SPAM: What are the so-called spam mails and what are their types?

When a person creates an email account, they do so in order to exchange messages with their acquaintances or friends. But, you must know that at the moment of having it, it is common to receive dozens of messages that were never requested and that are not of our interest.

These e-mails constitute the very famous “Spam” that we have all heard about at some time as Internet surfers. This phenomenon increases day after day, and as new solutions and technologies emerge to counteract it, spammers dedicated to their work become more and more sophisticated and modify their skills, in order to avoid user countermeasures.

In order to inform you on this subject, in the following article we will give you some details on spam and the types that exist. We will also explain better the purpose with which many practice this phenomenon and how to recognize it.

What is SPAM and what is its purpose?

It is called SPAM the way to overload the Internet with many copies of the same message, with the aim of getting them to people who would otherwise never agree to receive them.

Originally this word catalogued those unwanted or junk mails that arrived unsolicited, however, the concept has expanded due to the multiple forms of online communication that exist today.

Usually, this advertising is sent in large quantities to millions of accounts at once, and most advertisers, instead of investing in campaigns and advertisements on popular websites, take advantage of this medium and collect email addresses from public or private sources, to which they then send promotional emails within minutes.

You get a considerable profit if only a small part of these receivers end up buying the product. It is worth noting that Spain, with 0.7%, occupies the nineteenth position in the top 20 countries that send spam.

As a curious fact, we mentioned that the terminology “Spam” has its origin in the Second World War, when the American company Hormel Foods launched its canned meat called “Hormel’s Spiced Ham”, which means ham with spices. From the contraction of which the word in question arises.

This meal was very popular with the American and British troops, as it saved the use of the can opener. But, it is in 1970 when the kings of British humor, The Monty Python’s, in their sketch, described it as annoying, repetitive and unavoidable.

This was because when you tried to order food in a cafeteria, all the dishes on the menu contained the food, which became somewhat invasive.

It is then, almost half a century later, that this description is not at all funny and fits perfectly with those mails or advertisements received on the Internet.

What are the main forms of SPAM that exist?

As we have already said, we can consider as spam all the advertisements, images or links that we often find on websites. But what are the ways to find it?

Here are some of them:

Adult advertising

Typically, this includes product offerings designed to increase or enhance sexual potency, erotic or pornographic advertisements that direct the user to paid or subscribed sites.

Phishing

It is an illicit data collection technique that consists of duplicating web pages making the user believe that he is in the original one. This is commonly done with bank pages where notices are sent to access them. In this case, hackers update data such as passwords, expiration dates, account numbers, etc.

Health and Medical Propaganda

They feature miracle products, magic therapies or shamans that claim to surpass the specialists in medicine and nutrition. These are usually published in magazines that use “before and after” montages.

Computers and Internet

It includes hardware and software offers, as well as services aimed at website owners, such as hosting, web optimization, domain registration and so on.

Advertising on finance and economic opportunities

They generally offer insurance of all types, debt reduction services, low interest rate loans and investments that seem advantageous. The desire for a stable economic life causes many to fall for this type of advertising.

Messages on educational and professional content

They often arise in economic crises and when unemployment increases in a population. They make offers for seminars, trainings and online degrees that will allow them to access secured jobs in exchange for seemingly nothing.

On what platforms can we find unwanted messages?

As there are no perfect anti-spam measures that completely protect a media, no platform is exempt from suffering from this problem, which spreads not only to the most popular ones, but also to the less frequented and more private ones that exist.

In what follows, we will show you the most bombed out ones on the subject in question:

Forums

Spam is also considered when a user posts something that has nothing to do with the group’s topic of conversation. Also, when a person repeatedly posts messages solely for the purpose of increasing their rank or number of posts in the forum.

Social Networks

These consist of sending invitations, job offers, among other unsolicited advertising. Adding to this comments in social networks, blogs or YouTube videos that do not contribute anything to the content and only look for a promotion, new subscribers or a link.

SMS

This is known as that which is carried out by telephone through the operators by means of text messages. That is to say, it is any advertising communication in which there is no prior consent. In the same way, this is considered to be unsolicited commercial communications.

Chats

This is usually reflected in social network chats, and consists of repeatedly posting the same thing so that you cannot read messages from other members. They are chains where instructions or promotions of some product are given.

Calls

Calls made by telephone companies at any time, or from organizations seeking your participation in certain contests, are also called spam.

Unsolicited communications in the fax

Although at the beginning it was not considered as spam, currently they are also punished by the Spanish Data Protection Agency, since sending this type of message is against the General Telecommunications Law and the data protection regulations.

Street Ads

Although it is not a platform, we can mention it as one of the ways to find this, especially in cities, since it is very common to find while walking, advertisements stuck on walls, posts, cars, among other structures. In the same way, we can witness this when we are made to take a piece of paper almost out of obligation, describing something that we might not care about.

Risks of SPAM on the Internet Why is it so bad?

This pile of junk mail is not only annoying because the mailbox is filled with unwanted messages, but it can also be very dangerous.

While it is true that this does not belong to the group of virtual attacks and is most often used for marketing purposes, many cybercriminals may also use it as a means to spread malware to devices and steal user account access data. In particular to online banking services through phishing or phishing techniques.

More than 40% of spam is aimed at stealing personal information for illicit purposes, which can lead to significant economic damage to the user. For this reason it is clear that it does not always have commercial purposes.

We can classify online criminals basically into two groups. Scammers who send misleading advertising or sell “miracle products”, and hackers who use emails as a means of distributing viruses that can give you full access to the recipient’s device.

How can I protect myself from spamming?

The sending of this is considered all over the world to be good manners, but as we have already mentioned there is no measure that provides perfect protection against it. Therefore, you should decide which of the following possibilities is the most applicable to avoid receiving unwanted messages:

  • Use alias accounts: don’t use your main email account in newsgroups, guestbooks or forums, but use alias accounts that you can delete after use. You should only disclose your private account to people you really want to communicate with.
  • Implement anti-spam software on your computers: you have the possibility to configure your account in such a way that all incoming messages are rejected through anti-spam software. These have built-in intelligent software filters to recognize these messages and move them from the inbox to the spam folder.
  • Be careful what you click on: you should not reply to spam messages, nor click on links, files or images in them, because they may contain dangerous scripts and this way they will also have the possibility to verify that your account exists, which could result in an increase in spam.

This post is also available in: Português (Portuguese (Brazil))

Leave a Comment