Spam email is one of the great annoyances of the digital world, and Gmail is no stranger to it. Not only can these unwanted messages fill up your inbox with useless information, but cybercriminals can also use them to trick you into downloading malware. Spammers will set their sights on your inbox for many reasons, but if you’re sick of getting a flurry of emails you constantly have to delete, there are ways to block email spam for good.
Also known as junk mail or spam mail, spam email is unsolicited email messages often sent in bulk to a large group of recipients. Spam is often used for financial purposes, consisting of harmless messages from advertisers about consumer products you may be interested in. However, scammers take advantage of spam by sending out large-scale email campaigns to steal money. Whether it’s to obtain your personal information or to infect your device with a virus, ransomware, or other types of malware, cybercriminals utilize spam as a form of phishing to plunder your hard-earned cash.
Thankfully, Gmail uses a number of AI-driven filters to detect spam mail and puts it in your inbox’s Spam folder. While this can significantly reduce the amount of cleanup for your inbox, there are some malicious spam emails it may not pick up; spammers can avoid getting caught by Gmail filters. If you’re experiencing a flood of unwanted emails, read on to learn how to block spam email in Gmail.
How to block spam email addresses in Gmail
Sometimes, just opening junk mail can evoke even more spam crowding your inbox. If you are aware of an email address consistently sending spam, you can block the email address in Gmail.
- Open Gmail on your device.
- In your inbox, check the box beside the spam email of the sender you wish to block.
- Click the three vertical dots located at the top bar of your inbox.
- Click Filter messages like these.
- In the pop-up window, select Create filter.
- Check the Delete it box and click Create filter.
When the email address tries to send you mail, it will automatically be deleted. This is a good way to permanently stop receiving unsolicited messages from a specific sender, especially if they are harmful.
How to report email as spam in Gmail
Deleting spam email is good practice, as it keeps your inbox organized and keeps any malicious links or attachments in the email at bay – like a PDF with a virus. However, this won’t stop spammers from sending more unwanted emails, but Gmail can learn what email addresses to look out for and filter spam if you report an email as spam.
- Open Gmail on your device.
- In your inbox, check the box beside the spam email you wish to report.
- Click the Report spam “!” icon located at the top bar of your inbox.
This will notify Gmail of similar junk mail to filter as spam, stopping senders from dispatching any annoying or malicious mail you would normally receive.
How to change your email privacy settings in Gmail
You can avoid getting spam emails in the first place by preventing third parties from having access to your email. All you have to do is change your Gmail’s privacy settings.
- Open Gmail on your device.
- Click on your Account icon and select Manage your Google Account.
- A new page will open. On the left-hand sidebar, click Security.
- Scroll down and select Third-party apps with account access.
- Choose the third-party service you wish to stop receiving emails from. Click Remove Access.
Google recommends removing access to sites and apps you no longer trust or use, and this method will keep these third-party services from sending spam. Moreover, it will help you find out if there are any unwanted services you didn’t give access to your Google Account data.
Use antivirus software to block malicious email
It can be tricky to determine what spam email is, as hackers can disguise themselves as trustworthy companies to fool you into clicking on these malicious messages. Emails can contain harmful links or attachments filled with malware, which you never want on your device. The good news is you can let one of the best antivirus software services do all the legwork for you, as they have security and privacy features to protect your Gmail.
Services such as Avast One, McAfee, Norton, and more have email protection tools that block malicious links and attachments. To make sure spam email stops any malware damaging your device, or to keep you safe from threat actors hacking your phone through texting and more, make sure to set yourself up with an antivirus.
You can find out the best antivirus software below.
Best overall antivirus
Bitdefender takes the spot as best antivirus, and for good reason. It’s not enough that it boasts near-perfect lab test scores across the board, as it goes the extra mile by giving users access to a plethora of advanced security features.
Bitdefender goes above and beyond in the features department, all while keeping known malware, ransomware, and viruses at bay. It will defend your device against new attacks, provide security for online transactions, keep you safe with a reliable VPN, and protect your accounts with a password manager.
It’s a no-brainer when it comes to defending your devices against virtually any form of cyberattack, and its top-notch protection extends to its most affordable package, too. Protecting your PC and smartphone, from Windows and macOS to iOS and Android, is becoming even more necessary, and Bitdefender is the tricked-out shield you need.
See our full Bitdefender review
Best free antivirus
With Avast One, you can protect your device from viruses, malware and ransomware for free. That’s right, and you don’t have to pay a dime for the extra security features the antivirus throws in, including its VPN, firewall and more.
Avast One will safeguard your device from malware, comes with ransomware protection, blocks harmful websites and downloads from the web, scans your emails for malicious attachments, stops hackers from infiltrating your device through Wi-Fi with a firewall – the list goes on. That’s a lot of tools for software that’s free, and the included VPN and the ability to speed up your PC are a welcome bonus.
It’s the ideal antivirus software for home use, as it takes the hassle out of staying wary of cyber threats lurking around, even if you’re not a tech whizz. What’s more, if you are looking for added precautions, its paid Individual and Family packages still boast great value. Hard to go wrong with this best antivirus.
See our full Avast One review
Best antivirus for families
“Norton” and “antivirus” are synonymous these days, as the well-established cybersecurity brand has successfully fought against malware, viruses and nasty software threats since 1990.
Norton 360 offers excellent antivirus protection and extra features that make for a valuable, all-in-one security product. Its Norton 360 Deluxe and Premium package may cost a pretty penny. Still, with security across multiple platforms, a full-blown VPN, Dark Web Monitoring, Parental Controls and more, it will have a household free of cyber threats.
Norton’s certainty of its antivirus software’s capabilities is clearly defined by the brand’s 100% Virus Protection Promise. If a device protected by Norton 360 can’t get rid of a virus, the user receives their money back. It’s a big claim, but unquestionably, no one should expect to get that refund.
If you have the money for it, you can also check out the premium Norton 360 Platinum package for even more online protection, including from identity theft. Without a doubt one of the best antivirus to get.
See our full Norton 360 review
Another best antivirus for free
You can never go wrong with free antivirus protection, but some deliver even better detection and protection rates, along with extra security features, without costing a dime. This is where AVG antivirus shines.
AVG provides reliable protection and only a small impact on performance for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. It safeguards your devices against malware, viruses and zero-day exploits, along with blocking malicious links and attachments in emails. Throw in phishing protection when surfing the internet and extra security features such as its SafePrice browser extension and Network Inspector, and you’ve got yourself a do-it-all antivirus.
Sure, you can find all of these perks with Avast, but if you like a slick, darker user interface that’s easy to navigate, then AVG is for you.
See our full AVG Antivirus review
Best antivirus for Windows PC
Hundreds of malware emerge every minute, and it’s Malwarebytes’ mission to detect and conquer them all. Does the antivirus do this successfully? Yes, but there’s wiggle room for improvements.
Malwarebytes’ no-nonsense approach to protecting your devices from the onslaught of malware and viruses is effective for those who need a reliable antivirus that will detect and remove malicious software, especially with its free version. However, while its premium service provides 24/7 real-time detection, conveniently blocks vicious ransomware and shields users from malicious websites, it doesn’t go beyond on the feature front.
That’s no bad thing, as sometimes a user only needs a powerful antivirus to keep them safe from cyber threats. But considering its competitors add a few more security tools, such as data breach monitoring and a firewall, there’s room for improvement.
See our full Malwarebytes review