What is spam?
Basically Spam is the electronic version of "junk mail," unsolicited e-mail that advertises or markets a service or product.
Where does spam come from?
Most spammers use spam to market and advertise products, but some use it to distribute viruses, Trojans, viral marketing of fake-dangerous products and worms while others simply use it to annoy you. Traditionally email accounts are targeted most frequently but recently spammers have become more innovative and sophisticated. Spam can now be found on blogs; instant-and-text messaging; social networking sites, such as MySpace, Hi5 and Facebook; and even mobile phones.
How does spam affect my system?
While spam may not necessarily contain viruses or malware, it is a nuisance and results in loss of productivity when you are forced to sift through hundreds of unwanted messages every day. For large corporations it can mean loaded email servers that threaten the health and operation of their IT and networking systems. In extreme cases, spammers have secretly commandeered computers with malware to act as an email server, which is then used to forward spam messages to other email recipients compromising their contacts and address book list.
How do I protect my system from spam?
Spam is a common, frustrating, and annoying side effect to having an email account. Although you will probably not be able to eliminate it, there are ways to reduce it. One way is through filtering spam using approved sender lists or filtering software. You can set Hotmail, yahoo and Gmail to deliver only messages from your contacts while the rest is sent to the junk folder. Other e-mail programs let you do the same thing through filtering rules. Remember to scan your junk folder occasionally to prevent erasing a viable email from a friend or business contact.
Help reduce irritating spam:
- When you sign up for online accounts or services, make sure you deselect optional choices selected by default.
- If you follow links or reply to spam messages, you are confirming that your email address is valid and will get even more junk mail, so avoid the temptation to click.
- Sign up for a challenge/response spam service.
- Open a second email address specifically for online shopping, chat rooms, signing up for services, etc. to protect your primary address from accumulating spam.