It's Email Spam - To Your Annoyance

Often referred to as junk or bulk email, email spam is one of the biggest problems faced by web users all over the world.  The act typically involves a mass amount of email being sent to numerous recipients without permission. 

Who is spamming you?

Money hungry individuals have been spamming email accounts since the introduction of the internet.  The current rate of unsolicited email has increased to an estimated number of 90 billion per day.  What is even more shocking is the fact that about 80 percent of the messages are sent by less than 200 actual spammers - meaning that 80 percent is comprised of robot networks and computers that are being controlled by virus writers.

Where are they finding your personal information?

Spammers utilize a variety of sources to collect email addresses; they find them on other web sites, chat rooms, and newsgroups.  They even purchase lists from virus writers who are able to extract a user's address book.  While several internet service providers have attempted to recover the costs inflicted by spam through lawsuits, there is simply no way for them to be repaid 100 percent of the total damages. 

Intelligent spammers are also on the prowl for vulnerable third-party networks and systems, such open mail relays and proxy servers.  Though email servers used by most service providers normally require some type of authentication to determine genuine clients, open relays do not run the appropriate check.  This makes it difficult to identify spammers, while giving them an open road into their network. 

The headaches of spam

Spam has created problems on many levels, all of which generally affect a recipient the most.  When an IP address is loaded with a large amount of spam, not only will their inbox be clogged with unsolicited messages, but they may also have a difficult time sending out legitimate emails.  In this case, many honest online businesses are wrongfully accused of spamming; sometimes by their recipients, sometimes by their service providers.  Some providers will go as far as terminating service, believing that they are weeding out the problem when they are actually turning away a decent client.

Our government's efforts at spam control

The act of spamming has always been prohibited on the web as declared by the Terms of Service-Acceptable Use Policy set forth by internet service providers.  As thousands of people follow this intrusive form of advertising, spam has not only become unethical but quite expensive, costing internet users an estimated $10 billion a year alone. 

As the internet has involved, users and service providers have turned to various anti-spam solutions to regulate the issue.  They have also looked to relief from government officials.  As you may have noticed, these efforts have failed to provide any justice, especially in the United States where the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 in a sense protected spammers by redefining tough laws set by particular states.  Other countries have passed their own laws against spam, including Australia and many other locations categorized in the European Union.

Spammers have grown as bold as sending email with the pure intent of committing fraud.  Considering how the trend has been spread on a world wide scale, many analysts have concluded that spamming will not cease until one of the major perpetrators is fully prosecuted and does some serious jail time.

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You can protect your computer from viruses without expensive software. Instead, follow these simple tips:

Stay up-to-date on all system updates.

Don't download any email attachments you weren't expecting.

Avoid freeware and peer-to-peer sharing sites.

Use alternative web browsers and email software.