The spam business that arts in cyberspace
Today there are many types of “electronic-spam”, including the most famous “E-mail spam” aka “unsolicited e-mail”, “Forum Spam”, “Newsgroup Spam” Advertisement and forgery in a newsgroup, “Messaging Spam or Spim” that is spam through instant messaging system for advertisement or even extortion. On the web, there is an important type of spam called “Spamdexing” - the art of manipulating a search engine to create the illusion of popularity of a particular website.
The University of Maryland issued a report in 2003, saying that spam costs businesses approximately $22 billion in lost productivity each year. There seems to be a no easy ways to deal with spam. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said in 2004: “two years from now, spam will be solved”. Well, that is another mis-prediction from Bill Gates.
In 2005, industry analysts said that spam activity will get worse with a projection of damage 2006 close to $70 billion of lost productivity and network maintenance. Furthermore, in 2007 the spam cost is $712 dollars per employee or $71 billion dollars to all US businesses, according to a survey by Nucleus Research and Knowledge Storm.
Here are some tips, techniques and recommendations in order to survive successfully alongside this universal problem of “spam”.
- Use e-mail clients or e-mail services with spam-filtering: Everybody knows that spam filtering systems are not the ultimate-spam-solution, but at least it helps to reduce it, sometimes to a great extend with the right filter.
- Do no share your e-mail address with people you don’t know: Never list your e-mail in large forwards or internet directories. Don’t even post in your own website unless you disguise or encrypt your e-mail. For example: a way you can write your e-mail address is - mymailid (at) thedomain (d0t) com. Most internet literate people will understand that it is your e-mail but at the same time you’ll prevent that automated software that scan hundred of thousands websites catch your e-mail address. You should start treating your emails like your phone number and home address. Don’t just flaunt them.
- Delete your junk-e-mail without opening them: Sometimes people open the junk-e-mails because they think are not infected. Not just viruses but worms of these days are smart enough to attack you as soon as you open the mail (even before you click on anything). Yes, “unsubscribe” links definitely do not work but updates their databases that a real human is clicking the link and they know you read your email.
- Update your junk mail and e-mail filters: If you use e-mail software try always to keep it updated. Spammers continually try new tricks to avoid the anti-spam filtering. This is not a do-once-and-forget-it magic, you have to keep tweaking your filters regularly.
- Read and think many times before opening attachments: Attachments are the holy grail of email virus, worms and spams. No matter if they are from senders you know, double check against virus scanners - sometimes compromised computers can send out spam, virus mails to people in their address book. If you don’t trust in the information of any e-mail sender, delete the message.
- Never use your credit card or paypal funds for charity promoted through spam: On the web there is a lot of promotion, advertisements and spam e-mail related to give money for charity. If you receive an e-mail request from a charity, better call directly to the organization if you’d like contribute or support.
- Report abuse or fraudulent e-mail promptly: If you has become a target of a phishing e-mail scam (criminal activity for acquire sensitive information) report it to your ISP (internet service provider). This will help you and others towards a better spam-less society.
- Block undesired instant messages: All the instant messaging systems are popular targets for spammers. Many IM systems offer a directory of users including demographic information such as sex, age and country. The spammers gather all this information, sign on the system and send unsolicited messages. The best tool to fight against
spimis to be aware and block unwanted messages.
In all these, always keep in mind “Nothing comes so easy, if things begin to seem very easy - something is wrong.”