What Is Spam and How to Avoid It 1
Technology

What is Spam and How to Avoid It?

Introduction

SPAM is the name given to unwanted messages that arrive by e-mail, messengers such as WhatsApp, social networks, areas of comments of blogs, and so on. The practice of SPAM is so common that it is virtually impossible to avoid you to receive a message of the type. Fortunately, some simple measures can ease the problem.

That is why this text was written. In it, you’ll know what is SPAM, you’ll learn some of the problems that this type of message because, you see tips that help in prevention, between other information about it. We’re going there?

What is SPAM?

SPAM is a type of electronic message that is delivered to the user without that this has prompted, or consider receive it. In general, this practice has a commercial purpose, that is, try to make the person to acquire some product or service. But it can also be a means for the spread of scams, rumors, defamation, malware and so on.

Another characteristic of SPAM is that this type of message is usually triggered for hundreds or thousands of people at the same time. Is there one of the reasons of its existence: the SPAM can get to a number considerably great number of people in a very short time frame and without great effort.

This happens because the spammer (person responsible for the emission of SPAM) know that the message will only cause effect on a small portion of people and, therefore, requires means to make the scope be the largest possible. In many situations, if he get back to you with only 1% or 0.5% of the total number of messages, for example, probably the send will have already been worth it.

The cost factor also influences: the spammer can use tools created specifically for this purpose,making the return on investment to offset the expenses required in order to use them. In other words, the SPAM also exists by being cheap.

What problems SPAM causes?

Being little costly and able to reach a number high of people quickly, the SPAM became widespread enough to cause all kinds of disorders, not only people, but also the companies and other institutions. The following are the main problems.

Inconvenience

SPAM is inconvenient: “pollute” the user’s inbox, does it lose time erasing messages unnecessary, takes up data storage space, can view inappropriate content, etc.

This practice can also be annoying in many situations. For example, if you are waiting for an important message, and your mobile phone to notify the arrival of an email, you will be dismayed to find that, at the end of the day, interrupted their activities to give attention to the SPAM.

Expenses for the companies

The SPAM also generates losses for businesses, especially providers of Internet and e-mail services.This is because it is estimated that at least half of the messages in circulation on the internet is SPAM, making companies are having to spend more on data traffic, storage of information, tools,security and user support.

Expenses for the user

SPAM can also increase the expenses of the user. If the person is, for example, checking your emails on a smartphone from a 3G or 4G network, the data volume of these messages can have an impact, albeit a small one, in the franchise of your plan.

Security risks and financial losses

SPAM can contain links or attachments that lead to malware or fake sites (phishing scam), so as to make the person purchase products of origin or dubious quality.

If contaminated, the computer may also issue Spam to other people without the user realizing it, the situation able to compromenter the performance of the machine and make the scope of the problem increase.

Non-receipt of legitimate messages

To deal with the SPAM, Internet companies invest heavily on filters and other mechanisms capable of spreads this type of message. These tools tend to be efficient, but they are not perfect.

One of the problems is the existing possibility of the filter to sort SPAM as a legitimate message. Aware of this, the user if he is obliged to check the SPAM box periodically to “redeem” true messages that may have stopped there. If this, by itself, is already a disorder, imagine if the message is deleted without that the person has read!

How to identify a SPAM?

The first characteristic is explicit in the short definition of the concept: the SPAM is a message not requested, and that you did not expect to receive. But there are several other aspects that help identify a message type. Here are the main:

– Advertising appeal: title or message of the email describing special offers, discounts or promotions, usually overly advantageous;

– Offer products “miraculous”: remedies for weight loss easy, services for enrichment fast, treatment for hair loss, subscription TV over the Internet, etc.;

The title’s confusing: the title can be written in a way confusing to look like a personal message(such as “hello, remember me?” or “congratulations on your day”) or to fool anti-spam filters;

– Sender obscure: the sender of the e-mail address may be an address obscure (with the characters arranged randomly, for example) and, not infrequently, non-existent;

Notice that this is not SPAM: there may be a notice at the end of the message stating that this is not SPAM and using it as the basis of a law — almost always non-existent — that supposedly deals with the subject. Now, if the message is legitimate, for the warning?;

Notice that the user is who should you choose not to receive messages: the footer of the message may contain a notice stating that, if the person does not want to receive that kind of message, she is the one who should opt out, by clicking given link or responding to the e-mail address (is not recommended to do so);

– Disguise of newsletter: the message can pass for a newsletter, but links to dubious offers or point for news manipulative, which are intended to convince the user to perform an action, such as supporting a party political, or join a religious organization;

– Arguments are impressive: the message may contain sensational news, conspiracy theories,alleged campaigns for people seriously ill and so on.

