Menu

Spam

What is Spam?
Why can’t spam mail be stopped?
Does spam cause other problems?
Can I do anything to reduce the number of spam e-mails I get?

What is Spam?

Spam is used to refer to unwanted and unsolicited e-mail.

Why can’t spam mail be stopped?

You have probably noticed that many of the e-mails you receive are now marked with {SPAM?} in the subject field. This is the result of our attempts to identify spam using industry-standard software. However, it is not foolproof and is estimated to catch about 70% of spams. Unfortunately, it also sometimes identifies bona-fide e-mail as spam so we would not want to automatically delete any e-mail marked in this way. The software uses hundreds of rules to classify and catch spam. As with anti-virus software, it has to be regularly updated as people continually find ways around it.

Does spam cause other problems?

Yes, it can swamp mail systems and lead to a slow response in sending and receiving e-mail. We estimate that about a quarter of all external incoming mail on average (40–60,000 messages daily) is spam and there are times when the figure is much higher than this. We continually have to expand the capacity of our mail systems to cope with the ever-increasing load, much of which is junk mail. We are not alone in this – Hotmail have estimated that they process 2.7 billion spam mails per day!

Can I do anything to reduce the number of spam e-mails I get?

You can reduce the number that you get in your general mailbox using filters. Thus you can set up a filter which automatically puts anything marked as SPAM into a designated mail folder which you can examine at your convenience. Note that you must remember to look at it and delete all the messages that you don’t want at regular intervals: otherwise you’ll run out of disk space!

For more information on what you can do to prevent spam see section: What can I do about junk email?