What is Spam?

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What is Spam?

Spam is a word adopted by the Internet community to describe mass-message posting via email or Usenet newsgroups. These messages are usually unsolicited and invasive commercial advertising, typically for get-rich-quick scams or to generate website traffic. It costs the sender very little send yet consumes time and resources for both Internet Service Providers and their customers.

Does XMission sell email address lists to spammers?

Absolutely not. XMission does not sell any information about our customers to anyone. We neither encourage spamming from our clients nor third parties. Spammers would have to get your email address by some other means.

Where do spammers get my email address?

There are many ways, actually. One method is when companies use information that you willingly give them. When you sign up for a service or order products online, they will often ask for your email address along with other personal information. There will usually be a small check-box with fine print asking if you'd like to be added to mailing lists or have your information shared with others. This is called "opt-in". You have to choose to be added to lists or have your information shared with third parties. Many companies, on the other hand, use the "opt-out" method. They assume it's all right until you say it's not. They will usually state this in their privacy policy, if they have one.

Another method, and probably more popular, is to have programs that scour the Internet for email addresses. They search Usenet newsgroups, web pages, mailing lists, message boards, and any other public occurrence of email addresses. In turn, they either use this list for themselves or sell the lists at a considerable profit.

Because of the way email addresses are gathered, you must be careful where you choose to share your email address. The more public, the more chance there is for spammers to get ahold of it. It's usually best to not provide your email address in these public situations or guard it by adding extra characters (I.E.: support@REMOVETHIS-xmission.com).

What does XMission do to prevent spam?

  • We block email with certain keywords that are commonly found in spam in both the subject and body.
  • We block email with headers that identify the email as being created in known spam software.
  • We block repeat spammers by IP address or email address.
  • We use the RBL (Real-time Blackhole List) to mark messages for easy filtering by customers. (Look for this in the header: "X-RBL-Warning:".)
  • We use SpamAssassin to further score and mark messages with additional headers, making it even easier to filter.
  • We've developed easy-to-use optional server-side filters based on SpamAssassin scoring.

For years, XMission would add all spam email addresses to a filter. The filter became very large and unmanageable and wasn't efficiently catching spam. There were just too many one-time spammers. This large filter was beginning to bog down the mail server and had to be thoroughly cleaned up. With our new policy, we no longer add all email addresses that send spam to the filter, but rather only repeat spammers.

If you would like to see how much spam the current filters catch, you can view our Spam Blocked Per Day statistics.

Can I use XMission's spam filter for my mail server?

Yes. XMission offers a service called Spamcatcher that directs all email destined for your email server through our sophisticated spam filter.

The service tags incoming email with Spamassasin scoring which end users or domain admins can use to filter messages to the inbox based on their preferences. The service includes the ClamAV virus scanner to further protect customers. Additionally, this service spools your mail for up to 8 days in the case of an emergency to prevent you from losing critical customer messaging.

For a deeper understanding how XMission's spam and virus filtering works, please reference this article.

Spamcatcher is $15 a month per unique domain. To order Spamcatcher, please contact our sales or accounting teams.

What can I do to further prevent spam?

Many popular mail programs come with an option to filter. These filters can be set up to send email from a specific address to a folder of your choice, including the trash. We have instructions, including screen shots, for some of the more popular email programs' spam filters located on this wiki. You may also consult your email client documentation for more information on how to set up filters.

Additional headers have been added to each incoming email to make it easier to filter out spam. For more information on using this feature, please refer to our SpamAssassin help page.

XMission also offers easy to set up server-side filters. You can create these filters by going to the webmail filter settings: http://webmail.xmission.com/filters/ or https://webmail.xmission.com/ingo/basic.php?page=filters

XMission provides all customer email accounts the ability to further protect their email address via suffix support. Suffix support gives you the power of multiple email addresses, allowing you to easily identify and filter emails from all of your various senders, all from one account. In addition to “address@” you can also receive mail at “address+extrastuff@.” The text after the “+” is controlled by you. For additional information on Suffix support please reference this blog article.

Keep up with the fight against spam and check out these websites: