Microsoft word - spam emails

Fact Sheet

Spam emails
July 2007

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. Fact Sheet
• 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” Fact Sheet
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 marketing
extra spaces between the letters). This is still messages sent by electronic mail to individual
totally readable for a human, but unlikely to be subscribers.
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 Fact Sheet
• 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
Communications Regulation”
Web site with useful links to Anti-spam products

And finally - -
A little “light relief” - the text of the Monty Python
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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