Spam, spam, inglorious spam. The electronic equivalent of junk mail on your doormat is one of the chief annoyances of the internet age – read our guide on the dangers and how to keep your inbox spam-free.
What is spam?
Spam is anonymous, unsolicited bulk email – it is effectively the email equivalent of physical junk mail delivered through the post. It is sent out in mass quantities by spammers who make money from the small percentage of recipients that actually respond. Spam is also used for phishing and to spread malicious code.
Over the last decade, the use of and delivery of spam has evolved. While spam was initially sent directly to computer users and easily blocked, in the coming years, high-speed Internet connections allowed spammers to send out mass mailings inexpensively and quickly, as did the discovery that individual users' modems could be accessed by anyone from anywhere in the world since they had no protection at all. In other words, unsuspecting internet users' connections could be used to send their spam in much higher volume.
That was until hardware manufacturers began securing their equipment, and filters became more proficient at blocking spam. Yet, spammer techniques have always evolved, not only in the way they send spam, but also in response to filters. The result is an ongoing battle between spammers and those working to prevent them, constantly trying to stay one step ahead in the fight to keep spam from clogging the information superhighway.
How can I protect myself from spam?