Whats is SPAM?
And how to solve it
SPAM is the name given to unwanted messages that sent via email, social media or comment areas on blogs and websites. In other words, SPAM is any message sent to multiple recipients, who receive it unintentionally. In other words, we don’t ask to receive this kind of message, we didn’t show interest, but it still reaches us. Most of the time, sending SPAM has a commercial purpose to try to get the user to buy your product or service. But there are also cases where the sending of SPAM aims to access our data through viruses.
Email is one of the most used platforms by criminals. It is through email that many advertise a new or cheaper product, causing people to click on the links. They also send files with links that contain viruses which in turn will steal our confidential information.
We also receive a lot of spam through our website comments. Receiving such a message is very common in the virtual world, but we can take some precautions to avoid receiving it as much as possible.
And What are the Problems that SPAM Causes?
This type of message can cause many problems for the recipient.
First, it's filling the user's inbox with messages that he didn't request, ending up with needlessly less memory.
It can imply expenses for the person or company, because if it is a constant, they will have to spend money on data traffic or security.
One of the biggest problems is the links that many SPAM messages contain. Some of these links have viruses or direct the user to malicious websites.
With the receipt of SPAM messages, it happens very often that the filter that blocks this type of message classifies a normal and trustworthy message as SPAM, by mistake. This causes a huge inconvenience for the user or company as we do not receive certain important emails because they end up in the SPAM box immediately. Many emails can go unnoticed because they went straight to the SPAM box.
SPAM on WordPress Sites
Ways to Stop Spam on your WordPress Site:
- Disable comments from your site. If you don't need comments on your page, this is an effective way to stop spam. By unchecking the comments they will not be able to send you unwanted messages by this means.
- Disable anonymous comments only. If the comments ask the visitor for the name, email and other data, it will be more difficult for “bots” to leave automatic comments.
- Moderate and filter the CommentsThis way, the user will be able to filter the comments and accept only those that are not spam.
- Only allow comments from users who have logged in. If you prefer that only comments from people who have previously logged into your page are allowed, only these users will be able to access this feature, thus preventing the entry of spammers.
- Use the site's blacklist. Here you can create a list of words that are frequently used by spammers. Thus, when inserting the negative words that you do not want to have on your website, when you receive a comment that has any of these words, it will automatically be deleted in the trash.
- Reduce or Block Links. We've already mentioned that spam comments often have links. To avoid this type of post you can ban comments with links or reduce the number of links per comment. This is a way to control SPAM that is often sent as a link.
- Disable Comments for certain posts only. If you want to disable comments on your WordPress site after you've published posts and if you want to remove comments on a particular post, know that you can. This way you can keep the comments for the rest of the content but disable it for a certain theme.
Prevent Spam Comments with the Help of a Plugin:
If you prefer a more effective way to stop WordPress comment spam you can install plugins that you can manage. In other words, you can keep the comments on the site but prevent the spam ones from being published.
- Akismet. Akismet is very popular and checks site comments to identify whether any comments are spam or not. The comment considered spam is not published. The administrator can check the content and then if he wants to publish it. By now, Akismet identifies millions of spam on WordPress sites worldwide. It is one of the most chosen plugins by users.
- Disable Comments. This is a free plugin that allows you to globally disable comments for a post type.
- Titan Anti-spam & Security. This antispam hides spam on your website and can also detect malware, invalid URLs, backdoors and SEO spam.
- Captcha. This is a very popular plugin and it is very common to find it on different websites. I'm sure you've already seen this message asking you, for example, to select the squares with images that contain a car or a traffic light. It's easy to resolve for humans, but even the best “bots” aren't capable of processing. When they don't complete the test they are blocked. This is a way to prove that the user is a human being.
More and more sites use captcha. After choosing the right images you have to select ‘” I am not a robot’”.
- WPBruiser. It uses algorithms to detect spam comments and does not need Captcha images or any kind of human detection. It's an advantage as users don't like to waste time solving Captcha mini-tests.
- Antispam Bee. This plugin effectively blocks spam comments and trackbacks, without the need to include captchas and without sending personal information to third-party services. Once identified, spam comments are directed to a spam list where they can be deleted. Only authoritative comments are accepted.
- WordPress Zero Spam. This plugin utilizes AI and spam detection techniques and IP database spammers known worldwide to identify and block intruders. This tool also doesn't need a captcha, which is good for page visitors.
- All In One WP Security & Firewall. It's a free and very complete plugin. Everything spam protection on your WordPress site can be found in this plugin. It is considered one of the best.
