Last updated: March 5, 2019
The Best SpamAssassin Hosting: Who’s The Best For Your Site? [Updated: 2019]
What is SpamAssassin?
SpamAssasin is a server-side software project that detects spam email messages based on customizable rules. Almost since its inception, email has been plagued by unsolicited bulk mail messages. Some of these emails are from otherwise legitimate businesses trying to draw attention to their offering, just like junk mail. Some of these emails are scams which seek to gain control of a user’s computer or personal information. All of them are considered spam.
According to some estimates, email spam accounts for 80–90% of all email messages. They are usually sent by botnets, networks of virus-infested computers, usually controlled by organized crime syndicates.
Most spam costs almost nothing to send, so even a very tiny rate of response makes it lucrative, since it can be sent at such extremely high volumes. One report in 2010 esimated that there are 183 billion spam messages sent every day.
Types of Spam Email
Ecommerce or Marketing Spam
The majority of spam email contains commercial messages advertising some kind of product.
The products and services advertised with spam range from online casinos to weight loss programs. The vast majority though (over 80%) are related to pharmaceuticals.
In some of these cases the product is real. Other times, the product is a ruse to collect credit card information. Sometimes there is an actual product but it is fraudulent in some ways. For example, spam email is often used to advertised the sale of penny stocks as part of a pump-and-dump price manipulation scheme.
Advanced Fee Fraud
If you’ve ever gotten an email from Nigerian Royalty, or been told you won a lottery you didn’t know you entered, you’ve experience Advanced Fee Fraud, also known as 419 scams.
In this scam, an email purports to have some large amount of money available for the recipient. The procedure required to receive the money involves forwarding a fee to some address designated in the email.
Some spam is disguised as official messages from trusted services like PayPal. The message claims that due to some security breach, the user will need to login and provide details such as a social security number. The links are directed to sites that are designed to look like the trusted service provider, but are set up by the fraudsters.
Backscatter spam is a sort of second-hand spam problem. Senders of spam emails usually forge their “from” address. Bounce messages are then sent by the recipient to the innocent server whose address was forged.