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Home Network Vulnerabilities: Spam, Cookies, Pop-Ups, Spyware, and Scams

Chapter Description

In addition to viruses and worms, there are some other annoying programs and files out there that you need to protect your home network from. This chapter focuses on spam, cookies, spyware, and scams—what they are, how they work, and how to get rid of or at least control them.

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Turn on Spam Blocking at Your Service Provider

How to enable spam blocking with your service provider will vary highly and depend entirely on how the ISP has chosen to set up its services. Enabling the protection is very easy. Just follow these steps (in this example, EarthLink is the ISP):

Step 1 Log in to the EarthLink My Account page using your account user ID and password.

Step 2 Click Spam Blocker. Choose the blocking setting that is appropriate (see Figure 16-3).

Figure 3

Figure 16-3 Enable Spam Blocking at Your ISP

There are three possible setting levels that we will take a moment to explain as they will also apply to spam blocking on home computers (which we will set up next). The three settings and how they operate are

  • Off—All e-mail is forwarded; no spam checking is performed.
  • Medium—E-mail is checked against known spammer lists, and matches are discarded.
  • High—In addition to checks against known spammer lists, you create a list of e-mail senders that are in your address book. Matches against the known spammer list are discarded. Matches from your address book are forwarded to your inbox. If the sender is unknown (in neither list), the e-mail is held as "suspected" spam. You then have to go in periodically and sort out acceptable e-mail from spam.

If you receive e-mail from only a few known e-mail addresses (friends and relatives), put them in the address book and turn the spam blocker on High. If you receive considerable e-mail from new sources, you probably need to go with the Medium setting.

If your kids have e-mail accounts, we would highly recommend the High setting (no pun intended). Kids should never receive e-mail from sources that you don't go in and specifically authorize.

8. Set Up Spam Blocking on Your Home Computers | Next Section Previous Section