- Dials. This plugin is very complete and chosen by many professionals in the digital world to protect their websites and blogs. It not only allows interactions, but also the analysis and moderation of comments.
What sets Disqus apart is that it has an automatic spam filter, which makes screening a lot easier.
- Yoast Comment HacksThis option allows for much easier comment management. We can add settings such as: disable comments below and above a certain extension, redirect comments to a thank you page, and delete comment notification emails. It's a pretty complete alternative.
- wpDiscuz. It is one of the most recommended plugins for your WordPress blog or site and one of the fastest. Comments are stored in your website's database for safe keeping. You can integrate it with other plugins.
- Super Socializer. It's a handyman plugin that caters to all your website's social needs. Add social comments to the site so people can comment while using their social media accounts.
WAF- What is it?
SPAM in email
This practice is often associated with specialized platforms that send to mailing lists without sending permission. It can also happen that a computer is infected with a virus that takes over addresses and sends infected messages to those contacts.
The most frequent are companies that want to publicize their products and services, in the form of advertising, and send this message to the greatest possible number of recipients. Usually this submission is done without any specific targeting and of course without authorization. Unfortunately, this is a very frequent situation in the virtual world.
Does my email system filter SPAM?
Many of the free webmail services have anti-spam filters that act immediately by evaluating who is sending the message and filtering it into the spam box. Even so, it’s not enough to block all spammers.
Devices with “bots” are able to bypass these filters and remain anonymous.
And what should I do to avoid SPAM in email?
- When receiving an unwanted message, always classify it as spam;
- Enter safe sender addresses you trust so they are not deleted from your inbox and sent to your spam inbox;
- Do not open messages from unknown or suspicious looking senders;
- Don’t open content that looks dodgy like that bracelet of a big brand, but that has a giant promotion, or a supposedly new or miraculous product that you’ve never heard of, etc. Everything that appears to be false, don’t open;
- Watch out for weird titles, even if it’s an email coming from a family member or friend. Don’t forget that their computers or mobile phones can be infected and automatically send this kind of email. Always check that the title has no errors or incorrect and incomplete translations. If you still have doubts, ask another way if the person really sent you this email. It is common for the user to receive a strange message from a friend, but click on the content because they trust the person;
- Don’t share your email everywhere. If they don’t have access to your email, they won’t be able to send you spam. Only share with people and companies you trust;
- Do not disclose your personal information publicly. By publicizing your contacts online, bots created by spammers can easily capture your data. Disclose data privately;
- Protect yourself on social media. Prevent your personal data from being easily exposed on social networks. These already have security mechanisms that you should use to protect yourself. Check the security and privacy of Facebook, Instagram and other accounts;
- Keep your antivirus always up to date. You should always keep your phone, computer or tablet well protected, using a good antivirus. Don’t forget to update it;
- Avoid suspicious websites. There are sites with content that we should avoid as they are easy ways to expose ourselves to spammers. Search only for sites that you trust;
- Never click on the website mentioned in the SPAM message. Avoid sites that contain this practice and do not click on links with SPAM, as you will be helping these sites to continue sending messages of this kind;
- Use a secondary email address. In situations where it is even necessary to put your email the best option is to use a disposable email address, not your primary email address. You can create a secondary email just for these situations to avoid many annoying situations by having your main email inbox invaded with spam emails.
It is difficult to say that we will be able to end with SPAM as the characteristics of this practice make it increasingly difficult to control this type of virtual threat.
However, many times receiving SPAM happens due to carelessness on the part of the user, either because he clicked on the unknown link or because he downloaded malicious content. If you are informed and know what to do to avoid receiving emails of this kind, you can prevent your inbox and website from being polluted with spam.
SPAM or email marketing: the differences
There are huge differences between email marketing and spam. And the main one is in the permission of the email address of the person to whom the message is intended.
A spammer sends a lot of emails to people who have not consented or anticipated this sending.
In email marketing, people have agreed and previously authorized the receipt of these messages.
And even if you are allowed to send emails to a specific person, but the message you sent doesn’t contain the content they agreed to receive, your email can still be considered spam. Thus, even if you have a brand and want to promote your product or service and have no intention of stealing data, you must obtain prior authorization from the recipient so that your message does not run the risk of being considered spam and being reported or deleted.
For a good email marketing strategy it is important to know that no one likes having their inbox full of unwanted emails. Therefore, segment your recipients well and plan an efficient marketing strategy that reaches your target audience.
About Luís Horta
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