Is It Possible Not To Receive Spam Any More?

from the could-be dept

In a short post at E-Media Tidbits, Steffen Fjaervik, points to a study in Norway saying that 69% of Norwegians received spam last year. Fjaervik notes, jokingly (I think…), that the real news is that 31% of Norwegians can’t recognize spam. It raises an interesting question, though: can you be spam free these days? Obviously, if you have a long term internet presence, that account has probably been compromised. But, with a new account, it seems like people should be able to know enough and be careful enough to remain mostly spam free.


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Comments on “Is It Possible Not To Receive Spam Any More?”

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14 Comments
Jamie says:

Spam Free

I can’t say that my account is completely spam free. But I think your right. If you are knowledgeable, and begin a new account, you can be nearly spam free on that account. Simply by being careful about who you give your address out to you can avoid most spam. Unfortunately, you do occasionally have to give your address out where it isn’t that safe. For that you maintain a junk address that you only check to empty. When I first started on the Internet (quite a few years ago) I wasn’t that careful. I also didn?t maintain an account just for those forms that require an email address. Now the only spam I get is on the junk address.

thom (user link) says:

Re: Spam proof e-mail

Steve Gibson mentioned an idea of note. Add the year into your e-mail address.

Like BOB2005@YourDomain.com.

Then next year, you have BOB2006@YourDomain.com. If an e-mail bounces back from a closed account, your friends can easily fix the problem. According to the guy who tried it, it took the spammers about a year to get his address into the system. So, he just closed the address and moved on.

Tim (user link) says:

Re: Re: Spam proof e-mail

> According to the guy who tried it, it took the spammers about a year to get his address into the system.

Depends entirely where you publish the address. Having dealings with large companies may be likely to result in at least one of them spamming or sharing the data with another spammer.

However, post on usenet and you’ll get a spam within a fortnight, IME.

TJ says:

For a while

If you don’t use a too obvious name@ (like bob@) portion and are careful you’ll do fine for some time, even longer for a mailbox used only with people you know. I use a single address with all human contacts and it stays clean of spam after several years.

The problem is even supposedly legit companies. For communicating with companies I use a disposable address service that lets me give each company a unique random address that can be turned off if it is compromised. Those start getting spam from time to time, and I know which company leaked it since the address is unique to them. Catalog companies are bad even if the privacy policy says no sharing of e-mail addresses, but most big online companies I deal with have their act together. The most recent slip was a news publication that offered a free year’s subscription to a new paper magazine. One month later the address for the news company was getting spam daily. Sure enough they gave it to the magazine publisher, who either sold/traded it or had unscrupulous employees/contractor who did. Without the disposable addresses I’d have never realized where the spam had come from.

Anonymous Coward says:

Theoretically? yes. Practically? no.

If you set up a brand-new email address and don’t
use it — or use it very sparingly — then, sure,
it’s likely that it will not fall into the hands of
spammers and thereby become a target.
However…if you use it frequently for day-to-day
correspondence, then it’s nearly guaranteed that
they’ll acquire it. There are a variety of reasons
why, but most of them have to do with poor security:
spammers acquire addresses by “harvesting” all the
mail and address books on compromised Windows systems (and with an estimated 100M of those —
and counting — our there, that’s a highly
effective method); they tackle insecure mail
servers (once again, Windows leads with the
way, the insecure-by-design Exchange); they buy
addresses from web sites and online vendors;
they scrape them from web sites and newsgroups;
they buy/sell/trade them with each other; and
they use phishing techniques to trick users into
revealing them.
The result of all this is that an email address
which is in active use will almost inevitably end
up on their lists.
Which does not mean that it’ll receive spam:
only that it will be targeted for spam. If it’s
protected by sufficiently-clueful mail system
admins, using advanced techniques such as
blacklists, then it might not receive much.
Unfortunately, most mail system admins are
very uneducated about proper anti-spam techniques,
and often deploy amateurish hacks that make
the problem worse (example: Barracuda).
Conclusion: if you’re going to actually use
your address, then make sure your mail system
admin(s) know what they’re doing. If they don’t
recognize words like “DROP list”, “outscatter”,
“ROKSO”, and “NJABL” then they are incompetent
and you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Phil says:

No spam

The management in our company used to complain about spam and drive all of us guys in IT insane. (we never got any spam ’cause we didn’t do stupid things online) At any rate, we were forced to actually get some anti-spam to quiet the complainers. After beating our heads against the spam assassin wall in dealing with the lost emails, we evaluated Barracuda, but quickly figured out that it’s just spam assassin under the hood (why pay for it?!?). We were suggested to try Mailfoundry’s appliance, and while the spam kill rates were cool, we bought it ’cause there were ZERO kills on real email. That was our biggest PITA (pain in the ass) in dealing with other systems. Best of all was the price – same as Barracuda, and NO spam assassin in the Mailfoundry product. (though my buddy uses Barracuda and loves it)

Patrick McGovern (user link) says:

I'm Spam free... in a sense

I have well over three hundred email accounts.

I have an account that I use for replying to posts like these, that points straight to trash.
I have accounts that I use to communicate with specific groups of people.
I have accounts for countless exceedingly specific purposes.

When one gets comprimised by spam, I either delete it or point it to trash.

Of course, this is quite easy fir me, as I own several domain names and have the capability of creating as many email addresses as I care to on the fly.

Jean says:

Re: A simple solution

I have three accounts:
– one is only for human beings. I never give the address to a machine. This one is totally spam-free (and it has been for two or three years).
– the second one is for clean machines. I give it to Amazon, the Economist and so on, careful to check the right box when I fill the form. this one is almost spam-free (maybe two or three undesired messages every week).
– the second one is for websites I don’t know anything about. But in fact, even this one is relatively clean, thanks to the MSN filter which seems to work decently.
So overall, I don’t have any problem with spam.

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