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Email Security - What is SPAM?

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Email Security - What is SPAM?

Before we define exactly what spam is, a few words should be said about spam in general and how it is understood in other countries.

Depending on the goals of the sender (spammer), spam (unsolicited bulk email) may contain commercial information, or have nothing to do with it at all. In other words, according to the content of the message, spam is divided into unsolicited commercial email (UCE) and unsolicited bulk email (UBE).

An email may contain information about its content in the SUBJECT field, whilst in the body of the message a sender may explain why they have addresses a recipient without asking their permission and what the recipient must do in order not to get emails from the sender in the future. In other words, if a user wants to unsubscribe from unsolicited emails (opt-out) they must follow the instructions of the spammer, which as a rule, will require information about the user’s email address or the need to call a telephone number (usually a toll-free phone number).

Spammers know that they are sending out unsolicited information and try to make it seem as though they do not want to inconvenience the user through clever use of the SUBJECT field text and the inclusion of an unsubscribe mechanism. In fact, spammers do not care about reducing the inconvenience caused by spam, and what is more, they dodge responsibility for their actions by using spoofed sender addresses, third-party addresses or fake message headings. Their only goal is to impede the identification of the sender and thus to prevent any possible retribution.

The definition of spam
According to Kaspersky Lab, the definition of spam is anonymous, unsolicited bulk email.

Let's take a closer look at each component of the definition:

Anonymous: real spam is sent with spoofed or harvested sender addresses to conceal the actual sender.

Mass mailing: real spam is sent in enormous quantities. Spammers make money from the small percentage of recipients that actually respond, so for spam to be cost-effective, the initial mails have to be high-volume.

Unsolicited: mailing lists, newsletters and other advertising materials that end users have opted to receive may resemble spam, but are actually legitimate mail. In other words, the same piece of mail can be classed as both spam and legitimate mail depending on whether or not the user elected to receive it.

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Last Modified:Monday, May 17, 2010
Last Modified By: Speidel_F
Type: FAQ
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