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What is a Spam Filter?

Spam Filter

A spam filter is something that nearly everyone in the world uses, but many people have no idea what they are exactly and how they work. This article aims to go over the basics of this common software program and to show you exactly what is going on when a spam filter stops certain emails from entering your inbox!

What is a Spam Filter Exactly?

Firstly, it is important to go over exactly what a spam filter is. Essentially a spam filter it is a piece of software that looks at incoming mail and decides – based on preset instructions – whether the mail is relevant to you or is simply unsolicited mail from a spamming company. A spam filter is often installed straight onto an internet server, on a network server or even onto someone’s own personal computer – either way, it serves exactly the same purpose and prevents spam from becoming a problem.

Why do we Hate Spam?

The main reason why people do not want spam in their inbox is an obvious one – it is incredibly annoying! If you get many emails per day to read through, you don’t want to be distracted by spam emails that take time to weed out and delete, therefore affecting the productivity of your day. A spam filter does serve another purpose though, in that it helps to protect the user from malicious viruses and other threats. Spam is the most common method used to disseminate these and therefore any help you can get in preventing them is surely appreciated.

How do Spam Filters Work?

How do spam filters work? The basic answer is that they search incoming emails and any messages that match predefined parameters are sent to the spam folder. These parameters could include common words in heading associated with spam – such as “pornography” or “pharmaceuticals” – or perhaps a frequent use of a specific word within the email.

As spammers have become more advanced, so have spam filters. It used to be the case that these above two methods worked well, but now spammers have found ways around them. This means that the spam filters are now employing more advanced methods to detect spam emails, such as Beyesian statistical methodology, which essentially allows the user to define their own parameters.

It must be noted that spam filters are not 100% foolproof, so occasionally you will find some relevant emails getting placed in there. For this reason, it is always good practice to check the spam folder, just in case this has happened. On the whole though, they are very good and everyone with an email account should have a spam filter in place!

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    25th September 2011
    Posted by Web Hosting Consultant in tips

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