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Microsoft word - spam emails
Why’s it called “Spam”?
A famous Monty Python sketch revolved
this opportunity to use this easy and inexpensive
around a restaurant, which specialised in
channel to sell their wares to millions of potential
dishes with the meat product, “Spam”.
A group of Vikings sat in the corner were
2. Everyday examples of spam
singing “Spam, Spam, Spam, lovely Spam,
wonderful Spam!” - drowning out all the
conversations in the restaurant….
Like the Vikings’ singing, email “spam” can
drown out the useful emails you do want to
Our E-Business Advisers discuss ways of
avoiding this nuisance:
• Instantly clear adverse credit history
1. What is spam?
One definition of spam is an “unsolicited email
message, usually sent in bulk and commercial
3. Too much spam isn’t good for you!
What makes spam such a big problem is the
advertisements for products or services, which
Spammers try all the tricks, including every
pornographic material, hoax messages, jokes
possible permutation of email addresses to see
Use of email is critical for just about every
Despite all the latest developments in anti-spam
business today, enhancing our ability to
technology, unsolicited messages continue to
arrive in our email in-boxes at an alarming rate.
As email has become an important marketing
Business email servers are flooded with spam
tool for legitimate businesses, unscrupulous
messages and Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
‘junk emailers’ or ‘spammers’ have picked upon
have to cope with steadily increasing traffic.
• Spam "attacks" disrupt electronic messages
link are often only confirming that they have a
and transactions, filling up your company’s
live email address - thus inviting more spam!
Never click on the unsubscribe
link on a spam email.
system resources for processing and storage
Unsolicited text messages received on mobile
• Staff regularly waste otherwise productive time
phones are also classed as spam. Don’t reply -
• Staff can be annoyed or offended by spam,
resulting in legal problems for employers
Offensive or pornographic messages can also
threaten business Internet policies, often inviting the unwitting recipient to open a message which
because of the proliferation of unsolicited
may potentially violate internal Internet usage
5. Protecting your business from spam
• Anti-spam legislation is difficult to enforce
4. Where is all this spam coming from?
Unfortunately, there is no 100% effective way of
protecting your company email in-boxes from
Spammers can be individuals or organisations,
who ‘harvest’ email addresses from web sites, mailing lists and newsgroups.
However, there are lots of ways that you can
significantly reduce the amount received or the
There is also a brisk trade in email address lists
amongst the spammer community - and some spam emails offer to sell you these lists!
One aim should be to make sure your computer
systems are secure, as many computer viruses
They send their messages out in bulk to just
about anyone they can find – generally to thousands of people who have never expressed
• Educate your staff by helping them understand
any prior interest in their products or associated
Some spam messages contain fraudulent or
illegal offers, relying on the lack of knowledge of
Email message headers can often be forged or
tampered with to conceal their identity and
spammer’s “remove me from this mailing list”
There are a wide range of anti-spam software
now have to “opt-in”
to receive marketing
applications on the market today, of which two
of the most popular are McAfee's SpamKiller
There are exceptions for mail messages sent to
business addresses, for further information
Both software packages include a number of
please refer to the Useful Links section below.
powerful tools which can be set up to allow
messages from a 'white' list of email addresses,
1st New Rule
and block messages from a 'black' list of
spammers already plaguing your email in-boxes.
This rule applies to all marketing messages sent
by electronic mail, regardless of who the
Your anti-spam software is unable to ‘guess’ the
address of every email you receive in advance,
so you can also create lists of 'white' and 'black'
• The sender must not conceal their identity
For example, you might want to block messages
• The sender must provide a valid address for
containing the word “Viagra” - unless you’re a
2nd New Rule
Unfortunately, the way around this is simple for
the spammers - they would use V i a g r a (with
This rule only applies to unsolicited
extra spaces between the letters). This is still
messages sent by electronic mail to individual
totally readable for a human, but unlikely to be
Senders cannot send such messages unless
Anti-spam software has often been developed to
they have the recipient’s prior consent to do so.
‘learn’ over time, to identify more accurately
what is and isn't spam based on the type of
The strict “opt-in” rule is relaxed if 3 exemption
messages you simply delete or choose to open.
In the same way as there is a constant war
• The recipient’s email address was collected “in
between computer virus writers and anti-virus
the course of a sale or negotiations for a sale”
companies, spammers and anti-spam firms are
• The sender only sends promotional messages
relating to their “similar products and services”
6. Spam and the law
From the 11 December 2003, a new European
• When the address was collected, the recipient
was given the opportunity to opt out (free of
Communications Regulation’ now makes it
charge except for the cost of transmission)
illegal to send unsolicited emails. Recipients
• Also, the opportunity to opt out must be given
However, the problem is that most spammers
are outside of the European Union (many are
based in the USA or Russia) - and refuse to take
note of the European legislation.
Whilst they are almost impossible to track down
and prosecute effectively, the daily flooding of
our email boxes continues! 7. Useful Links
Information Commissioners web site, with
details about the “Privacy & Electronic
Web site with useful links to Anti-spam products
And finally -
A little “light relief” - the text of the Monty Python
sketch! Disclaimer: we have no commercial links with
these companies or their products, and their
appearance in this fact sheet is not an
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