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8 tips to filter spam effectively

Take control of your inbox

Spam is a growing problem where the net is concerned. Some 40 trillion spam messages are expected to be sent in 2008. However, we've rounded up 8 tips that will help your combat spam more effectively, ensuring you get the message you want, not the ones you don't.

3. Move away from older filtering technologies

Michael Briggs, director of information technology at The George Washington University Law School, recommends moving away from old-fashioned keyword technologies in favour of newer techniques such as graylisting.

In the same way, Jennings has strong concerns about challenge response systems, saying they're "simply a terrible idea". He points out that a legitimate sender might never see the challenge message, because that message itself could be flagged as spam, and because spammers often disguise spam as such a message.

4. Enlist your users to help maintain your whitelist

Your users are constantly developing relationships with new clients, vendors and other contacts, which means that if you rely on a whitelist of trusted senders, it needs to be continually updated. Lucio Gonzalez, a system specialist and email administrator at South Texas College, appreciates it when employees at the college tell him about their new contacts. For example, when the college gains new suppliers.

He adds them to his whitelist, and messages from these senders get through more quickly and don't risk being flagged as spam. Periodic reminders to your users to keep the IT department informed of new contacts will save everybody time and hassle.

Better yet, suggests Andrew Lochart, vice president of product marketing at email security vendor Proofpoint, let users set their own spam filter parameters. In his words, spam, like beauty, lies in the eye of the beholder.

Although few people want the male enhancement or online pharmacy ads, some business travellers, for instance, might want their weekly notices from British Airways. Such flexibility ultimately benefits both an end user and an email administrator by reducing efforts by both of them to recover false positives.

NEXT PAGE: More tips to fight spam effectively

  1. Get the messages you want, not the ones you don't
  2. More techniques employed by spam filters
  3. Tips for combating false positives
  4. Move away from older filtering technologies and enlist users to help maintain your whitelist
  5. More tips to fight spam effectively
  6. Check your own spam reputation


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