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Protecting Your Privacy and Blocking Spam in Thunderbird

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Find out how to Thunderbird protects you from spam as well as securing your privacy in this sample chapter.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Do or Die:

  • Confront spam head on (you won't need a helmet)

  • Block loading of remote images in mail messages

  • Can I get a SPAM and cheese to go?

Ahh, spam. It's everywhere. Check out this 2004 quote from Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum: "Two years from now, spam will be solved." Well, he certainly took a rather optimistic view of how many inroads we would be able to make in the fight against spam. Instead of winning the war on spam, in many ways, we are continuing to fight a seemingly never-ending battle. Spam continues to flow into inboxes all over the world at an alarming rate. Companies scramble to implement server-side spam filters while consumers troll the web trying to find solutions to keeping spam out of their inbox and to keep themselves free of viruses, Trojan horses, and worms. Spam isn't only an annoyance—it carries a host of other threats that can be damaging to both you and your livelihood. It's also a very popular luncheon meat.

In many ways, this might be the most important chapter that you read in the Thunderbird section. First, you are probably concerned about protecting your privacy, especially when it comes to sending and receiving email. Second, you are most likely painfully aware of how precious time is and how annoying it can be to have to deal with large volumes of spam as well as the threat of viruses arriving via email messages. The takeaways from this chapter will be significant. You should come away with a better understanding of ways Thunderbird helps protect your privacy and keep you safe. You will confront spam head on by configuring Thunderbird's powerful junk mail controls so that spam will be a thing of the past, thus leaving you more time to focus on the mail that is really important to you. You will learn how to accept content from trusted sources by blocking remote images. Finally, your odyssey will take you into the brave new world of password and privacy options as you learn about ways you can use digital signatures to protect your privacy and security.

How Thunderbird Protects Your Privacy and Security

Thunderbird does a few things that will immediately put your mind at ease:

  • Thunderbird does not allow any scripts to run by default.

  • Thunderbird’s remote image blocking feature allows you to control remote content that is embedded in email messages.

  • Thunderbird’s junk mail controls offer a powerful way to filter out unwanted mail.

Why are these things important? Scripts can carry executable files that can cause irreparable damage to your email as well as to your computer. If you save your email locally to your hard drive, there are scripts that can run on your computer that can erase your hard drive—thus taking away all your saved mail in one fell swoop. Thunderbird puts you in control by not allowing these scripts to run by default.

Many spammers have now harnessed the power of remote content and are using it to harvest email addresses to propagate more spam. Thunderbird puts you in the driver’s seat by allowing you to control who can send you messages and content.

Finally, fighting spam is an almost endless battle. Spammers can bring corporate mail servers to their knees and waste valuable resources. Even server-side spam filters can’t catch every piece of spam. When trained, Thunderbird’s junk mail controls helps keep your inbox spam-free.

Let’s forge ahead and see some of these concepts in action. Pass the ham, and please hold the spam.

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