Topics/Knowledge Base/Email

About Spam

Tyson Acker
posted this on March 24, 2012 21:05

This article explores one of the hottest topics surrounding email services: Spam.

 

What is Spam?

Most people whom have used email are all too familiar with spam.  Strictly speaking, spam is any piece of unsolicited email that has been sent indiscriminately to multiple recipients.  The content of spam varies greatly.  Some spam comes from legitimate companies advertising products and services by email, while other spam is malicious, containing email viruses, or phishing scams designed to defraud or steal personal information.  

Approximately 80 to 90% of email received by our mail server is spam.  That adds up to billions of messages each year!  Dealing with spam email is an ongoing challenge.

Below are some tips on how to effectively deal with spam.

 

Use an Alternate Email Address for Online Accounts

Only provide your primary email address to family, friends, and trusted businesses, such as your bank, Internet provider, doctor’s office, etc.

A free Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, or AOL account is perfect if you need to register for mailing lists, online blogs/forums that display your email address to the public, chat services, online gaming, online purchases, etc.  Some online services even sneak a clause in their terms of service which allows them to share your email address with their partners for marketing purposes.

When you share your primary email address online you are sharing it with people across the globe.  Local spam laws cannot protect you from Nigerian spam!

 

To Unsubscribe or not to Unsubscribe?

Five years ago if you asked us whether you should click on unsubscribe links, chances are the answer would be an unequivocal no!  Conventional wisdom used to be that clicking on unsubscribe would let the spammer know your email address was valid, and this would result in even more spam.

Now advice is changing.  In many countries, people that send solicitation email (spam) are required to abide by the same rules as telemarketers.  Most bulk email is required to contain unsubscribe links, and if you unsubscribe they are required to stop sending you email.

Be cautious but open to unsubscribing.  If you have provided your email address to a business, a website, or completed an online survey, then they may have signed you up for their newsletters. Unsubscribing is the best way to stop junk email in these cases.  If you don’t recognize the sender, using Google to search for more information may help confirm whether the bulk email is coming from a legitimate business, and show you where they are located.  If it’s an advertisement for a Nigerian Pharmacy, then it may be best not to use the unsubscribe link.  Also, be patient.  After unsubscribing, it may take a few days to take effect.

 

Log into Webmail and Mark Junk Mail as Spam

Our webmail system (https://mail.hover.com) contains a powerful anti-spam tool, the Spam button. If you select spam email in your Inbox and click on the Spam button, it will send us a detailed report. This information is used to improve and test updates to our spam filtering software.

To use the Spam button, log into mail.hover.com with your email address and password. Next, select a spam email message in your Inbox and click the Spam button.


Please note: Customers using POP3 to download email into mail clients such as Windows Live Mail, Outlook, Thunderbird, etc., need to configure their email software to leave copies of messages on our server in order to have copies of messages in webmail to mark as spam.

 

Being Part of the Solution

Please remember the golden rule for sending email  Don't send email to people that you don't directly know, and don't send the same email to everyone you know.

People you don’t know are more likely to report an unsolicited email as spam, and if you forward an email to 200 contacts in your address book, there is a good chance a couple of the recipients might report the message as spam. Multiple spam complaints could result in a temporary suspension of outbound mail services.

Don't Open Suspicious Attachments

Never open file attachments from unknown senders, and if you receive a suspicious attachment from one of your regular contacts, send a reply and ask what the attachment is before opening it, just to be safe. Many email viruses are spread by opening file attachments, and infected computers are used to send copies of the virus to address book contacts stored on the infected computer.

Use Anti-Virus Software

Anti-virus software will help protect you from sending and receiving email viruses. This reduces the number of infected computers on the Internet, and in turn reduces the amount of spam caused by email viruses.

Watch Out for Scams

Beware of unsolicited email messages that ask you to reply with personal information, or visit a website to provide personal information online. Examples of fraudulent email messages are provided in the following article: http://about.hover.com/scams

 

Comments

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John Beaty

A good overview. Thanks, Tyson.

