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05 June 2006  
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A double helping of spam

Two years ago, Bill Gates proclaimed that spam would no longer be a problem in 2006. Too bad that didn’t happen. If your experience is anything like mine, you probably spend far too much time weeding out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to managing your e-mail. Unfortunately, e-mail is one of those things that you can’t live without.

Your computer might just get indigestion from the surfeit of spam that shows no sign of slackening

The good news is that Web-mail has become smarter about filtering about spam. Some of it does get through but most of it gets canned and can easily be deleted. Still, the volumes of spam are so huge that even if five percent gets through its enough to give your repetitive stress injury just clicking the delete button. The worst part is that you don’t even have to respond to this junk. Spammers don’t care if you respond or not. They just keep spamming away playing the percentages.

Which brings us to the puzzling bit. Someone, several someones, out there is buying stuff from the spammer. If nobody bit, there wouldn’t be any reason for spammers to flood our e-mail inboxes. It sounds nice, ‘spammers live in vain’.

The best solution, if there is a solution, is to stop the junk mail at your gateway. Anti-spam software can help. Legislation is a good idea too. We in India have not enacted laws to curb spam which is why it’s not just junk e-mail but also SMS that is being used to ruin your day.

Service providers are trying to dam the deluge but let’s face it, if spam hasn’t ceased yet it’s not going away tomorrow. Set up your e-mail filters, empty your bulk mail folder, avoid opening messages that come with garbled subject lines or no subject at all, set up your Web-based mail or e-mail client to not load remote images (which spammers can use to figure out that your e-mail account is active) and you’ll be as safe as can be.



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