Reduce spam and phishing with a dummy mailbox

The problem

So, how do you protect your e-mail address from spam and phishing emails? Simple, this is almost unavoidable. Now, there is one problem though. A lot of services online require you to have an email address: registering on a website/forum, ordering something online, etc.; and most of the time it’s very easy to do so. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to know what the company does with your information. Even if the site claims that it will never share your address with third parties or sell it, you can never be one hundred percent confident.

Spam & Phishing

We already talked a lot about phishing (How to go against phishing & Phishing Trends), but what is spam? Spamming is sending multiple unsolicited emails to a large number of email addresses for commercial advertising, phishing campaigns, malware distribution, or even non-commercial propaganda.

Spam is annoying, but it’s also a threat. While many of us might think we’re savvy enough to recognize any form of it, spammers regularly update their methods and messages to trick potential victims.

Fun anecdote: Spam is named after luncheon meat in a Monty Python sketch. The sketch is about a restaurant that has Spam in almost every dish. In which Vikings annoyingly sing “Spam” repeatedly.

A possible ‘solution’

Although there is no solution, we can provide some tips to reduce the amount of spam and phishing sent to your main e-mail address.

One solution could be to make a secondary email address. Using it only for online services. You then only access the second one when you need something from an online service (password reset, e-commerce, etc.). Having spam and phishing emails on that second email address is less irritating. You won’t be accessing that mailbox very often anyway.

Now, there is one more “volatile” solution to this problem – disposable email.
Disposable email is a service provided by many websites online. It creates a temporary email address. This email address can then be used for a short time and will function exactly the same as a normal email address but only for a limited time.

If you Google “temporary email address”, a lot of services can be found. Taking a quick look at one, we can see the services provides a temporary email address directly when visiting the website, with no registration or any personal information needed. This means using a disposable email address also helps you protect your online identity!

The best solution? Probably a combination of all the above. Having the main email address for all your personal emails, a secondary email account for your online services, and using disposable email addresses for anything else.

This post was provided by one of our pentesters: Jorden Deserrano
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