Spam is the bane of the Internet. We’ve all received a spam email before offering instant weight loss and the enlargement of various sexual organs. It’s a problem and causes real harm to the digital economy. It’s part of the reason people are so wary about using the Internet and opening emails.
According to Microsoft, they block an average of 2.4 billion spam messages every day. And these figures are replicated amongst other major international corporations. Even the average home user will have multiple spam emails blocked each day.
Spam filters have improved over the years. Most spam will never make it into the average user’s inbox these days. It’s become a significantly less important problem as technology has advanced.
Promotional and Actual Spam
Most spam comes from inferior quality marketing companies selling bogus services. They’ll often operate on behalf of companies as a marketing firm. These companies often don’t realize these firms are spamming for them on their behalf.
In other cases, the companies themselves are spamming. They’d rather spam a thousand users in the hope of getting one user to click on the email and buy whatever they’re selling.
More sinister spam will encourage you to click a link. When you click a link it will steal your personal information by installing key loggers and various viruses. These can then be used to take your private information.
In short, spam always comes from someone trying to make a quick buck from the Internet.
What you need to understand is spam is malicious. Some items, like promotional emails, can be referred to as spam, but they aren’t true spam.
Thankfully, most users don’t have to make a conscious effort to block spam any longer. Unless you’re a major target for it, your email provider’s spam filter will often be enough to keep out most problematic emails.
Spam hasn’t changed much in the last ten years. They still use the same tactics, and this makes it easy for even the cheapest filter to have a considerable effect on the number of messages you receive.
What Can You Do About It?
If the default spam filters you get with an average email account aren’t good enough, you can usually find a spam filter through your antivirus program. As long as you have a comprehensive antivirus solution, there’s no reason why you should receive any spam at all.
There are some actions you can take to reduce the damage by modifying your behaviour, though, such as:
- Don’t open spam emails, even to have a look.
- Don’t reply with an angry rant. The chances are there’s nobody reading their inbox.
- Avoid publishing your full email address online. Keep a business email address for your clients and a disposable email address for everything else.
- Use the blacklist and whitelist options in your account wisely.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and email providers alike both have incentives to prevent spam. Whilst it isn’t the menace it used to be, this remains a problem you can’t afford to ignore.