July 19, 2012 15:25
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Clive Wright

I really wish Hover would offer their Spam Rejection capability (which they do for multi-mailbox business accounts) on an individual basis. I would pay more to have more than 50 addresses/domains that I can block and have a proper spam rejection solution. 50 just isn't enough. Please, please find a way to offer this. Thanks... Clive

September 12, 2013 11:58
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Sam Coulombe
Hover Help Center

Hey there Clive, Thanks for the suggestion. To improve the spam filters currently in place, we recommend that you login to your webmail account and mark the messages. This will help train the filters to recognize these messages and result in less spam in your inbox. 

September 13, 2013 19:47
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Clive Wright

Hi Sam,

I have already done that (which was a pain) and now I am out of the 50 maximum addresses/domains that it will filter - it's just not enough. Hover needs to offer up proper spam protection, this list of 50 addresses/domains is wholly inadequate as far as I'm concerned. Thanks... Clive

September 17, 2013 14:14
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Sam Coulombe
Hover Help Center

Hey there Clive, you do have the option to increase your spam filters to normal, high or very high. I have set your filters to very high and you should see a drop in the number of spam messages you receive. 

September 19, 2013 14:05
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John Beaty

Sam,

 

What you are not understanding is that we don't trust Hover's SPAM filters at all. We want to use BLACKLISTS, but hover only allows 50, and we need like 300.

 

When I set your filters to "high", the system caught dozens of false positives. I don't have the energy to go to your painfully slow webmail and spend time every day training your filters. If the webmail every gets as fast as gmail or icloud, then maybe I would consider it, but it takes 10's of seconds to full minutes just to load the initial page, and marking messages takes anywhere from 5-15 seconds per message. Totally unusable.

 

Clive, I use SpamSieve to filter email, it handles all my accounts using Apple Mail. But it takes place on my desktop, not webmail.

 

John

September 19, 2013 21:15
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Sam Coulombe
Hover Help Center

Hey there John, I understand the what you and Clive are asking for and I have shared the feature request with the team. Training the filters and changing your levels are options to help with the amount of Spam you may receive while we look into the request.  

September 20, 2013 11:34
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Clive Wright

John - thanks for the recommendation on SpamSieve, I'll check it out

Sam - I wholeheartedly agree with John's comments and concerns. I too am concerned that setting filtering to "very high" is going to incorrectly filter legitimate messages. Proper intelligent spam filtering software (not just a blacklist) is what is needed. Managing individual spamming accounts through the very slow webmail interface is not practical. Hope your team can come up with a solution, I am sure your customers would pay more if you could offer a good solution for spam. Thanks.

September 20, 2013 14:57
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Tyson Acker
Hover Help Center

Hi Clive and John - I strongly suggest using IMAP to download all messages and folders into mail software on your computer so you can view the spam folder and its contents. We do use intelligent spam filtering software however it is imperfect. We cannot guarantee there will not be missed spam or false positives. If you find webmail too slow, IMAP will probably be much faster for you. You can find our server settings for IMAP here: https://help.hover.com/entries/21188903-Email-server-settings

September 22, 2013 14:42
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John Beaty
Tyson, I appreciate your input, but you've got to realize that for advanced customers it's not workable. For example, while I'm traveling, I have no way to use my desktop setup to sort and de-spam my email. That's why blacklisting is so vital. What Clive and I want is what you offer to bigger clients, and we are willing to pay for it. I also want star addressing and a variety of other services, and later this year will have to change away from Hover if you don't offer them. But the point is not that we can't do Something, it's that the something we can do isn't what we need, just what Hover wants us to have because it's easier.

Also please tell Sam to read emails before answering. This isn't the first time she's answered a completely different question than I had asked. (Assuming that "Sam" is actually a real persons name. )

John
September 22, 2013 16:58
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Tyson Acker
Hover Help Center

Thanks for your honest feedback John. I realize that our current version of webmail does not have the blacklisting features you'd like to have.


Sam is a real person seated within earshot of me. She has read your message. We apologize if along the line we misunderstood any of your questions.

September 22, 2013 17:42