Not my idea of a lunch meat anymore – Part 1
Janice D. Byer, CCVA, MVA
Docu-Type Administrative & Web Services
spam is now used to describe unsolicited emails and it is becoming an
epidemic. If you’re lucky, you only receive 10 or so a day. However, if
you have been using the Internet for any length of time and have an email
address, you tend to get a heck of a lot more spam, especially if you run
a business online and have your site listed in many locations. In fact,
studies show that spam represents more than half of the world’s email
the virus’ that come in every day…. don’t get me started! I have
been asking myself the same question for years, “why can’t those
intelligent people who have the ability to write virus’, use their
talents for good rather than evil”?
emails are an unfortunate result of the advancement of technology. Along
with the great gadgets that we have in our lives today, we also have these
pain in our Inboxes. No matter how long you have been online, if you have
an email address you are eventually going to get spam. You see, spam comes
from everywhere and discriminates against no one.
getcha comin’, they getcha goin’, they just plain getcha.
following are some of the unscrupulous ways these spammers go about
getting your email address and how you end up with piles of junk mail.
are always hoping for an easy crop:
harvesters are the most popular ways that your email address gets into the
hands of spammers. These automated software programs scour the Internet
and pull email addresses from websites and other online sources. So, if
you have your email address published anywhere on the Internet (ie.
websites, forums, etc.), it has probably been picked up by numerous
look at the coding of websites for portions that contain the @ symbol and
‘mailto:’. They then gather up the information and send it back to the
person who simply had to start the whole automated process by starting on
one page and letting the software take it from there.
a stab at it:
is (from what’s been reported) one of the next most popular tactics
spammers use to get their spam messages out there. They take a stab at
just about any number of combinations of commonly used prefixes for email
(ie. info@, webmaster@, sales@, bill@, etc.) or combination of numbers and
letters. They throw that together with every domain name they come across
and send out the millions of emails that all of us would rather not get.
Even if you don’t have a website, these spammers will find you.
Unfortunately, if you have an email address from one of the free services,
you may end up with more than less commonly known domains. However, most
of them now have spam filters installed, which we will delve into later.
lists with a little something extra:
many times have you filled in an online form? Do you remember that little
check box that was already filled in that said “would you like to
receive special offers from our partner sites?”? Did you uncheck it or
did you figure this was a reputable company so they must only send out
offers from other reputable companies so you left the checkmark there?
Well, unfortunately not all of those companies will be as trustworthy as
you would hope and they sell off their contact lists or they inundate you
with their own advertising or worthless emails.
that says they will not sell or give out your name to anyone or, simply
uncheck that box (or check that box, whatever the case may be).
confirm your email address”:
very cautious of accepting or responding to any email asking you to
confirm anything. Some spammers have been known to pretend that you sent a
request to subscribe to something and that you need to confirm that
request. Or, they put on an email “if you did not request this, please
click on this link to unsubscribe”. Never respond to anything like this!
They are simply trying to confirm that your email address is valid and
then they will start inundating you with their “great offer” or
“medically recommended” product.
the good, ole hackers:
course hackers are in on this goldmine. Spammers sometimes call upon the
‘services’ of hackers to infiltrate the databases of large
corporations. They aren’t asked to go in for information such as credit
card numbers, they are strictly there to gather up email addresses that
can then be used by the spammer. If you have a lot of contacts in a
database on your site, don’t make it common knowledge. Those that make
it known that they have lots of contacts are just asking for trouble.
the next installment in our series on Spam, we will look at some of the
ways you can help to reduce the amount of unsolicited emails in your
inbox. If you would like to read the whole series, please visit http://www.docutype.net/press.htm.