Monday, December 11, 2006

Basic Home Computer Security Question #3 - When I receive spam, should I "unsubscribe" myself?

Most definitely not, spam may seem innocuous but it’s not. Don’t try to unsubscribe yourself for the following reasons;
Spam usually comes from mail accounts that have been compromised. So unsubscribing will do no good.
If you’re presented with a web site by a spammer clicking the unsubscribe button merely validates that your address is a valid address. Spammers will keep this information in a database, maybe even sell it to other spammers which insurers that you will get much more spam in the future.

Some of the large-scale e-mail providers such as Yahoo and AOL now have pretty good spam protection. If you do get spammed, you have an option to mark it so that there spam protection algorithms and software can stop this particular message in the future. The best thing to do when you get spam is nothing. If you get spam that contains a web site, or links that you can click on, under no circumstances should you ever click on these links or go to these web sites. If you do you run the risk of malware being installed on your machine without your knowledge, opening your machine up for attacks or further spamming.

I haven’t had personal experience with anti-spam software, so I don’t know exactly how it works or how well it works. But if you Google Spam protection you will get several hundred hits which may add some value to stopping spam on your system.

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