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PC Security — Stopping Spam, Part II: Webmaster Strategies

Spam really is an ongoing battle. The chances are very good that it will not be completely stopped during your lifetime. Spam is essentially unsolicited commercial email, and is the equivalent of junk mail that you receive in your mailbox at home, in a way. However, there is one difference. While junk mail that you receive at home does not require the use of resources, which may or may not cost you money, spam does.

Spam must be battled from many different directions, and while larger corporations can do this, the individual has a harder time understanding which bases to cover. However, there are many things that you can do to combat spam. Webmasters and email providers of course have a much harder time than anyone else. Fortunately, there are tools available.

Remember that spammers will seldom, if ever, manually harvest email addresses. This would be an all day every day job, and they still could not possibly get enough email addresses in this fashion to profit from their endeavors. They use automated tools instead, which most of us know as spambots. These programs scan websites, automatically, and extracts email addresses which are then put into the list.

Remember that spam costs money in terms of time and resources. But few people realize that one of the best ways to combat spam is to hurt the spammer where they will feel it the most - in the pocketbook. Spambots look for certain strings of characters when seeking email addresses, such as The way that it is strung together, as well as the presence of the @ tells the spambot that this is an email address, and it will be harvested.

If you were to simply change the address to read the address may be harvested, but it would also have to be scrubbed before it could be used by a spammer, which of course costs them time, and probably money. The drawback to this method is that legitimate people, such as customers and web site visitors, must also alter the email address before they are able to do it. Fortunately, webmasters can now also use bits of CSS and such to prevent spambots from harvesting an email address as well.

Webmasters can also make it harder, and possibly even impossible for spambots to harvest email addresses by making them part of a graphic that displays on the site. Legitimate people can easily see the correct email address - but because it is a graphic, spambots cannot. However, with this method, the email address will not be clickable, and legitimate users will have to correctly copy it down in order to use it.

Most website owners these days do not display an email address at all. Instead, they combat spam by using a feed back form on the site. Users can go and fill out the form, type their personalized message in the text box, and submit it. The information than comes to your inbox, without any spambot tag-alongs.

A more difficult and time consuming method is to block the IP numbers of known spammers from your website. There should be a place to enter IP numbers that you want to block inside the control panel of your web hosting account. If you do not see it, contact your web host to find out where it is, and how to use it. You can also have a sleeping daemon on your website which will remain asleep until a process that you've indicated starts. At that time, the daemon will awake and kill the process - and then go peacefully back to sleep.

Remember that if you can cost the spammer in terms of money or time, you will most likely win. Of course, it will require some of your time to start this spambot blocking/killing process. Do yourself, your processor, your ISP, and everyone else a favor and take the time that it takes to protect your website from spammers.

  PC Security: Index
  PC Security: Internet Browsers
  PC Security: Spam
  PC Security: Stopping Spam Part 1
  PC Security: Stopping Spam Part 2
  PC Security: Spam Scams
  PC Security: Email Security and Spam
  PC Security: Email Security
  PC Security: Computer Viruses
  PC Security: Protecting Computers From Viruses
  PC Security: Worm Viruses
  PC Security: Trojan Horse Viruses
  PC Security: Rootkits
  PC Security: Removing a Virus
  PC Security: Virus Hoaxes
  PC Security: Server Viruses
  PC Security: Home Network
  PC Security: Cell Phone Viruses
  PC Security: Spyware
  PC Security: Firewalls Part 1
  PC Security: Firewalls Part 2
  PC Security: Parental Control Software
  PC Security: Malware - Spyware and Adware
  PC Security: Data Backups
  PC Security: Pop Up Windows
  PC Security: Safe Public Computer Use

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