July is the time of the year we celebrate freedom and independence with barbecues, picnics, and family gatherings. It’s one of the few months we actually try to work a little less, get some rest, kick back and enjoy the beautiful weather.
But do you know who doesn’t rest? Spammers. That’s right. Spammers don’t take a holiday.
In reality, Anti-Spam Engine states that 88% of spam is actually sent from networks made up of PCs or virtual networks. After all, it’s not like cyber-criminals are tirelessly sitting behind a computer pressing send 50,000 times a day. They have better things to do – like write malware and ransomware, right!?
You might be wondering, why do they do it? What’s the payoff? Brad Taylor, Gmail spam czar says it best, “It costs $3,000 to rent a botnet and send out 100 million messages. It takes only 30 Viagra orders to pay for that.”
Spam is not only frustrating, but it presents a huge security risk for your workplace and every device it touches. And doesn’t it seem like no matter what you do, spam STILL has a way of finding its way into your inbox? If so, you’re not alone.
It’s time to declare independence and free yourself from spam in 5 simple steps:
1) Realize there’s No Silver Bullet
The truth is, because of the sheer volume of spam and the rate at which spammers adapt messages and approaches to get past filters, there is no single solution, no easy button you can press to suddenly make all spam disappear – and ensure that legitimate emails get through. It’s often a matter of training your spam filter and finding the right solution that works for you.
2) Prevent Spam in the First Place
Don’t list your email address anywhere on the web. Not your website, not your social media profile, and not your Craigslist listing. If you miss this important step, spam bots will find you.
Also, never open, click or respond to a spam message. As tempting as it might be to unsubscribe or email the sender to tell them to stop spamming you, this could result in even MORE spam since doing this verifies there is a real person behind the email address.
3) Move to Office 365
Spam filters are very specific to your email server, your internet service provider (ISP), or your email client (such as Outlook). Chances are, you already have a spam filter in place, so as a first step, you’ll want to either:
– Confirm that your email service, ISP or email client spam filter is enabled.
(If it is and you’re still getting spam, consider adjusting the level of protection or moving to a third party solution.)
– Integrate a third party spam filter for additional spam protection.
There’s often a very fine line between a filter that is too robust, blocking legitimate emails and a filter that obviously misses spam messages. At Ontech, many of our customers have seen success in reducing or eliminating spam by simply moving to Office 365.
Aside from the built-in spam protection it offers, Office 365 users also enjoy a drastic improvement in email access and collaboration. The ability to leave off and pick up in the same place, no matter what device you’re working from makes this solution definitely worth looking into.
If you’re already an Office 365 user or you’re interested in an alternative spam protection solution, connect with us online or call us at (262) 522-8560 and one of our IT consultants can make a recommendation or adjust your existing Office 365 settings as needed.
4) Get a Free Disposable Email Address
A popular approach is to have multiple email addresses. One email address serves as your “private” email account – like an unlisted phone number – and the other is your “throw-away” account, used for product offers, website registrations and other public offerings.
The problem with this approach, however, is that it might work for your personal life, but in business, its best to avoid sending work emails from your Yahoo account, particularly if your organization needs to maintain HIPAA or any other type of regulatory compliance.
If junk mail starts to pile up in your disposable email account, you can use a service like unroll.me that allows you to see all your subscription emails at once and instantly unsubscribe from those you once signed up for, but no longer want to receive.
5) Watch out for Text Spam
Have you ever received a random text message out of the blue from an unknown sender? If so, hopefully you didn’t respond. Text spam, like email spam, involves unwanted solicitations in the form of a text message.
Unfortunately, it’s now commonplace for unwanted messages to invade our lives in every way. What started as junk mail in our mailboxes, evolved to phone call solicitations and scams, email spam and now text spam. It’s everywhere.
Since text spam isn’t as prevalent as email spam (at the moment), it is more successful at luring people in, due to the sense of urgency these messages create for unsuspecting victims. Text spam might include messages related to a contest, lottery, or just an ambiguous message enticing you to respond.
But no matter what, if you don’t know the sender and you’re not expecting the text, ignore it (even if it looks legitimate). If the text does appear legit, go ahead and call the organization to confirm – NEVER click. Don’t be tempted to reply like this guy.
Consult an Expert
Aside from taking the “nuclear option” and scrapping your email address, there are a number of other solutions that might work for you, regardless of how much spam you’re receiving right now. If you are going to change your email address, this resource can provide some good tips on maintaining your contacts.
FREE No-Obligation Network Discovery
If spam has become so prevalent in your workplace that it’s hindering your workplace productivity, it is also presenting a huge security risk for your business. Phishing emails are one of the most common ways business networks become infected with viruses, malware and ransomware.
Request a Free Network Discovery where our Network Consultant will conduct a full audit of your network and discuss with you – minus technical jargon – ways your business can fill in any gaps and resolve any vulnerabilities or loopholes that might compromise your business and potentially cost you thousands of dollars down the road.
Request a free Network Discovery today or call us at (262) 522-8560 to learn more.