Carol@mirror.Co.Uk: Spam; Global Plans to Bite Back against the Junk Email Epidemic

Article excerpt

WHETHER it's a cheap Rolex, the perfect way to lose weight or Viagra, our computers are being clogged up with emails promising the earth for very little.

Known as spam - yep, just like the tinned meat that used to turn up as fritters at school dinners - these unsolicited emails make up two-thirds of all electronic mail, say experts, and can grind entire systems to a halt.

Last month anti-spam agencies from 15 countries met to create the London Action Plan. At least 80 per cent of junk emails hitting British net users originates from overseas, underlining the importance of cross-border co-operation and enforcement.

The Plan includes agreements to improve communication and training to track down and prosecute the spammers. "The Plan demonstrates a true international commitment to fighting spam," said John Vickers, chairman of the Office of Fair Trading which co-hosted the event with the US Federal Trade Commission.

AOL, Yahoo and Hotmail say they will make anyone who tries to send unusually high number of messages prove who they are first.

But unfortunately spam is here to stay. Read our guide here to prevent yourself being buried by the stuff.

GETTING IT

SPAMMERS get hold of your email address from various sources including marketing lists from people such as retailers.

There are also hackers selling list of millions of emails from as little as pounds 30.

Basically, any time you give your email address online or post messages to a newsgroup you are making yourself vulnerable to spam.

AVOIDING IT

NEVER, ever reply to spam. It only rewards the spammer.

Never buy from a spammer

Don't send on chain mails or petitions - they are spam too. …