Email Anti-SPAM News, Help & Advice.

Fed up of receiving SPAM, viruses, scams and phishing schemes via email?? We were - so here are some useful news articles, hints and tips to keep informed and reduce the problem!

April 27, 2004

Most popular items offered via spam

The most popular items sent via spam email seem to be:

1. Pharmaceuticals or medical products (usually cheap or claiming to offer prescription only or restricted drugs).

2. Discount software (usually fake but claimed to be available at a fraction of its normal price).

3. University degrees / diplomas.

4. Email lists and spamming software!

5. Viruses!!

6. Dodgy information (how to avoid speeding fines, get free cable, get rich quick schemes etc.)

7. Office equipment, ink cartridges / refill kits etc.

8. Cheap finance / credit cards / loans / mortgages etc.

9. Pyramid schemes or chain letters.

10. Pump-and-dump schemes - whereby someone will attempt to promote a stock (usually a small company whose stock they already own) to get gullible people to buy - then (they) dump their stock when the price rises.

11. Promoting adult material / web sites.

12. Online gambling / casinos or lotteries.

13. Fake / copies of designer items (clothing, watches etc.).

We even saw spammers trying to cash in on the 9/11 attacks!

Of course almost all spam is some type of scam - usually to get your credit card or other personal information - you are very unlikely ever to ever receive anything you did buy! If it looks too good to be true - it probably is...

Overall remember the rule - Never buy from spammers!

April 26, 2004

What is phishing / spoofing?

The term 'Phishing' (also known as spoofing) comes from 'fishing' - basically because Internet scammers use email as bait to trick username / password or personal and financial information from unsuspecting users.

Typically they create emails that look like they have come from another company (usually a bank, ISP or other online service) - often saying that they need to update or verify the details on your account. They link to web sites that 'look' similar to the normal login screens of ISP's or banks - the unsuspecting user is thereby tricked into entering their details which the scammers can record and then exploit.

Where online banks are the target money is usually transferred out of the exploited bank account to a 'mule' - they they get the mule to withdraw the money and send it by wire transfer to the scammers (who are usually overseas). The reason they need to use a mule is that most normal bank accounts cannot directly transfer money overseas.

The 'ph' replaces the 'f' - this probably originated one of the original hacking exploits - 'phreaking' - a method that used a device (called a 'Blue Box') to imitate tones used by early telephone systems to get free telephone calls.

Also see: How to avoid phishing scams

April 15, 2004

What is spam?

Spam is the term given to Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) - it is also sometimes known as Unsolicited Bulk Email (UBE).

Spam creates many problems:

1. It greatly increases costs for ISP's (which will end up being passed on to their customers).

2. Spam is nearly free for spammers to send - the receiver is the one that wastes a lot of time (and more money) downloading and dealing with it.

3. Mail servers become congested and spam will be responsible for some mail delivery delays.

4. Spam filters will incorrectly identify a proportion of legitimate mail as spam - see: Anti-Spam Software.

5. Spam is often linked to other criminal activity / computer misuse - viruses are often written to infect computers and extract information or send spam - a lot of spam is for phishing schemes where they try to trick you into entering your personal / bank login information.

It causes mail servers to become congested and will be responsible for some mail delivery delays.

SPAM (in capitals) is also a registered trademark of Hormel Foods Corporation for their for their luncheon meat product.

The term "spam" arose from Monty Python's Flying Circus - first shown by the BBC on 15th December 1970. In one scene a group of Vikings sang a chorus of 'Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Lovely Spam, Wonderful Spam...' drowning out all other conversation. So spam was used because UCE was drowning out normal email traffic on the Internet.

April 04, 2004

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Disclaimer: This information is provided 'as is' and without warranty. Any advice given is generic advice only and may not be appropriate to your particular circumstances - always check with your software / hardware manufacturer. In no event will we be liable to any party for any direct, indirect, special or other consequential damages.