The continuing increase in spam has resulted in rapid growth in the use of spam filter programs: software designed to examine incoming email and separate spam emails from genuine email messages intended for the user.
Unwanted e-mail can be filtered at the desktop, the network email server/email gateway, the Internet Service Provider’s email gateway, or all three locations. While network managers and ISPs can choose hardened email security appliances, services or software designed to interdict both spam and viruses, desktop users are frequently limited to a software-based solution.
A number of commercial spam filtering programs exist and are readily available, but many freeware and shareware spam filters are also available for easy downloading and installation. Spam filters are currently included as standard features in nearly every available email client, though the quality of these built-in filters can be low; for some users, this may necessitate the use of a higher quality filtering solution.