Keeping Your Email Account Safe

Cyber Security

Email users can help reduce the spam outflows in the Internet. When a user signs up for something online, he should be careful while checking checkboxes and must not check checkboxes for additional offers. Else, he will receive email from partners of the site he signed up at. It is advisable to use freebie accounts to fight spam. Create a few freebie accounts, direct them to your main account, and use those freebie accounts to sign up for something online. If an account is spammed disable or abandon it. One word of caution: Never use your primary email address to sign up for anything. At the very least a user should use three accounts: one for business, one for personal stuff and another for online shopping .

There are many freebie accounts available in the market today, the primary of which are AOL/AIM, AOL My eAddress, Excite, Fast Mail, Google Mail, Goowy, Hotmail/MSN Inbox, Lycos, MyWay Mail,, and Yahoo!

If a user plans to use a freebie account as his main account, it is recommended that he use Gmail. Google Mail is arguably the most productive well thought out free email offering available, with highly efficient spam filters, loads of disk space for messages, and has Google with third party plug-ins to increase productivity.

There are also expendable email address services that have more selective disabling features than regular free email accounts. Having your own domain might include 50 to 100 email addresses as part of your hosting package. You can use these addresses for newsletter or shopping sign ups and redirect each account to a main account.

Whatever you may go about doing, never publish your main email address anywhere online. You can use freebie accounts, which can be dropped when necessary. Use a CAPTCHA image based code to separate spambots from human visitors. Encode your email address like me*AT#hotmail#DOT*COM so that humans can easily read them.

Few of the ISPs add junk mail header status information to messages passing through their mail servers. If the email client is suitable, you can write a “filter rule” to ditch any message whose header includes “X-Spam-Status:Yes”. The disadvantage is that there could be false positives on spam needing you to check the spam folder on a weekly basis.

You can also write your own command line email filters in a scripting language like Perl or Python; both of which have superior regex pattern matching abilities. Write a program to grab your email (copies) off POP or IMAP email servers. Build a frequency table for the keywords by saving the IPAddress information for each message. If the data is saved for long term profiling keep the spam information in a separate database. If some words in the message raise flags, compare their frequency counts against other words. This step should be manual until you build up long-term profiles. If its spam, delete the original copy of your mail server. An Operating System like Linux gives you the facility to integrate custom filters into your email client.