And if the message contains my name?

You receive an e-mail from an e-commerce site and note that your visual is well prepared, its content is described without errors and there at the beginning of the message is written your full name. Even so, the e-mail can be considered SPAM?

If you have never been customer of the company or does not remember to have authorised the sending of messages, of course they can! Even if you never have registered on this site, it is possible that your name and your e-mail have been included in a list of SPAM (happens a lot!) or, even, have been passed on improperly to the company by other means.

You will learn how to avoid this type of message in the topic about protection against Spam.

The most used ways for the SPAM

As you already know, the e-mail is the most used for the propagation of SPAM. Not wonder: the electronic mail is one of the tools of communication most used on the internet and there is not any perspective, this scenario changed drastically.

But the SPAM is also made from other means, just that these would enable some level of propagation mass. The following, the main.

Social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like)

The spread is made in accordance with the communication capabilities offered by the service. Ingroups of Facebook, for example, a person can take advantage of a topic that is being discussed to promote products or related services.

This is quite bad because it interferes negatively in the expectation of confidence from the network. Now, if you ask opinions about a product to decide between buying it or not, you expect that other people share your experience with the item. But if someone responds just as the order to take any advantage over your decision, you can distort the story to try to convince you.

The spread of SPAM can also be made by means of specific tools for this. Fortunately, social networks usually have mechanisms to stop this practice. Many of them even allow the collaboration of the users: find a SPAM or encounter someone that is spreading this type of message, usually it is possible to make a complaint in a discrete way.

Comments on blogs and forums

The spaces for comments in blogs and discussion forums are also quite concerned for the SPAM, but here the goal is not always to make the message arrive to the reader: you can this is a tactic to try to position the particular page in the first results of search engines.

Explains: the areas of comments and forums allow the insertion of links; theoretically, how much more “linking” a site receives, the better your chances of staying well positioned in the search engines of Google or Bing, for example.

Fortunately, the search services are more “smart” and are able to, most of the time, identify this trick. In addition, it is possible to use the attribute “nofollow” in the links so that they do not have value.

In any case, the administrators of blogs and forums should always be aware of the SPAM to prevent your readers to click on suspicious links.

Contact forms of the sites

Most websites offer forms for your users to contact them. The problem is that spammers found there and more means of spread: they create mechanisms (bots) that are form pages and populates the fields with doubtful content, all automatically.

With this, site administrators can receive dozens or even hundreds of Spam per day between the contacts of your users. Fortunately, there are resources that help you avoid these mechanisms, such as CAPTCHA, which requires the user to enter the contents displayed a picture to send the message, the procedure that the bots are barely able to run.

Evaluations of products in virtual stores

Many e-commerce sites offer space for customers to evaluate certain products. These areas can also be used for SPAM, sometimes with the aim of promoting a supposed offer in a competitor’s store,other to improve the positioning of certain pages in search engines, and so on.

SPAM via SMS and WhatsApp

The SPAM has come up on the cell phone. Today, it is very common to receive ads of all kinds via SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram and the like. It is possible to mitigate the problem by contacting with the carriers, but this procedure will only suspend sending messages that are issued by them.

Another trick is to check if your smartphone has a function to block phone numbers unwanted, as well as use the function block contacts the instant messaging service that you use.

10 tips to avoid SPAM

SPAM is a chronic problem on the Internet, but it is possible to adopt some measures to ease the problem, that is, do fewer messages to reach you. The following are ten tips that can help you in this task.

1. Do not disclose your email and phone publicly

Avoid publicize your email address and phone number in online services that can be accessed openly, such as blogs and social networks. This because there are mechanisms (the aforementioned bots) created by spammers that scan these pages constantly to capture contact data.

When you need to disclose your e-mail or phone someone, do it privately or else “camufle” to the address: if you have an account on Gmail, for example, you can disclose it as follows: “johndoe @ email from Google”.

2. Take care of your privacy on social networks

Your e-mail or other means of contact can also be captured in the profiles of social networks, so use the resources privacy of these services to prevent personal information from being exposed publicly.In the maximum, limit your outreach to your contacts.

