Wednesday 12th Dec, 2018

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Spam

Spam is one of the unfortunate downsides to the Internet. Most email users have received spam email at some stage, and once it starts it generally never stops. Unfortunately there are no 100% effective ways to block unwanted emails, but there are a number of suggestions we can make to help you minimise spam.


Q. What is spam?

Spam is a commonly used term for unsolicited commercial email that is sent to a large number of people at once. The email is usually sent out by fly-by-night operations, who fake the return address information in an attempt to make them harder to track. While we try and block as much as we can, Chariot netconnect unfortunately has no control over the E-mails being sent.


Q. How can I avoid getting spam?

First and foremost you should keep your email address private by only giving it out to friends and trusted places. You should never give your real email address out to a website unless you trust it. If you do need to give a valid email address, you should consider creating a free secondary email account through somewhere like Hotmail.


Q. How does my email address get onto spam lists?

There are a number of ways that spammers get hold of your email address.

Email addresses can be easily harvested from websites, newsgroups, forums, chat services (such as irc) and email discussion groups, so if your email address is ever posted on one of these you are immediately making it available.

There are also many websites that will ask for your email address. They may say that an email address is required to access the website, or perhaps they lure you with a free prize or competition. If the site is not trustworthy, do not give them your email address.

Viruses. Most viruses these days spread via email. When your computer becomes infected, the virus scans your computer for email addresses and sends itself out to every address it finds. Usually the emails sent by the virus contains your email address, and it is likely that the virus will send to a number of spam related email addresses.

Finally, email addresses are often randomly generated by the spammer. Common usernames can be mixed with known isp domain names, and the emails sent out in a 'hit and miss' strategy. The chances of getting a large number of valid email address is pretty high, and when one is 'hit' it can be recorded.

If you would like more details on how spammers can get your email address, this page has some good info.


Q. So how can I reduce the amount of spam I'm receiving?

First of all NEVER reply to any spam emails, or follow any 'unsubscribe' links that may be included in the email. Doing this will only confirm to the spammer that your email address is active, and it is then likely to be added to more spam lists.

Many email programs have some form of filtering that can be applied to your email. If you use Outlook Express for example, you can create 'Message Rules' to attempt to filter out the spam from your legitimate email. Many spam emails have similar characteristics which can be used to identify it as spam.

Some common spam email characteristics are:

  • The email is rarely sent specificly to your email address. Mailing lists are quite often used, so filtering out any emails that are not sent specificly to your chariot email address should get rid of a lot.

  • Use of specific words such as 'money', 'cash', 'free', 'offer' and special characters like '**' and '$$'.

  • There is often an unsubscirbe link included in the email. Try filtering out emails with the words 'unsubscribe' and 'click here' in the email body.

    Two examples or such message rules are:

    Apply this rule after the message arrives
    Where the To or CC line does not contain '@chariot.net.au' or '@chariot.com.au'
    Delete it


    and

    Apply this rule after the message arrives
    Where the message body contains 'click here' or 'unsubscribe'
    Delete it


    There are also 3rd party programs available for free download that can help in the fight against spam. Download.com is always a good place to look for anti-spam software.

    We have also had good feedback on a program called Mail Washer, which allows you to sort through your email before you even download it onto your computer. You can download Mail Washer from www.mailwasher.net.

    Please note that Chariot netconnect do not provide technical support for 3rd party software.


  • Q. Why can't my ISP stop spam?

    Many Internet users believe that their service provider should block all spam from reaching their mailboxes. Unfortunately, this is rarely possible. In Australia, privacy legislation and terms and conditions of service prohibit Internet Service Providers from conducting unwarranted or invasive reading or scanning of user e-mail. Further, automated mail filtering inevitably leads to the deletion of some legitimate mail messages, a situation considered unacceptable by many providers and their users.

    The ongoing development of spam filtering systems is an expensive process, and this cost is typically passed on to the consumer. The higher the level of mail filtering offered by the provider, the higher the cost of service. In this situation, a trade-off must be made.


    Q. Help! I'm getting spam in the form of a popup window! What can i do?

    There's a new type of spam thats becoming more and more common with users of Windows 2000 and XP. These versions of Windows have a built-in messaging service that enables people to send a message directly to your computer from anywhere else on the Internet. The message will look something like this:



    There are a couple of ways to stop these messages. The best method is to disable the messaging service on your computer. Heres how to do it:

    Windows XP (Home and Professional editions):
    1. Click Start -> Control Panel

    2. Click Performance and Maintenance.

    3. Click Administrative Tools.

    4. Double click Services.

    5. Scroll down and highlight "Messenger" (a single click).

    6. Right-click the highlighted line and choose Properties.

    7. Click the STOP button.

    8. Select Disable or Manual under the "Startup Type" menu selection (we recommend the manual setting).

    9. Click OK.


    Windows NT/2000 (Server and Professional editions):
    1. Click Start -> Setings -> Control Panel -> Admin. Tools -> Services

    2. Scroll down and highlight "Messenger" (a single click).

    3. Right-click the highlighted line and choose Properties.

    4. Click the STOP button.

    5. Select Disable or Manual under the "Startup Type" menu selection (we recommend the manual setting).

    6. Click OK.


    Note: If you notice that some other programs don't work properly after disabling the messenger service, you can follow the same steps to re-enable it again. You will need to look at other means of stopping the popups.

    A second way is to use a firewall. We recommend this for advanced users only. For the technically minded, the messages are received by your computer through UDP ports 135, 137, and 138; TCP ports 135, 139, and 445. The messages can be stopped setting up your firewall to block traffic on these ports.

    More information on this issue can be found on Microsoft's website.




    If you have a question that you would like answered, email us at service@chariot.net.au, and include FAQ in the subject.

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