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What is SPAM and how to deal with it?

Spam is unsolicited commercial emails that are used to engage email address owners in the marketing process. These are bulk mailings that are sent to recipients via email and are extremely profitable for the sender as a large audience can be reached with little technical and financial expense.

Where did the word come from "spam"?



“Spam” was originally a product of Hormel Foods Corporation, USA. This was the name of canned pork and ham with spices. It is an abbreviation of the initial letters of words "spicy pork and ham".

So this is a product from the food industry that was not connected to computers and the Internet. It is only thanks to the English comic group Monty Python, known for their unusual humor, that "spam" has become synonymous with mass e-mail.

Because of their constant repetition of jokes – and the same word "spam" in a short time - users of the Usenet / News channels (UK) adopted it into their lexicon. The mass distribution of an article in the news has also become known as "spam". From there, the term later passed on to other online media.

Now, by spam, we always mean the mass distribution of the same thing. Internet users most often use this word to associate it with sending or receiving phenomenal volumes of email or social media notifications.

Types of spam

Spam advertises a specific range of products and services around the world, regardless of language or region. In addition, spam content varies with the season, so that, for example, car heaters are offered in winter and air conditioners in summer.

The main types of spam are:

  • Spam mailing to e-mail.

  • Spam posts on social networks.

  • Spam mailing by SMS.

  • Spam messages in messengers.

Also in the field of email, a distinction is made between unwanted bulk emails, unwanted commercial emails, and spam.

According to the form, spam is divided into 4 categories:

  • Advertising.

  • False (fake) messages.

  • Phishing.

  • Malicious software.

Spammers are constantly expanding their offerings and are always looking for new ways to attract negligent customers. As a result, the list of spam categories continues to grow. The proportion of "new" categories in spam traffic is huge, but a closer look at the categories reveals certain trends, especially in the most common types of spam.

According to statistics, from 60 to 70% of all spam mailings fall into the following areas:

  • Adult content.

  • Health.

  • IT.

  • Personal finance.

  • Education and training

There are different types of spam emails, from harmless to criminal, but they all have in common that the user receives them unsolicited. Many spam messages are aimed at selling a specific product or service to a user that he did not ask for. So-called phishing emails are designed to extract sensitive data from the user.

Promotional emails that a customer receives from a merchant after purchasing an item are generally not considered spam.

Safe spam



Safe spam includes advertisements and fake messages. Usually they carry only informational load for the user, which he can take into account. – or leave it as it is.

In this case, a person just recognizes a thing, for example, he is offered to buy a product or dubious data is reported.

Safe spam is a regular email with text or graphics and does not contain hidden scripts or executable code sections.

Dangerous spam

Dangerous spam includes phishing and malware distribution.

Using phishing, spammers obtain the user's personal information - often it is about bank details or credit card details. For example, scam emails offer users a lucrative business where they can make a lot of money. However, to do this, you must go to a specific site and enter personal information and details.

Virus-containing emails launch executable code when you open or follow the specified links. In this case, a virus program, worm or Trojan is downloaded to the user's computer.

How to deal with email spam?

The most common anti-spam measure on a network is the use of filtering techniques. Some email programs already have built-in spam filters. This software is recommended to be used on your network resources, for example, in websites, online stores or blogs.

The goal is for the filter to recognize unwanted mailings and place them in a special repository. The problem with this kind of collateral is that it doesn't necessarily recognize every spam message, or advertise and sort messages that aren't spam. This misclassification can only be avoided with a well-tuned and tuned filter.

Unfortunately, it is technically impossible to prevent an email address (and therefore also your own) from being misused for emails that don't come from you. In part, only the use of digital signatures in e-mail can help here.

What is Phishing?



Phishing is a special and dangerous type of spam. An attacker tries to use a bogus email address to obtain user data for a specific service. The data thief provides a deceptively real-world looking interface to a trusted organization that you are directed to by a link in a phishing email that attempts to extract your username and password.

Users unwittingly pass on their bank details to criminals, who then clear their bank accounts. Some phishing emails also install viral software on the user's computer, which then exposes sensitive data without their notification.

Hacking a website through spam emails

Hacking of websites is increasingly happening by criminals who want to distribute illegal content without leaving a trace.

You should remember that the distribution will take place after the resource has been hacked and the hacker code is loaded onto it. It can also happen due to compromised online access, the presence of "holes" in plugins or bugs in the configuration of your mail server.

Another danger of hacking a resource of hacked sites – this is the addition of phishing content. In this case, an interface is created, disguised as an authorization page for a bank account, for a postal service, or something similar.

Hackers break into web pages by injecting code into vulnerable web applications to trick users into phishing sites, which are then used to obtain bank account information.

A cyberattack like this, targeting mainly banks and online payment services, could be the result of SQL injection, cross-site scripting, or other hacking method.


Remember - under no circumstances should you open links and files with suspicious messages. Spam is often hidden behind unknown senders and too attractive offers.

However, if it happens that malicious content has been opened, only antivirus software can protect the computer. Remember to regularly update your operating system to close security gaps and back up your most important computer data to other media.



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