How do spam filters work?
To understand how spam filters work, we first need to understand what is actually classed as Spam.
- irrelevant or unsolicited messages sent over the Internet, typically to a large number of users, for the purposes of advertising, phishing, spreading malware, etc.
Spam isn’t always necessarily sent via email. It can be in social media messages too but today I will be talking about spam emails, and how your spam filter works to protect you against them.
What is your spam filter looking for?
Spam filters will look for several different identifiers. They aren’t always accurate though and sometimes might mix up a genuine email for spam – and vice versa if you have a very clever spammer who knows how to get around your filters.
Luckily, if an IP address has been used to send spam previously your filter will pick this up and assume they are sending spam again. These emails will go into the spam folder.
Spam filters look within an email for a physical address. If this isn’t present, the filter assumes the sender is hiding something and can send the email straight to the spam folder.
Some filters are also triggered by certain words Here are a list of some of the words and phrases your spam filter will look out for:
- cancel at any time
- click here
- dear friend
- great offer
- increase sales
- promise you
- risk free
- this is not spam
Some filters will also look at your previous behaviour. If you delete an email before opening it from the same sender, on more than one occasion, some spam filters will assume you already know this is spam and get rid of it before you must delete it yourself again.
You can also use a Rules-based filter, which means you can set your own criteria for recognising spam, such as specific senders or working that you determine yourself.
No Spam filters
It’s not compulsory to have your spam filter on, the danger of this is that you might accidentally be tricked into clicking something that is a phishing email or even a virus. Also, depending on how much spam you receive it can cost you your time, which is precious, I know I don’t have time to sift through emails deciding if they are legitimate or not. Imagine you are on a spam deleting spree and accidentally delete something that you needed.
Is your spam filter working as you want it to? If not get in touch with Luke or Reece to discuss how you can improve your spam filter and stop those nuisance emails – firstname.lastname@example.org