Spam for the uninitiated is just the annoying salesman gone digital. The annoying salesman who tried to push his wares by smooth-talking and using his gift of gab has metamorphized into Spam in the cyber world.
Technically Spam is the unsolicited bulk Emails thrust into your Mailbox without the recipient’s permission. It all started when the Internet opened to commercial use. Our Mailbox was invaded by investors looking for a market. Generally, the companies requiring advertisements join hands with the spammer company generating Email Ads to get the attention of unsuspecting recipients. It is usually harmless and irritating but sometimes shockingly dangerous.
How to prevent scams?
Usually, Email spams try to get you to give up your bank details so that the fraudsters can either withdraw money or steal your identity. Such messages fee fraud or phishing scam. Another annoying offshoot of spam is that it saturates your Email box with the resultant massive loss of time incurred for foraging legitimate messages hidden among the spam. The sly spammers have devious ways of accessing random Email addresses. They use sophisticated tools to scan the web for the @ sign and harvest a clutch of Email addresses. Many a time they make educated guesses or trick their friends. A hacker may get into your Email through viruses or malware unintentionally downloaded on your computer by guessing your password or through the breach in the company data.
Fortunately for every lock, there is a key, and a sharp eye and keen mind can prevent this scourge. Firstly, an anti-spam and antivirus can prevent this malady. Secondly, an unknown, odd, or spoofed Email should alert you. Thirdly don’t ever open Email from an address you don’t know. Fourthly don’t ever give out personal information and finally don’t touch strange attachments or unfamiliar links even with a barge pole.
A few more cues to prevent spams are to train your filter, never respond to what you presume is spam, hide your Email address, use a third-party anti-spam filter or change your Email address.
By the 1990’s the problem had become severe enough to attract the attention of well-known internet software engineers who pioneered the MAPS (Mail Abuse Prevention System). They kept a list of IP addresses which had sent out spam and this list became known as the legendary Realtime Blackhole List or RBL. Many Network managers used this list to stonewall unwanted Email. This fight to control spam has increased exponentially. As a result, the global Email spam rate has been declining from 69% in 2012 to 55% in 2018that should bring cheer to global netizens.
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