How Your Commercial Or Free AntiSpam Blocker Can Be Even More Effective

Here are tips to work alongside your commercial or free antispam blocker to reduce the security threats and the number of those spam lists to which your email address gets added.

The advice is in two parts...

  1. Practical Advice on Spam

    This is about what each of us can do to limit the impact spam can have on us. It's about modifying our habits by following some "dos" and "don'ts". You'll find this advice in the separate section entitled, Practical Tips To Work Alongside Your Commercial Or Free AntiSpam Blocker.
  2. Software Measures
    Although the practical advice above can have a significant, positive impact on our spam and security control, we can't do without software protection, particularly if we inadvertently trigger the malware dangers that can often accompany spam.

    This protection to guard privacy and onlne security is a must for anyone using email or accessing the Internet, and this is what we'll be focussing in on here...


Commercial Or Free Antispam Blocker... Software Tips

No commercial or free antispam blocker can guarantee to stop all spam, all the time. In other words, on occasions, we are going to have spam in our inbox.

Now if we inadvertently open or preview this mail, we could trigger any malware that the spam contains. So here's what we need to install to give us maximum protection should this happen...

These are the 7 software precautions we'll be looking at:

  1. Patch Your Email Client
  2. Email Programs
  3. Install A Firewall
  4. Virus & Trojan Software
  5. Check For Open Relays
  6. Check For Spyware
  7. Use A Spam Blocker

1. Commercial Or Free Antispam Blocker...
Patch Your Email Client

Patches are updates that improve, update or fix a particular problem or vulnerability within any software program. These patches protect our computers from attackers trying to take advantage of the vulnerability.

The mail clients, Outlook and Outlook Express are notorious for their security holes and are constantly targeted by spammers and crackers. They are intent on installing malware such as, viruses, worms, Trojans and spyware, to take control of our computers or to access our information.

If you have automatic updates for Windows on your computer, I'd advise you to switch it on. If you haven't got automatic updating, then to patch your system, go to the Microsoft Download Center.

This facility will scan your PC for the Microsoft programs that require updating. Download and install the critical updates and any other updates that will improve your software.

Remember... software performance is only as good as the last update.

2. Commercial Or Free Antispam Blocker...
Email Programs

Because of the continuing and long-term security lapses with Outlook and Outlook Express, the professional view is to use alternative and more secure programs for email handling.

I stopped using these two programs a couple of years ago and haven't looked back since. I now use Mozilla Thunderbird as my email client. It is more secure than the Microsoft products and it provides a more effective spam blocker. You can download this FREE program from Mozilla.

If you don't mind putting up with advertisements, then Opera is a FREE combined browser and e-mail client. Pay for Opera and you can be advertisement-free.

3. Commercial Or Free Antispam Blocker...
Install A Firewall

Firewalls block unwanted access to our PCs by external computers or programs, such as Trojans, that could convert a computer into a zombie PC.

The firewall should also have control over outgoing traffic to prevent malware, such as spyware, from "phoning home".

Here are three excellent firewalls that have all the security features required for protection. They are,

  1. ZoneAlarm Pro
  2. McAfee VirusScan Plus
  3. Outpost Firewall Pro

For more information on firewalls, take a look at Free And Buy Firewalls Reviewed.

4. Commercial Or Free Antispam Blocker...
Virus & Trojan Software

The independent testing body for antivirus software, AV-Comparatives, shows that Kaspersky AntiVirus Personal and McAfee VirusScan Plus have the best protection against Trojans, as well as against viruses and worms. This malware can be unleashed on our PCs if we open spam email.

If you go down the rest of AV-Comparatives' product performance list, you'll see that the effectiveness of Trojan detection declines rapidly.

It is imperative to have the most effective protection from Trojans. It is this malware that allows our PCs to be taken over remotely and become a zombie PC. For information on zombie PCs, take a read of Botnets And Your Zombie PC Fix

5. Commercial Or Free Antispam Blocker...
Check For Open Relays

An open relay is an SMTP server that doesn't have any security policies to control who it may receive e-mail routing from and send e-mail to.

This is a major issue in the fight against spam because spammers use these open relays to send spam anonymously. Close any open relays and you block one of the routes spammers can access.

Many of these open relays are created by home users with broadband, who install and configure their Internet applications without understanding the implications of their settings.

You can easily check whether your computer is an open relay by using the FREE download, Active Ports.

If it shows a process listening on TCP port 25, it's very likely you have an open SMTP server running. Alter your firewall settings to block this port.

6. Commercial Or Free Antispam Blocker...
Check For Spyware

Spam can also load spyware on to our computers. In turn, spyware can install a Trojan, which can exploit vulnerabilities to get around e-mail routing, turning a computer into a zombie PC, discussed above.

Although the right anti-virus software can deal with Trojans, it can't deal with the other threats of spyware, such as monitoring surfing habits, loading advertisements and stealing personal information.

Sweeping for spyware is just as critical to guard privacy and computer security as virus protection and firewall installation.

Comparative studies have shown that we need a minimum of two and preferably three, spyware detection programs to uninstall the majority of spyware.

These are the products at the top of the most effective spyware removers...

  1. SpySweeper
  2. PestPatrol
  3. SpyCatcher

7. Use A Commercial Or Free Antispam Blocker

An effective spam blocker will save hours of time and frustration.

With the right spam blocker, the risk of spam getting into your inbox will be minimized... as will the risk of the malware that we've discussed. See the main article, Choosing Your Spam Slammers, for the best type of spam blocker to meet your preferences.


Commercial Or Free Antispam Blocker... Supporting Articles

  1. The Best Spam Slammers To Protect You From Spam Dangers
  2. What Does Spam Stand For?
  3. Spam Slammers... These Are The Dangers When Spam Gets Through
  4. The Four Types Of Spam Slammers
  5. Practical Steps To Improve the Effectiveness Of Your Commercial Or Free Antispam Blocker
  6. How To Spam Spammers
  7. Spam Spammers With MailWasher Pro
  8. Reduce The Load Of Your Spam Slammers By Keeping Off Spam Lists
  9. Phishing And How To Block It
  10. Botnets And Your Zombie PC Fix
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