The definition of spam is an unsolicited message, sent over the Internet, typically to a large number of users. The reason for spam might be phishing (promoting fraudulent websites), spreading malware, or as a form of advertising. The level of sophistication that spammers use, reflects the efforts of the online security community to stem the flow of unwanted solicitations. These emails can often contain very harmful viruses, another reason to use a program that carefully filters and monitors your online traffic. The creators of spam have always tried to remain one step ahead of the anti-spam developers, who do a good job of filtering out these unwanted invitations.
Why is it called spam?
Well there are several theories, the most popular being that it comes from the famous Monty Python song, “Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam spam, spam, spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam”, inferring it is just a bunch of useless, repetitive words. Another version is that Spam, the tinned meat, is as popular as unwanted emails and that’s how these intrusions got their name. Whichever the case, spam has become a burden for us all.
How can I stop it?
Well there are many companies that offer solutions for anti spam, keeping your inbox clean,filtering unwanted mail, leaving you to concentrate on more important things than deleting the many spams that we all receive.Anti-spamapps offer a wide range of uses, such as,
- Filtering your email and diverting spam to your junk box
- Allows you to scan potentially harmful attachments before downloading them onto your hard drive
- Offers real time protection over STMP, POP 3 and IMAP protocols
- Virus outbreak detection
- Email logging and reporting
- Prevents data leakage
Invasion of privacy
Internet marketing has always been aggressive, which means the development of anti-spam programs are constantly being upgraded, as new and even more sinister ways of getting through to your inbox are discovered, by those who benefit from such an invasive action.
There are mainly four categories of anti-spam methods,
- Those that require actions by users
- Those that can be automated by administrators
- Those that can be automated by email senders
- Those employed by law enforcement
False positives and negatives
The term false positiverefers to an email that is wanted, but filtered by anti-spam applications. This is usually more annoying than afalse negative, when an unwanted email gets through the spam filter. A correct balance of the two is essential for an efficient, anti-spam program, although this can be notoriously hard to achieve.
The detection of spam emails based on the content can be very effective, either specific words or content relativity. The creators of spam emails often deliberately misspell words or add accents to certain vowels to slip through this system of detection. As an example, if your friend sent you a joke that contained the word “Viagra” then it would probably be automatically put into your junk box.
Ways to reduce the flow of spam
Apart from installing an efficient program to filter spam, you can also,
- Limit the spreading of your email address, which can reduce spam
- Don’t forward messages to people who are unknown to the recipient
- Post anonymously
- Use fake names and addresses can reduce spam
Don’t reply to spam
Answering a spam email, even by saying “Don’t send me this stuff” is not a good idea. This reply tells the spammer that the email address is valid and he may sell this information onto another spammer. Often a spam email will have a link to unsubscribe,and many click on this, thinking that will end the stream of mails, yet it can have the opposite effect, confirming the email address as valid, and then it might also be a broken link.
In the event you must leave your email address with a website, it’s a good idea to create a temporary email address that forwards email to your regular address. In this situation, a spam mail will not get through and you can disable the temporary address as soon as you receive your requested information.
Believe it or not, some web masters actually sell email addresses to spammers, causing many people to be swamped with unsolicited mail. It is difficult to know who will do this, so there isn’t much that can be done, other than only giving your email address when absolutely necessary. Many online forms require a valid email address which can be verified and large volumes of traffic can create a long list of emails that have value to the spammer.
Can spam be eradicated?
There are several groups that can work together to drastically cut down on spam, they are,
- Law enforcement agencies
- ISP providers
- Host operators
- Electronic marketing organisations
The debate as to whether spam can be totally eradicated is still ongoing. New technology and apps have given the spammers the edge, although they are usually kept in check by regulating authorities. Like all unethical practices, spammers are always trying to get one step ahead of those whose task it is to rid these unwanted emails from our inboxes.
A good anti-spam app: A sensible solution
Whether you are a multi-national corporation or a private PC user, there is something available to suit all. The time saved by not having to crawl through a full inbox, to sift out the unwanted emails can be tremendous, not to mention the virus threats that spams are known to carry. Malware has become a big problem in the online world but the experts will always be able to contain such threats. So, leave it to the experts, purchase an up to date application and forget about spam, as it will quickly become a thing of the past.