WHAT IS SPAM?
Spam is unsolicited email sent in bulk.
Perpetrators send as many messages as possible knowing that most will never be seen: many will be caught by spam or other filters. Of the messages that make it past filtering, most users will ignore or report it as spam.
The content of spam emails can be just about anything. Spam can just be unsolicited commercial messages but scammers will also use the tactic in phishing attempts or as a means to send malware.
In classic geek style, the term spam for unsolicited bulk email is believed to originate with a Monty Python sketch. In this sketch, an entire cafe menu revolves around the divisive canned meat product and the word ‘spam’ is said so many times as to lose all meaning.
Spammers collect as many as many email addresses as possible from websites (including through intrusion), unprotected customer lists, using viruses that harvest the user’s address book or really, anywhere they can. Spammers will trade, buy and sell email lists. As we said, it’s a numbers game.
MORE THAN A NUISANCE
Spam costs time, attention and resources which all translate to a real economic cost. How much? Well, just like the spammers themselves, it’s hard to pin down. Factors like public and private efforts to curtail spam, productivity and attention lost to spam and money lost to fraud all factor in to put the likely cost of spam into the tens of billions of dollars a year.
GO BEYOND "MARK AS SPAM"
Spam is a fact of life. Reporting spam that makes it through spam filters is useful to help said filters get smarter. If you find a domain that’s sending spam or is part of a spam network, create an online abuse spam report with NetBeacon.
WHAT TO DO WITH SPAM
Spam email isn’t just annoying. It can also be dangerous. Spam email can contain viruses and other malware. It’s also a tool used in phishing attempts. Following are some tips for receiving less spam and handling the spam you do receive.
- Don’t share your email address unless you know exactly how it will be used.
- If you want to sign up for promotions, lists etc. consider creating an email address just for these things using a free webmail service (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook.com)
- Do not open or reply to spam email.
- Do not download or run attachments from spam email.
- Use your email client’s spam reporting tools to mark spam as such.
- Report spammers with NetBeacon.
HOW TO REPORT ONLINE ABUSE
If you suspect or have witnessed online abuse, sharing a NetBeacon report is the single most impactful action you can take. A NetBeacon report ensures that the information gets into the right hands.
Sign up or login to the NetBeacon abuse reporting tool with your email or SSO.
Identify the type of abuse and share any details that might help investigators.
Your report will be reviewed and shared with the appropriate bodies for action.