Computer Crime Research Center


Spam mail and antivirus software

Date: November 15, 2007
By: Tamara Chuang

Q: I have a Dell Dimension 8400 computer running Microsoft XP. I seem to get a lot of returned mail that I have not sent out. I have all McAfee Virus programs but it doesn't help. I run every program to see if I have something wrong and it always comes back clear. Is there any way to stop this? Do you have any idea how it got started?

A: Sounds like you're getting a lot of unwanted e-mail, which most of the world unaffectionately calls spam. Spam mail doesn't necessarily mean virus. So anti-virus software programs may not detect spam. Check the software maker's site.

For example, on McAfee's site ( asp?productid=comparison), there's a chart that shows which services each product offers. Notice that only two of its five consumer products fight spam.

If you are searching for some anti- spam service, my recommendation is to check with the company that provides your e-mail service, which offers anti-spam and some virus protection to users.

Then there are plenty of companies including Norton, McAfee and others that charge a fee for additional protection.

Unfortunately, using a free service, or even paying for one, won't stop all spam.

Those sneaky spammers can find their way around filters. There may never be a cure, because it isn't hard to fake, or spoof, a sender's e-mail address.

If you do have anti-spam software and your problem seems worse then ever, make sure you constantly update the software.

If that still doesn't work, contact the company that makes the software. They will be interested in all the spam messages their anti-spam technology is missing.

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