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Spam is e-mail that is sent out in bulk, usually to advertise websites. Unlike legitimate bulk e-mail, you cannot remove yourself from a spam list.

Prevention

The most effective way of preventing yourself from being spammed is to keep your e-mail address out of the hands of spammers. Because you are stuck with your Carleton e-mail address, you should use a different address whenever signing up for a website that you do not trust to keep your information private. Free e-mail services used by Carleton students include Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and Blue Bottle.

Unfortunately, your Carleton address can still be obtained even if you never disclose it to any websites. For example, if a friend's computer is infected with spyware, then it may transmit the addresses of everyone in that person's address book to the creator of the spyware program, who in turn could sell the addresses to spammers. For this reason, the ITS Helpdesk does not recommend the use of Outlook or Outlook Express, the programs that spyware has been most commonly known to extract e-mail addresses from.

Your e-mail address may also be "harvested" if it is posted on a public website. Be aware of this possibility, especially if you post your e-mail address somewhere that receives a lot of traffic, such as a public bulletin board system. This risk is lower if you only post the part of your e-mail address before @carleton.edu, and leave the rest implicit.

Spam filtering

Carleton pays for a spam filtering server, Barracuda, that catches known spam and then, on a regular basis, tells you what it has caught. Barracuda has a very low rate of false positives, so it is generally safe to simply delete all messages caught by Barracuda.

If spam is a problem for you, you may wish to use an e-mail client that adds an additional layer of spam filtering. Mozilla Thunderbird, a free mail program available for all major operating systems, has spam filtering technology built in.  Mail, the e-mail client that comes with Mac OS, has a similar spam filtering feature.

External links

  • Spam - Article on Wikipedia