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Internet Family Fun

Spam 101

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Internet Family Fun Home > What You Want to Know About... > Spam 101 > Why Spam Is Undesirable

Why Spam Is Undesirable

Spam is rampant on the Internet and costly. It is very cheap for spammers to send spam and unfortunately it costs the receiver of the spam more than the spammer to send the solicitation. Here are surprising statistics.

According to Information Week in an article dated 12/2/04, spam out numbers legitimate messages almost 9 to 1. That means that for every 10 emails sent, 9 are spam. Even more alarming is that 1.3% of messages processed in November 2004 contained viruses. It has only gotten exponentially worse since this report. This is why spam is bad for everyone online.

Use of Bandwidth
Although these emails aren't printed out and can be deleted, they do cost everyone money by using valuable bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data that can transmitted over a fixed amount of time. When valuable bandwidth is being used up by spam, important or wanted information takes longer to reach you. ISPs (who you pay to connect to the Internet) must increase bandwidth in order to serve you when the amount of spam increases, which is costly for them and they must pass on the cost to you.

Often spam contains viruses that when installed on a computer, it will send spam from the infected computer. This increase in the amount of spam can literally cripple the Internet by consuming all available bandwidth. These viruses can also harm your computer and cost time and energy to remove.

Undesirable Offensive Messages
Often spam contains offensive information such as pornography and foul language that children see.

As an individual home user, spam is frustrating and takes time to delete. If you don't delete it eventually it will fill up your hard drive. For businesses though, it is very costly (which ends up costing you). Businesses end up paying for each employee to delete the offending messages or they need to pay for a program to automatically delete the messages before the employee gets them. Businesses end up having to acquire more bandwidth for their networks so that legitimate messages and information can be received in a timely manner. They also have to increase their information storage to accommodate these messages until they are dealt with. Instead of one information specialist, the company may have to have two information specialists on their payroll to deal with these problems. Business costs such as these are passed on to consumers.

Often Spam Contains Fraudulent Material
Most spam are solicitation to buy something that isn't legitimate. Advertising is done by spamming because it is hard to trace, otherwise the company or person would advertise legitimately where you could trace them if there was a problem with the product or service provided. Lately, phishing is becoming rampant. Phishing is a technique where a spammer sends you an email that looks like it is from a legitimate company, such as Ebay or a credit card company, that asks you to confirm your information that you have on file or you will lose the service. These emails look very official and include company graphics. The information that you send though, ends up in the spammers hands, and often that information is credit card numbers, bank account information and pin numbers.

Important Messages Are Lost
As spam increases it becomes harder and harder to spot legitimate messages for filtering programs and people looking through their email headers. More and more people are installing filters for their email messages and these filters can often filter legitimate messages. Also from personal experience, as I scan email headers, it is easy to miss that one legitimate email subject among the other 10 junk emails.

Spam 101
Next - How Spammers Operate
Page 1 - About Spam
Page 2 - Why Spam is Undesirable
Page 3 - How Spammers Operate
Page 4 - How to Avoid Spam
Page 5 - Sending Email That Won't Be Caught in Filters
Page 6 - Don't Put Up With Spam, Report It
Page 7 - Spam Filters

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