Where is all this spam coming from?
Posted by Mark Vandepol on 06 May 2011 03:28 PM

A lot of our customers have been noticing an increase in unsolicited email ("spam"). Spammers are constantly coming up with new technology to bypass the Postini spam filters. For instance, displaying the advertising in the form of an image as opposed to text that the Postini filters are able to scan. Another trick is to include a string of random characters after the image which will be different for every recipient. This makes it look like the message is unique, and has more of a chance to bypass the filters.

There are a few things you can do to help stop the flow of spam (this is assuming you have the Postini service activated on your account):

1) First and foremost, if you have never logged in to your Postini message centre (but have enabled it in Client Care), it will not be activated. Please visit http://login.postini.com and sign in using your full email address and the password for that account. Postini will now be activated. If you are having problems here, please email support.

2) Filter settings: Postini has five filters. They are: Bulk Mail, Sexually Explicit, Racially Insensitive, Get Rich Quick, and Special Offers. By default, the Bulk Mail filter is set to "lenient" and the others are set to "off". These filters are easy to adjust. All you need to do is visit your Postini Message Centre at http://login.postini.com and click on the Junk Mail Settings link near the top of the page. Place the dot in one of the five strength settings from OFF to AGGRESSIVE. Save your changes.

3) Never reply to a spam message that says "click here to be removed from list" or something similar. Some advertisers will honour this, but most will just use it to validate your email account, and sell it to other advertisers.

4) "Munge" your email address if you post in newsgroups. In your news account settings, change your email address to something like customerNOSPAM@NOSPAMkingston.net, and sign your messages with something like "customer at kingston dot net". Posts on newsgroups are a primary source of email addresses for spammers. If you do not use newsgroups, disregard this step.

5) The same can be said for posting your email address anywhere on the web, including guestbooks, forums, etc. The addresses are harvested by spammers. Use your discretion. Also, if you enter your email address when sending an "eCard", sign up for any dating sites, etc., you will get spam - and tons of it.

6) Request a longer, harder to guess email address. A favourite technique of spammers is the "dictionary attack", in which they will try to guess every address at the @kingston.net domain. Someone with an address of me@kingston.net is going to receive a lot more spam than someone with an address of n8m45h6@kingston.net.

7) Keep in mind that online stores may sell your email address. Internet Kingston allows you to have between 1 and 5 email addresses, depending on the package you have. It would be a good idea to request an additional email address for use for shopping on the web, etc. You can use another address for personal correspondence and only give it out to people you know.

8) If someone forwards you an email with your address in the TO: field (along with 10 other people) and asks you to forward it to ten of your friends, your email address will exponentially propagate to the rest of the world. If the email was forwarded to 10 people by every person that it is forwarded to, your email address will be known by one million people over just a few generations of forwarding. Please use the BCC: field (blind carbon copy) when forwarding messages to block others from seeing everyone you send it to, or better yet - do not forward it at all.

9) Please forward all spam that slips by the filters to spam@kingston.net - this is forwarded to Postini, and it helps them fine tune the filters so more spam can be blocked.

10) Finally, please read this article. It offers in-depth information on why you get spam, explanations of some of the techniques I have outlined, and multiple tests and results. http://www.cdt.org/speech/spam/030319spamreport.shtml

If you have further questions, feel free to contact WTC Support at:

613-547-6939 option 2

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