Spam, in technology, is electronic messaging to indiscriminately send unwanted messages. It’s most typically in e-mail form, but can appear in mobile phones, instant messaging, blogs, social networking, advertising and file sharing network. Here, I will explore spam, particularly email spam.
Origins of the word
Etymology - what does spam stand for Obviously because the internet is a new phenomenon, words have had to be invented for certain concepts. Spam doesn’t stand for anything as such, but is commonly thought, to have derived its name from the food product of the same name, which was particularly predominant in the 1960’s. It is a low-range meat product with a bland, generic taste, hence a perfect description for its technological namesake for the virtual taste (or lack thereof) it leaves in one’s mouth.
Monty Python sketch
It is thought to particularly derive from a sketch from the wacky comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus. A waiter reads out the exclusively spam-filled menu only to be interrupted by a bunch of Vikings singing: “spam, spam...lovely spam! Wonderful spam!”, hence spamming the dialogue
Forms, risks and preventative measures
Email spam Today spam, also known as unsolicited bulk email (UBE), unsolicited commercial email (UCE) and junk email, makes up a staggering 80 to 85% of all email...and that’s a “conservative estimate”! Indeed, such is spam’s irksome prevalence, that there has been considerable pressure in many quarters to ban it. In some places, this has been successful, however, due the global nature of the internet, it is not a huge problem for spammers to simply outsource their spamming operations.
Risks of spam
Most internet spam will just sit in one’s inbox and redirect the user to sites selling particular products or services which they can easily exit. Many are more devious in intent and/or dangerous in outcome though. The common pop-ups which tell viewers that they will be the umpteenth internet user to click the message for which they will get a prize are nearly always a con to get the user to buy something.
Scam spam emails
Far more dangerous though, are the fake, fictitious fraudulent emails, typically asking the ‘dear reader’ that money can be briefly deposited in their account, for a reward, usually because the supposed Nigerian prince (or whatever) is unjustly in political exile. These are almost exclusively merely scams, intended to get the reader to give their bank details so the scammers can hack their account and rob their money. Stop spam mail
Apart from the obvious ignorance of spam, one must be careful to not sign up to receive unwanted mail and it is advisable to get an email address with good email filters and screening and blocking facilities.