Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

So…what is that Spam Blocked thing?

This past weekend I managed to find the time to add a couple of new features to Tech–for Everyone, which are visible in the column on the right. And I explained how to take advantage of them (particularly the Tag Cloud) in this article.
For those of you who checked in that day, you will remember that there was a “glitch” that day and my first posting vanished into the digital ether and was gone forever. So — after I calmed down — I wrote a second, shorter, version.

In the gone-forever version, I took the time to explainspamblocked.jpg the Akismit Blocked Spam counter visible in left column. This screenshot shows the stat as of this moment: 279 comments blocked as “spam”. I want to assure you, Dear Reader, that this does NOT mean that I have blocked your comments… because I did not like them… or felt spiteful.

We here at Tech–for Everyone (me) welcome and encourage reader comments, questions, and suggestions — all the time, every time. I don’t even mind being corrected.
I have no restrictions or filters on the Comments area but one — vile and/or insulting language is not tolerated here. Period. This series of posting is, after all, published for everyone, and some people find offensive language, well, offensive. This site is rated G.

So, what is being blocked? Spam. I have mentioned in prior articles a disturbing statistic — 80% of all traffic on the Internet is email (POP3 and SMTP packets) spam. In an effort to sell us stuff we don’t want, and (sometimes) to get our credit card number, spammers have taken to posting their spam email as a comment on a blog. The picture below is a small sample of my Akismet spam report.


(To view this whole screenshot, click on it.) The top example is of the type that encompasses a full 97% of the spam people post in my comment boxes. A string of randomly generated words, with medications available as links.

I have never clicked one of these links, ordered medication online, or linked any publication of mine to any medical website or organization. Heck, I avoid doctors and hospitals like the plague! So, what could possibly make these spammers think that here would be a good place to advertise medications? A: Readers. This blog has readers.

I repeat, 80% of all the zero’s and one’s flying across our communications wires (our “bandwidth”) is generated at a fly-by-night dot info web address (I mean, who else would name their mailbox and vomited onto us folks who are just trying to go about our daily lives. This is one, very good reason your Internet is slow. I would like to hunt these folk down. I won’t tell you what I’d to them when I found them.

Tip of the day: I would like to tell you that you could spam the spammers, and give them a taste of their own medicine. I would like to tell you that you could forward your spam to the United Nations’, or Interpol’s crack Anti-Spam unit and a commando unit would be dispatched to shut the perpetrator down, mindless of borders or laws. I would like to tell you that there’s an effective way to combat spam. But there is none. All you can do is use rules and filters and 3rd-party applications to automatically ‘block’ this stuff from making it into your inbox — like Akismet does for this website.

I will discuss rules, and “white lists” and “black lists” soon … I hope you’ll stay tuned.

Today’s free link: The spam blocking program I like best is the free version of Mailwasher. It includes a ‘bounce-back’ tool that causes the spammer to believe your address is invalid. To download the free version, click here, and scroll down a little ’till you see the blue button.

Copyright © 2007 Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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August 24, 2007 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, how to, PC, Phishing, privacy, security, tech, Windows | 1 Comment