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How to survive an email bomb ?

Advice from an Email Security Expert

You walk into your (home) office on Monday morning and open Outlook, ready to tackle a weekend’s worth of emails.

Except that today, instead of the dozen or so emails that are normally sitting in your inbox every Monday morning, you have a whopping 428. You check in with your colleagues to see if anyone’s machine misbehaved during the weekend and sent out all these notifications, but it seems you’re the only one who has been affected.

This is clearly going to take more coffee. Fresh cup in hand, you call IT to ask what’s up. They go through a few emails with you and determine that they appear to be newsletters, promotions, subscriptions, offers, business advice, etc. While these emails are generally harmless and not exactly spam, they certainly are annoying. Especially because you never subscribed to them. And especially on a Monday morning.

Now you have to dig through 428 emails to find the ones that matter. Congratulations, you’re the lucky victim of an email bomb!

One of the downsides of email is that senders can send you anything – whether you want it or not. Blacklists and other similar measures do a fairly good job of protecting your inbox from spam, malware and other threats, but what about marketing emails and the like? Best practices advocate double opt-ins but sadly, few organizations use them.

That means any malicious sender can easily mess up your inbox – such as by subscribing you to hundreds of newsletters.

Was it the disgruntled employee you had to fire last week? Bob from accounting, who enjoys pulling pranks but doesn’t know when he’s passed a line? Or just some random kid halfway around the world?

Chances are you’ll never know. But if you do a basic Google search for email floods (or email bombs), you’ll see that there are tons of tools online that make launching these types of attacks extremely easy – even if you have virtually no technical skills.

Your IT folks aren’t too sure what to do with this mess, so they call the email security provider. They explain the issue to the provider’s level 1 techs, but when they send in the sample, the provider says the sample isn’t malicious, so there’s nothing it can do. Meanwhile, your productive Monday morning is quickly slipping away. These 428 emails might not contain malware – thankfully – but they are preventing you from getting anything done.

The IT team tries to help by suggesting you unsubscribe from all these mailing lists, but you have no idea how many lists you’ve been subscribed to. How long will this unsubscribing process take? Two hours? Two weeks?

What’s going through your mind at this moment is that surely there has to be an easier way of surviving a mail bomb.

I wish I could say I have an easy fix, but it would require absolutely everyone using a double-opt-in and a CAPTCHA in their subscription forms. Sadly, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

But I can make sure you never fall victim to another subscription bomb ever again. Zerospam’s CARE team has seen these attacks before and can quickly take steps to block all such emails.

Yes, you might temporarily miss out on your Pinterest newsletter, but at least you can get back to work!

After all, it’s easier to re-subscribe to a handful of wanted newsletters than to manually unsubscribe from hundreds.

Ready to have an email provider that cares about your productivity?