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How do I Choose the Best Anti-Spam Solution?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2016
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To choose the best anti-spam solution for your needs, you should typically consider what type of system you are trying to protect from spam and what defenses you may already have for your system. Most anti-spam solutions function by either blocking out keywords through various filters or by filtering out various email addresses from which spam may originate. Both of these methods have different strengths and weaknesses, and the best defense for you will often depend on your situation. You may also already have an anti-spam solution on your system that you can utilize to greater effect as well.

An anti-spam solution is a software program or other utility that functions to help prevent spam from reaching an email system. Spam refers to email and other types of messages that are unsolicited and undesired, often sent by anonymous sources or from unfamiliar addresses. These messages can present a number of security risks, including use in propagating viruses and malware, as well as use in phishing scams and other methods of identity theft. Since spam can also cost a company a great deal of money due to lost productivity, an anti-spam solution is typically a sound investment for both businesses and personal users.

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Common types of anti-spam solution systems often utilize either filters or reverse lookup methods for blocking spam. Filters typically involve a database of terms and combinations of words commonly used in spam. If an incoming message includes these terms, then it is flagged as spam. Reverse lookup systems track email addresses and Internet protocol (IP) addresses that send spam messages, and then block messages from those addresses.

While both of these systems can provide a powerful anti-spam solution for a user, there are drawbacks to each type. Filters can often create false positives and mislabel legitimate messages, and those messages that are flagged as spam still reach a user even though they are separated from other messages. Since reverse lookup relies on tracking addresses that send spam, such systems can be more expensive and difficult to maintain.

Many types of email services provide an anti-spam solution for free with an account through that service. This type of solution may not be sufficient for businesses, but it can often work well for private users. These solutions typically flag spam messages and isolate them in a separate folder, away from desired incoming messages. An email anti-spam solution typically uses filtering methods to block spam messages, though many users can use other solutions in conjunction with those provided by an email service.

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