Most of us know and loathe it – SPAM!
It is estimated that about 80% of all emails are in fact SPAM – costing the industry $130 billion in 2009 – and figures are rising every year.
What exactly is Spam?
Spam is basically the electronic equivalent of your letterbox “junk” mail, delivered to you by email. It is email that you did not ask for, are not likely to want, and which has been sent automatically to thousands and thousands of recipients at once.You can share files in the cloud through centralised servers on computer networks:
Spam was originally a brand of tinned spiced, chopped ham.
Then it became the subject of a comedy sketch from the television series Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which was set in a cafe where every dish on the menu featured spam whether the customer wanted spam or not. It’s that “whether or not the customer wants it” that is the genesis of the term “spam” in our current context.
How to minimize Spam?
Spam simply cannot be completely avoided but there are a few things that can help to minimize it:
1) set up a free email account (Google, Hotmail…) and use that email address for any websites that could potentially abuse it for SPAM. Keep your private email address private and do not publish it on the web
2) use all spam filters available to you via your Internet Service Provider (BT, TalkTalk, Virgin…) and your email software (Outlook, Thunderbird…). Some good Anti-Virus packages also have Spam filters built in
Is Spam illegal?
In order to try to stop the flood of unsolicited messages, the UK has made Spam a criminal offence.
However, if you buy things online, please note that you are then considered a customer and as such can legally be bombarded with emails, whether it’s order confirmations or newsletters etc – until you opt-out – so these emails, although they might be annoying, are strictly speaking not SPAM.
According to Wikipedia:
“Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords or credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication”
Phishers put out “bait” in the hope that the potential victim will “bite” by clicking a malicious link or open a malicious attachment, in which case their financial information or passwords may then be stolen and abused by the people behind it all!
So, be wary of clicking on links in emails!
One last thing about Spam filters
They are not perfect by any means but do get better over time if you spend the time “training” them!
Do make sure to check your Spam folder from time to time just in case something has gone in that shouldn’t have done
Good luck in your fight against SPAM!
Reference: OU (2008) “Too many secrets? – Data, Computing and Information”
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