourself against spam ahead of time, especially if this is a brand new email address.

  1. Do not reply to spam
    If a message fits the criteria above, don’t reply to it! Replying to the email lets spammers and hackers know that your email is active and that it can be targeted with spam.
  2. Think before clicking
    If an email has a button saying you’ve won a prize or gives you links to cheap designer sunglasses, it is likely spam – thinking before clicking these links will greatly help from preventing further spam. Some emails may have attachments, make sure you inspect the email before downloading any files to ensure it is a legitimate email.
  3. Use spam filtering tools and anti-virus software
    We’ll show you how to configure Apache SpamAssassin later in this article, which will help you eliminate some of the spam coming into your email. Apache SpamAssassin comes free with every BlackSun shared hosting plan. BlackSun also offers a premium spam filter to add an extra layer of protection against spam.
  4. Never give your email address out publicly.
    Spammers are constantly looking on the internet for new emails to send spam to, and posting your email on any sort of public website will allow them to find it much easier. The same applies to your own website. If you are using a WordPress website, there are email encoding plugins that can help combat spammers finding and using your email from your website.

How Do I Configure My Spam Filter?

Configuring your spam filter is very easy and can be done in just a few steps. By default, your spam filter should be enabled.

 

  1. Login to your cPanel, which is located at yourdomain.com/cpanel (replace yourdomain.com with your domain).
  2. Click on the Spam Filters feature in your cPanel account
  3. Make sure “Move New Spam to a Separate Folder (Spam Box)” is enabled. If Auto-Delete is enabled, you might risk losing legitimate emails instead of just having them marked as SPAM.
  4. Click on “Spam Threshold Score”
  5. Adjust your spam score. The lower the score the more sensitive the spam filter will be. 5 is the recommended and default threshold, but you are welcome to modify this to your liking.

If you find that SpamAssassin is not working for your needs, we do offer a professional spam filter that can filter almost 100% of the spam you receive. For more information on SpamExperts, contact our sales team at sales@blacksun.ca.


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