Spam® lovely Spam®, wonderful Spam®. Monty Python may love the processed meat, but when we hear the term spam, most of us think of the unwanted emails that fill up our inbox and are less than thrilled. It seems that no matter what safeguards you put in place the spammers still find a way to get their useless and unwelcome “information” in front of us.
Before we get into ways we can lessen the amount of spam we receive, let’s first define it. Spam is determined more by consent rather than content. Spam is Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) or Unsolicited Bulk Email (UBE) sent indiscriminately to multiply individuals, newsgroups or mailing lists. The “chain letter” emails you get from your cousin are not technically spam because they are not “bulk” or “commercial” they are just unsolicited and unwanted. Unwanted by itself does not make it spam. Spam emails are generally distributed in mass on the order of thousands or millions at a time.
Why do they do it and why is it increasing?
The short and simple answer to why people send spam is money? Here is an example. Let’s ay that out of 2,000 emails 1 person clicks on the link and the spammer makes $1. If they send out two million emails, they would make $1000 a day. Pretty good pay for about an hour of work! It is strictly a numbers game in its purest sense. It is increasing for a few reasons. First, people are making money, and the way to make more money is to increase the output. Second, and probably the biggest reason is spam filters!!! Spam filter typically block about 98% of the spam sent. With that fact, you can see that a spammer needs to drastically increase the number of emails sent, just to make the same money he made a few years ago. The Can Spam Act of 2003 has really not done much to eliminate spam. It has set guidelines that legitimate companies must abide by for email marketing (like this one). But it has had negligible impact on the true target of the legislation, and has no impact on spam that originates overseas. More than half the world Ukraine updates ‘s spam originates in Russia and the Ukraine. At this time it is estimated that more than 90% of all email around the world is spam.
Sure Spam is a nuisance, but what are the real threats?
Most of the spam out there is simply a nuisance, but some have severe consequences. Most people know about viruses, worms and trojans, but there is a huge growth rate on the amount of phishing, spoofing botnets and keystokers being delivered via email. Phishing is a legitimate looking email sent in an attempt to gather personal information. Spoofing is the high-jacking of an email address to disseminate spam so it looks like it is coming from a legitimate source (you). Botnets download malicious software that can enable a criminal to take over your PC. Keystrokers run in the background on a PC and record every keystroke made. Then the keystrokes are later retrieved to see if they can get credit card or other personal information.