Junk mail is not only annoying, but also dangerous for your computer. We will show you how you can defend yourself effectively.
Hot girls, bigger penis, extra effective viagra, discount on garden tools, erotic dating, fake invoices, Nigerian mail about miraculous inheritance… And we could go on like this forever. It's all spam. The amount of ballast that goes into our mailboxes is overwhelming. In 2008, junk mail accounted for 92% of all messages. Last year, „only“ about one in two emails was unsolicited. Let's see what it is and how to reduce the amount of spam in your inbox.
The truth is that the decline in email spam is only relative. In fact, the number of annoying emails hasn't decreased, just the number of email users has increased. With around 100 million more email users every year, the number of email users has increased by around 40% over the last 10 years.
Spam can be divided into three basic categories according to the sender's intentions:
1. Advertising messages
We encounter these every day. These are the special offers and discounts on garden spades and axes. Someone sends us marketing emails and promises financial gain or increased brand awareness. Such messages land in your mailbox without you ever giving the sender your address.
2. Chain emails
These messages spread false information and urge the recipients to pass it on. Today, this post office targets mainly the older generation. The senders of disinformation emails assume that they can delude seniors. A typical case of the use (or rather abuse) of chain emails is the last presidential election, when one party tried to damage the reputation of its opponent.
3. Harmful content
The last and most dangerous type of spam. You can recognize it, for example, by its clumsy Czech. Such messages are often translated using only an automatic translator and offer easy introductions and similar baits. In most cases, your mail application will filter them out and move them to your spam folder.
In most cases, logical reasoning is all you need. If I have never participated in any lottery, I can hardly win a few million in it. When someone from your bank writes to you to pay the amount owed to the account in question, check which domain the email came from. If your bank has a csob.cz website, you should not receive a message from ČSOB from any other domain than csob.cz. There are often small nuances in domains, such as csob.ch or cs-ob.cz, so watch out for that.
In any case, do not download the attachments or click on the links. There is a risk of downloading malicious malware onto your computer that will make a mess. At best, you end up clicking on a link to a fake website. If you access such a site, do not enter any security information (identification number, password, etc.) and check that it is not a fake. Click on the lock icon in the address bar and check if the site has a valid SSL certificate (see image).
If you recognize a message as spam, be sure not to delete it! Instead, just move it to the spam folder where it belongs. This will help your message filter to better detect these types of messages and automatically move them to spam. If you want to forward spam to one of the services that deal with spam (email service provider, email blacklists, etc.), do not forward the message using the "Forward" button, but forward the message in an attachment and comment on the situation in the body of the message.
Check that your mail client is not automatically downloading remote content and images. Outlook or Thunderbird blocks downloading remote content automatically, but other programs may not. If you are automatically downloading remote content, the sender can find out more information about your device (IP address, type of device, browser, etc.) and target you better, making your next message more believable.
With automatic downloads blocked, you can open each message in text form and you are not at risk. You can calmly check if the message is spam or not and then decide if you want to download the remote content.
Conversely, if you want to automatically download remote content in Outlook, for example, for a weekly discount offer at your favorite e‑shop, you can disable this feature only for a specific source. A clear procedure on how to do this is available at Microsoft website.
Most senders include a link at the end of the email where you can unsubscribe. However, it may happen that there is no way to cancel the subscription, in which case we recommend that you put the sender on a so-called blacklist. Here you will find the procedure to put the sender on the blacklist in Outlook.
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