Love, wisdom, gardening and technology
June 22, 2017
Junk email - or Spam - is a blight on the Internet. It is the unwanted clutter that takes all the joy out of checking your mail. To add insult to injury, spam is often a vector for malicious attacks against individuals and businesses.
More than a personal nuisence, spam negatively affects the entire Internet.
In this article, we will take a closer look at spam, including the research being done to combat it. Also, we will show you how to shield yourself from spam.
Junk email is usually of two types: marketing or manevolent.
Marketing spam is when a business tries to sell you a product or service, and you have not subscribed to their mailing list or given permission to send you email.
Manevolent spam is when a spammer intentionally tries to do you or your computing device harm. This can include, identity theft, disruptive behaviour and attempting to extort money from you by holding your privacy or information hostage.
Radicati Group estimates that over 200 billion emails are sent each day.
So how do spammers get your email address? There are many ways this can happen:
The scurge of junk email has not gone unnoticed by the tech community. It is an ongoing field of research. A variety of solutions have been proposed.
One of the more creative proposals involves the use of virtual 'stamps'. An idea that appears to have it's origins back in 1992, the stamp is not purchased as in a traditional postage system. Rather, the stamp requires a kind of complex puzzle to be solved by the sending computer, for each recipient of the email.
If the sender is already in your address book, no need to check the stamp. Otherwise, you can require that email from unknown senders has the stamp checked.
The time cost of creating the stamp might only be a few seconds. Whilst this is okay for a single email, if you are trying to send junk to thousands of receipients, that few seconds per email could easily add up to hours, days or weeks. Bulk spamming no longer looks so profitable.
Other avenues to stopping the junk include the development of statistical methods, black lists, strengthening the infrastructure that carries email and using the law.
There are some simple rules you can follow to help stop spam:
Tech savy users can consider using a custom domain name. By having your own domain name, you can create multiple 'alias' email addresses and hand those out instead of your main address.
Junk email is at plague proportions and has a substantial cost to the community. Research into junk email has already helped us to stop the scurge.
You can contribute to the fight by following a few simple tips. You might not rid yourself completely of spam, but you can have a big impact.
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