All About Spam

Spam is annoying. Period. Why people would want to send all of us stupid messages about buying prescription drugs or getting some outrageously good mortgage rate is beyond me. Well, not really.

You might ignore those emails. But not everyone does. And that's why they're sent. Emails cost so little (or nothing) to send. So sending out a million of them could be a cakewalk. Let's say one out of every 1,000 recipients falls for their ploy. Someone just got 1,000 new customers! How in the heck did those spammers get your address in the first place? Well, they actually use a variety of techniques. They use programs called spambots to search the web and pick up any email addresses that could be listed on websites. They use what's called the "Dictionary" technique, where they take a well-known email extension (earthlink.net, for instance), and make up all kinds of possible user names to go with it. For example, with me they could try the usernames "kara", "kara1", "kara2" and so on, until they can confirm one of those connected to an earthlink.net extension is a valid email address. Kinda like going page by page through the dictionary.

Ever fill out a registration form on a website and find a little checkbox, probably near the bottom, asking if you want to receive additional information, newsletters, or something of that nature? Often the box is checked, and in order NOT to receive the info, you have to UNCHECK it (or else). Well if you miss those types of boxes on the wrong kinds of sites, your email addresses may be handed to spammers on a silver platter. Well, almost. Often a zillion email addresses are sold for next to nothing to spammers on CDs. (Couldn't you almost call those silver platters?) Many internet service providers (those guys that keep you connected to the internet so you can send and receive email) use a variety of methods to block spam before it ever gets to you. Nevertheless, we all know that some spam inevitably gets through to our inboxes. That's when we need to take a proactive stance and install some sort of software to filter it out!

© 2005 by Kara Glover

Feel free to reprint this article in newsletters and on websites, with resource box included. If you use this article, please send a brief message to let me know where it appeared: [email protected]

For help on installing anti-spam software, check out this article on Kara Glover's website: http://www.karathecomputertutor.com You can also find more articles, tips and tutorials on topics such as Microsoft Word., Excel, and PowerPoint there. Kara is a Computer Tutor and Troubleshooter.

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