3. Keep your computer or smartphone protected

Keeping the operating system up to date (Windows, Android, iOS, etc.), use a reliable antivirus, take caution with downloads files and avoid sites of the doubtful content are examples of care that can help protect your computer and devices mobile malware that capture data, or using the equipment improperly, for the issuance of SPAM.

4. Do not register at any site

It is quite common to find sites that allow you to register your e-mail to receive newsletter or other information. These sites can actually send the information promised, on the other hand, can also share your list of registrations with any third party or to promote advertising improperly.

So, consider as well the need to sign up on a given site. Only do so when and if actually necessary. If that is the case, create an address alternate e-mail just for these registrations.

5. When registering for a site, check its privacy policy

If you decided to register on a site (an online store, for example), you should take some precautions before doing so: check if there is a privacy policy that guarantees the confidentiality of your data; to inform your e-mail and phone, leave unchecked the option of sending promotions, newsletters and the like (unless you want to, in fact, receive these messages).

If the site is not clear as to the treatment of your data, it is recommended that you do not sign up. If that is the case, again its a tip to insert an alternate email address created especially for signups.

6. If the message is SPAM, mark it as such

Report! If you have identified a message as being SPAM, rather than simply delete it, it is recommended mark it as such — most of the services of e-mail or social networks have an option for this.

To perform this procedure, you will help the anti-spam filter service to be more precise, and avoid the message to reach other users.

7. Do not reply to SPAM messages

A good part of the Spam has warnings with words like “click here if you no longer wish to receive our messages” or “reply to this message with the subject ‘Remove’ to delete your email from our database.” Unless you know the sender, it is recommended that you do not do this.

To reply to the message, the spammer will know your email address or profile in the social network is valid and active. The best option is to delete the message, and, if possible, report it as SPAM, such as guides on the previous tip.

8. Do not forward alarming messages (hoax)

If you receive a message with content-alarming — for example, by reporting the suffering of a person with a serious illness —, simply delete it from a. This type of message is written to make the reader not only to be impressed as also if you feel guilty or disgusted.

In the face of these feelings, the person tends to forward the message to their friends, by following the instructions present in it. It is not recommend you to do it because, in addition to spread information not proven, this action can allow a spammer to capture email addresses or numbers to which the message was forwarded.

9. Do not go to the site advertised in the SPAM

You already know that SPAM is a nuisance and can cause several problems. But not to resist an offer not requested is to put all efforts to combat this evil in the garbage! For this reason, avoid accessing links in type messages and do not make purchases on websites that follow this practice.

10. Consider using “blind copy” when sending an e-mail to multiple people

If you need to send a message to two or more people, consider to do it using the option “copyhidden” e-mail address (‘Bcc’ or ‘Bcc’). This procedure decreases the risk of the addresses of these contacts are collected in case the message, in some way, go to stop on a public web site or is accessed on a computer contaminated by a malware capable of to capture this information.

 

E-mail Marketing is SPAM?

A fairly common practice on the Internet is known as E-mail Marketing. The name describes with accuracy it’s purpose: to promote marketing campaigns (promotions, offers, exclusive products,discounts, etc.) to an email database.

The issue is that the line that separates the E-mail Marketing and SPAM is very thin: basically, if the user has allowed sending of the message, it is email Marketing, a legitimate activity and not harmful;if not allowed, it is SPAM, for most that the campaign is professional.

When the E-mail Marketing is done correctly — the registration occurs with the user’s consent, this can be removed at any time, and so on — the chances of business are larger, since, if the person has agreed to receive that content, is more willing to make a purchase or take another action.

Therefore, for those who want to work with this form of dissemination, it is important to follow some recommendations simple, but essential, such as:

  • Make it clear what type of content the user will receive the register;
  • Allow the person to descadastre your address at any time;
  • Do not send offers misleading or distorted;
  • Not to start a campaign with e-mail lists purchased from third parties — if you do this, you will be practicing SPAM.

Ending

The SPAM is fairly widespread on the Internet because, despite all the problems, is a practice that works (gives a result to the caller). Therefore, it is important to keep informed about the matter and take measures to combat the problem. In this sense, in addition to put into practice the guidelines given here, it is important to educate people close to you, such as family members, friends and work colleagues.

What Is Spam and How to Avoid It 1