Email filters: what’s spam and what’s not

The number of emails we receive daily is growing, and so are the number of unwanted emails. Spam emails can be frustrating to deal with, but what you think is spam, may actually be junk. Even though they both clog your inbox, the motives behind them, and how you deal with them, are very different.

Spam email

Officially, spam is unsolicited and unwanted emails that are sent in bulk and often come from stolen or non-sensical email addresses. Examples of spam are:

  • deceptive links to password resets (phishing attempts) and can appear to be from a legitimate businesses you regularly deal with;
  • money fraud – lotto winnings, tax refunds, or an inheritance;
  • dating scams.

Spam emails are malicious in intent, and their aim is to steal your accounts, dupe you out of money, or infect your system with malware to steal financial or other information.

Junk email

Pamphlets or advertising that arrive in your letterbox are considered junk mail. These are genuine offers, but if they don’t interest you, they’re just annoying rubbish that ends up in the recycling.

Junk email is the electronic equivalent that ends up in your inbox. For instance, you’ll almost certainly start receiving emails or electronic ads after you make an online purchase. Although it may appear to be spam, especially if it is excessive, it is not unlawful (most of the time).

Junk email is legitimate and not malicious, just like junk mail. If you don’t want to receive them anymore, you can either file them away or simply click the unsubscribe button.

Using email filters

Most of today’s email programmes, like Gmail or, feature built-in email filters that can identify spam and automatically shift it to a ‘spam’ or ‘junk’ folder. They do this in a variety of ways, such as analysing the email’s content, assessing the sender’s reputation, looking up the sender’s IP address, domain, and spam-sending history. When you mark an item as spam, they also take user comments into account.

These filters aren’t flawless though, and sometimes a valid email gets flagged as spam or a spam email manages to get past the filter and end up in your inbox. Because of this, it is recommended to frequently check your spam folder for legitimate emails and mark them as ‘not spam’. When you do this, the email is moved to your inbox and the filter is trained to recognise similar emails in the future. Similarly, spam emails flagged as spam in your inbox are forwarded to your spam folder.

Use whitelists and blacklists to make sure you always get or always block specific emails or domains. Whitelists contain email addresses or domains you want to be sure you receive, whereas blacklists contain those you want to block.

It’s important that you and your staff understand the distinction between, and treatment of, spam and junk email for your business, as well as how to set up and make the most of email filters to safeguard your business. To learn more, please contact us to arrange a consultation with one of our knowledgeable team to learn more.

Meet our Team

Black and white photo of Ian Ward

Ian Ward

CyberPro Founder & CEO

With 40+ years of experience in IT, there isn’t much Ian can’t advise you on. Since the advent of the internet, he’s been keeping businesses like yours ahead of the technology curve and cybercriminals. His #1 passion is and has always been providing outstanding customer service.

Trevor O’Shea

Senior Network Engineer | 8 Years

Adding another 40+ years’ IT experience to our team, Trevor has designed and worked in large Enterprise networks. He’s our Server and Infrastructure guy, helping us build robust cyber secure servers and networks. He’s responsible for designing and maintaining servers, networks, firewalls, and security devices.  Trevor has been with CyberPro 8 Years

Karena Powis

Accounts & Administration | 11 Years

Karena has an accounting degree and 10 years experience working with CyberPro. The team relies on her for the smooth running of all aspects of administration and accounts. Karena is a whizz in internal accounting systems and the person you’ll chat to about your account.  Karena has been with CyberPro 11 Years.

Matt Jones

Senior Engineer | 6 Years

Matt brings 15+ years of IT experience in Internet service providers, web hosting, and data warehousing. He’s our go-to for web security and Microsoft Office 365 advanced management. Beyond his expertise in web and email cyber security, he also assists clients with cyber security accreditation.  Matt has been with CyberPro 6 Years

Jenny Sinkinson

Co-ordinator & Administration | 6 Years

After 3 years with CyberPro, there’s not much Jenny doesn’t do. Her responsibilities cover coordinating the help desk, client liaison, logistics, ordering, license renewals, quotations, contract administration. Jenny is our ISO9001 quality champion, and been with CyberPro for 6 Years

Michael Visser

Senior Engineer | 6 Years

With over 30 years of experience in IT, including huge rollouts of technology in the armed forces and large Enterprises, Michael’s our automation and templated system builds whizz. He supports the remote management systems that let us upgrade hundreds of systems at the press of a button.  Michael has been with CyberPro for 6 Years.

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