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What is spam?

Many of us spend our precious time trawling through and deleting unsolicited emails which have flooded and overwhelmed our inboxes; these emails are often referred to as spam or junk mail. I’m here to tell you a little more about those annoying emails and help you to protect yourself and your time.

What makes an email spam?

You can identify spam emails because they:

  • Are sent in bulk to a large number of email addresses using an automated mailing program
  • Have false or misleading header information
  • Have deceptive subject lines
  • Are not identified as an advertisement
  • Do not tell recipients where they are located
  • No opt out links to stop future emails
  • Do not promptly process opt-out requests
  • If the emails are from unmonitored marketing companies


Etymology of spam

The term ‘spam‘ derives from a Monty Python sketch where a couple is in a restaurant confronted with a menu where every item includes spam, desperately trying to order something other than spam, the once-popular meat product. A group of Vikings in the background start singing the praises of spam and soon the only word you can hear in the sketch is ‘spam’. The idea is that the same thing would happen to the internet – it would be totally overwhelmed by large-scale unsolicited emails.

Most common subjects in spam?

Pharmacy, replica, enhancers, phishing, degrees, casino and weight loss.

Why do people send spam/ junk mail?

Spam was originally and is for the most part used as a marketing and sales tool to increase visibility and generate sales. However, it can also be used to spread computer viruses, spyware and other malicious software.  Malicious spam emails will often contain suspicious links or attachments.

Why should I be wary of it?

The main reason you should be wary is because spam can be used as a tool for distributing malware. Not only is it an annoyance but it can also leave you vulnerable to a cyberattack. Spam and junk mail is also a massive time waster as it takes time to filter through your emails in order for you to find the emails that are personal and specific to you. This is a particularly important factor to consider when you are running a business as your employees time is being consumed by getting rid of spam. Also as an employer you have a duty of care and responsibility to provide a safe working environment, this includes protecting your workers from being exposed to inappropriate content which can often be featured in spam and junk mail.

ITC can help with spam

For more information please see:

Also FREE CAN OF SPAM (or a box of chocolates) when you invest in SpamBlock September 2014.

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