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What SPAM Means: Stupid People Annoying Me

English, German, Italian - It's All SPAM To Me

Has anyone else noticed the sudden blast of unsolicited e-mail (spam) loaded with url's for the unsuspecting and curious Internet surfer to click on?

What's even better, the bulk of this SPAM is in a foreign language. I was at a neighborhood party this weekend and you can't imagine the number of people who asked me for assistance with this. They have no idea what to do.

The sad fact is there are a lot of Stupid People who have nothing better to do and can't seem to find a better way of making a buck than Annoying Me and everyone else subject to their stupidity with spam. I guess that's a little harsh. Not really.

How Does The Average Person Deal With This

I wrote in a previous article how bad a feel for the average person having to deal with such things. It is increasingly becoming a nightmare for all to deal with. For the technical among us, it's not as bad given that we deal with such things on a technical level almost everyday.

Given this current flood of SPAM I thought I would post an article I wrote quite some time ago. It's a short article, and may be old news for some, but I can tell you that many people still don't follow the basic's when dealing with SPAM.

How You May Be Helping Spammers

I can't imagine that anyone with an e-mail address has not received unsolicited e-mail or spam in one form or another. What do you do when you receive these types of e-mails. Do you delete them right away, respond to them informing the sender you do not wish to receive them, or forward them to a friend whom you think might be interested in the information?

When the Internet as we know it was very young and most unsolicited e-mails where either by accident or the result of opt-in subscriptions, you could respond with the word "unsubscribe" in the reply subject and your name was taken off the list. That quickly changed once people found out how powerful a marketing tool e-mail was. Now, most of the time you respond to unsolicited e-mails you are letting the sender know that your e-mail address is active or alive. Instead of being taken off the list you are targeted more aggressively. The sender of the e-mail may also sell your e-mail address to other e-marketers, substantially increasing the number of unsolicited e-mails your receive.

WHow Do Spammers Get My E-mail Address

Well, there are quite a few ways, but one of the ways spammers get hold of your e-mail address is literally by guessing. For instance, say your e-mail address is part of the domain "-notrealdomain-.com", and your e-mail address is "me@-notrealdomain-.com", the spammers have programs that will generate thousands of combinations of names / domains i.e. "me@-notrealdomain-.com", "you@-notrealdomain-.com", "them@-notrealdomain-.com" hoping that somewhere along the line the target e-mail address exists. It's really not difficult to do, since a computer can do this over and over again. If you receive one of these e-mails and reply to it, you have just informed the sender that they did indeed find a live address. It's all downhill from there.

Spoofing E-mail Addresses

Another interesting tactic is to send someone an e-mail and make it appear as if it came from your address. Have you ever received an e-mail from someone you don't know and don't have in you contact list asking you to stop sending them unsolicited e-mails? Many people experience this problem. Basically, the spammer made the recipient of the spam think you sent it to them. This is called e-mail spoofing and is relatively easy to do. The spammers use mail servers that allow something called "mail relay." This allows them to send e-mails from any source address (even yours) to any target address.

Conclusion

A few things to keep in mind when dealing with unsolicited e-mails and spam:

If you are starting to receive SPAM in alternate languages, check your e-mail client for the ability to filter / block SPAM by specifying language types.

If you only speak English, and don't expect to receive e-mail in German, then block it;

If your SPAM filter downloads data from your vendor for known SPAM sites make sure to perform and schedule the download to happen frequently;

If you receive e-mail or spam from someone you don't know, do not respond to it, just delete it;

If someone informs you that they are receiving spam from your e-mail address, inform them that it was not sent by you and most likely came from a spammer who spoofed your address. Tell them to just delete it;

Never give out your e-mail address unless you are sure the site or organization will be responsible for it's privacy;

If you are going to sign up for something like a news article or other information, read their privacy statement, agreement, and disclaimer before doing so; And

Review the entire privacy statement to make sure there are no check boxes or radio buttons on by default. You never know what you are agreeing to.

These are just a few of the things you can do to help prevent SPAM from becoming a huge burden. You will most likely not be able to prevent all SPAM from getting to your inbox, but you sure can decrease the number.

You may reprint or publish this article free of charge as long as the bylines are included.

Original URL (The Web version of the article)

What SPAM Means: "Stupid People Annoying Me"

About The Author
Darren Miller is an Information Security Consultant with over sixteen years experience. He has written many technology & security articles, some of which have been published in nationally circulated magazines & periodicals. Darren is a staff writer for http://www.defendingthenet.com and several other e-zines. If you would like to contact Darren you can e-mail him at Darren.Miller@ParaLogic.Net

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