What is Spam?

Spam has been around since the earliest days of electronic mailing and internet technology. The term originated from the method in which early “surfers” of the internet would type the word “SPAM” repeatedly in order to force other people’s comments off the screen in Bulletin Board Discussions and Multi-User Dungeons.

The people that send SPAM emails or write SPAM comments are referred to as “spammers“.

How to Identify Spam

Almost every person who’s ever had an email address has at some stage received SPAM emails. They are normally poorly worded emails advertising anything pharmaceutical related (“Discount Viagra!”) or anything to do with money in your favour (Italian Lottery), or even faux-banking password reminders.

Besides the poorly worded and usually abhorrent images used in the emails, clicking on any of the links will take you through to a similarly botch-job website, where you could actually purchase said Viagra or Asian/Russian wife.

How Do Spammers Get Your Email Address?

Of the billions of email addresses in the world, how on earth do they land up in yours? Despite harsher and harsher anti-spam filters put in place by companies such as Microsoft, Mozilla, and Symantec, some spam still gets through to your inbox.Other than obtaining these email addresses from dodgy subscription lists (yes, some of those websites DO sell your details to third parties), there are other ways and means for spammers to get hold of your email address.Some spammers use programs that scour the internet, searching through every website and forum that it can find and harvests every @ symbol it sees. This is then sent back to the spammer who can then simply bulk email all it’s new contacts.

When this method starts turning up empty baskets, spammers will resort to brute force methods, which usually entails typing every combination of word, name and number at every registered domain it can find. Through dumb luck, it will probably get a few hits. (Eg: john.smith@gmail.com, john.smith1@gmail.com). Apologies to all the Johns out there – you guys must get targeted a lot!

Why Do Spammers Still Use Spam?

Unfortunately, the biggest reason spam is still around is because people actually buy into it. Unbelievably, an alarming amount of people actually visit the website which is linked to by the spam email, and a smaller, but still disturbingly large percentage, will actually purchase whatever products are for sale.

Personally, I don’t think it wise to purchase any medicinal product from a company which is not registered, cannot afford or bother to put up a decent website, or which resorts to spamming people in order to sell their products.

Studies have shown that these products usually contain either less, none or counterfeit active ingredients. So, other than buying a usually impotent (excuse the pun) product, you are most likely risking your life? The purchases continue though and, therefore, so does the spam.

So, Just Live With It?

Unfortunately, until such time as there is a rock-solid method of trapping all spam before it reaches you, the spam will go on. All I can say is, no matter what that spam email says, don’t click on it. Don’t open it. Don’t even forward it to a friend for a giggle!All traffic received from spam emails just feeds the beast that is spam, and it will keep growing until we manage to starve it.

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