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Spam: an avoidable nuisance.

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Spam can be quite a nuisance, filling your inbox with loads of lottery hoaxes and pharmaceutical bargains. Although there are a number of different filters available for your email handler to remove those items from your inbox, it would be great to prevent spam bots from getting your email address in the first place.

How does spam work? Well, a piece of program called a Spambot surfs the net looking for anything resembling an email address, ie, a string of text followed by an @ and a dot something.

How do you prevent spam from acquiring your email address? Well, one way is to not sign up for any free online accounts, joining or posting to listservs, forums or blogs, or posting your email on your library’s website.

Sometimes, you may have a choice when it comes to the online accounts and blogs etc, other times, however, your job may require your contact information be posted publicly. Luckily, there is a way to post an email address on your site, yet hide it from the spambot.

Every character you see on a website actually has a specific ASCII code representing it. The code for an uppercase “A”, for example, is represented by “&” followed by #65; The @ symbol even has its own code. If you spell out your email in ASCII and place it in your web site, your email displays normally, yet spambots are fooled because they do not read nor recognize ACSII.

If you would like to learn more about Spam and internet safety, request my “Gone Phishing: Spam, Scams, and Email Hoaxes” workshop. I can be reached at: email: rita.gavelis@umassmed.edu
phone: (978)662-2119

-Rita

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