Managing Your Email, Part Two: What is Spam?

IT Services
11/14/2016

In the previous installment of this series, we talked about the pitfalls of dangerous emails. We covered how to identify them and, more importantly, what to do about them. In that post, we discussed – broadly – what constitutes a dangerous email. But, there is a certain kind of email that most people are familiar with and, thankfully, able to recognize: spam. While spam emails are not always dangerous – as the word has been commonly-adopted to include any mass email – they are typically guided by a malicious intent. In the second part of this series on working with your emails, we’re going to discuss what spam is and, more importantly, what you can do about it.

What is spam?

Spam emails are defined as any unsolicited email that is sent to a massive list of people. Originally an acronym, “SPAM” stands for “Sending Posts AutoMatically,” and has grown to connote both unsolicited emails and email campaigns that users may have signed up for and forgotten about. Often, many spam emails will not include a way for recipients to “opt out” of future emails. Because the inability to opt out of mass emails is illegal in the United States, a large number of malicious spam emails are from foreign servers.

What should be done with spam?

There are several steps that you can take to limit the amount of spam that you receive. While the instructions below are provided for Microsoft Outlook, almost all email programs utilize similar features. If necessary, a quick Google search should reveal where these features are located in the program that you are using.

Step 1: Changing the level of junk email protection

In Outlook, you can navigate to the Home tab, in the Delete group and then, by clicking Junk and Junk E-mail Options, you can make adjustments to how aggressive your junk filter is. Ranging from “No Automatic Filtering” to “Safe Lists Only,” these options afford you a lot of control in regards to who is – and who isn’t – allowed in your Inbox.

Additional information can be found on the Office Support page, here. Please note, however, that permanently deleting junk messages is not a recommended setting, as false positives will be automatically deleted, as well.

Step 2: Add names to your Junk Email Filter lists

Featuring both a Safe Senders List and a Blocked Senders List, Outlook allows you to classify senders whose emails will – or will not – be allowed in your Inbox. By expanding these lists, you can drastically reduce occurrences of repeated spam and, if necessary, create a Safe Senders List to be used in conjunction with a high setting in your Junk E-mail Options.

For instructions on how to add to your Junk Email Filter lists, visit the Office Support page, here.

At NobleNetworks, we provide a wide range of IT services that include 24/7 monitoring and daily safety checks. Because we understand that not every computer user is an expert, we offer a range of both preventative and remediation services. If you’ve been experiencing an influx of spam messages – or, worse, suspect that you have fallen prey to one – contact us today to discuss how we can help.