What is SPAM?
What is SPAM?
Spam is an unsolicited email message or posting, commercial in nature, that is sent to multiple recipients and does not contain a valid opt out. Spam is always commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services or pornography. It is also commonly known as junk mail, unsolicited commercial email (UCE) and unsolicited Bulk email (UBE).
Origin of the word 'spam'
The word 'spam' comes from Hormel Foods' canned meat, SPAM, via a famous skit from the BBC TV comedy show, Monty Python's Flying Circus. In this skit, a cafe menu offers almost nothing without several portions of SPAM and a chorus of Vikings sings 'spam' repeatedly, drowning out other conversation. From this, the word 'spam' has been applied to data overloads in online games, bulk USENET postings and now to bulk email and bulk messaging in other media.
Why do I get spam?
Spammers often have different techniques to send millions of messages to unsuspecting recipients. They usually send the unsolicited message in the hope that the recipient would buy their products or services. They employ various mechanisms, often trial-and-error, to establish the validity of email accounts.
A few of the popular ones are:
- Dictionary attacks, where the spammer takes common names or words and craft email addresses from them. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and so on;
- Masquerade as someone known to recipient, where they trick the recipient to open/respond to the email by using a personal/friendly subject line like 'Hi!', 'Hey, meet for lunch?', etc.;
- Spoofing, where the spammer uses a fake email header to make the email look like it came from somebody else or somewhere else other than the spammer;
- Harvesting/Mining, where they mine the Internet's public places, like message boards, chat rooms and personal homepages, using automated programs (called bots or spiders) for email addresses;
- Web beacons, where the spammer inserts an image in the email, which is invisible to the recipient. When the email is opened, the images send a message back to the spammer alerting him that the address is valid;
- Replies to spam, where the recipient unwittingly replies back to spammer;
- Open proxies, relaying through third party servers, where these machines allow the spammer to send mail while maintaining their anonymity;
- Viruses - mass mailing worms that send themselves to all available addresses on the infected machine.
Different types of spam
Unsolicited messages could vary from annoying but harmless junk mail to harmful frauds and viruses.
A few of the categories of general spam are:
- Chain letters;
- Pyramid schemes;
- Other "Get Rich Quick" or "Make Money Fast" or work at home schemes;
- Ads for pornographic web sites;
- Offers of software for collecting email addresses and sending spam;
- Offers of bulk emailing services for sending spam;
- Stock offerings for unknown start-up corporations;
- Quack health products and remedies;
- Illegally pirated software.
Email frauds are scam messages that offer huge sums of money and request bank account details, or phishing scams that spoof popular services and con the recipient into giving their credit-card/account details.
One of the popular money-laundering scams is called the Nigerian scam. In this scam, the recipient receives an email from someone claiming to be a government official, a family member of a deceased official, or an attorney representing a deceased wealthy client. The email asks for the bank details or requests the recipient to make an advance payment as good faith gesture, with the promise of returning the money in the future. If the recipient provides the details, then money is robbed from the account. Different versions of the scam exist, implicating different countries. For more details, please visit the 419 Coalition Website at http://home.rica.net/alphae/419coal/
To learn more about email fraud, click here
Phishing scams are email messages falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise, in an attempt to scam the user into giving personal information, which will be used for identity theft. The email directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The Web site, however, is phony and set up only to steal the user's information. The danger of phishing scams is that the website to which the victim is directed often looks legitimate, as it is a spoofed website intended to replicate that of the legitimate enterprise, for example www.mybluelight.com.
Phishing, also referred to as brand spoofing or carding, is a variation on "fishing," the idea being that bait is thrown out with the hopes that while most will ignore the bait, some will be tempted into biting.
Please remember that BlueLight Internet will never send you an unsolicited email asking you for your password, social security number, mother's maiden name, or your driver's license number. If you see such an email message, please report the incident to BlueLight Internet, by forwarding the mail along with its full headers to email@example.com.
To learn more about phishing scams, click here
A virus is a program that, like a biological virus, can replicate and sometimes damage the infected computer.
An Email virus is a program or document attached to an email message that, when opened, spreads by forwarding itself to any number of recipients and groups in the email address book.These attachments are not a threat to your computer if you do not open/execute them. Do not open any attachments if they are not sent from a trusted source.
For more information on Virus, click here.
Why am I getting mail that wasn't addressed to me?
It is possible to receive a message that appears to not have been addressed to you. When you receive this kind of message, this means that you were sent a blind carbon copy (Bcc) message. A Bcc message is a copy of the message that is sent to one or more recipients where the recipients' names are not visible (therefore, the term blind) to each other or other recipients of the message.
Often, spammers use "blind carbon copy" addressing to hide extremely long recipient lists and to confuse recipients. Because many people use Bcc messaging in acceptable ways on a daily basis, we cannot take action against email messages coming into our domain because of Bcc addressing. BlueLight Internet does not condone any sort of Internet abuse, however, and we are happy to help our members stop offensive email.
If you receive a spam message that appears to have originated from BlueLight Internet, please forward the message with its full headers, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you receive a spam message from a non-BlueLight Internet email address, forward the message with its full headers to the postmaster at the sender's domain. For example, if the message came from email@example.com, forward the message to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. To help us fight spam better, please send us a copy of the spam. To learn about how to report spam to BlueLight Internet, click here.
If the spam originated at BlueLight Internet, we will take immediate action, or forward complaints along to the appropriate authorities at other domains so that action will be taken against the offending accounts.
Why am I getting mail delivery failure notifications for email that I didn't send?
If you have received Mail Delivery Failure notices to your BlueLight Internet account for messages you have not sent, it is possible that the original spam message has your BlueLight Internet account name forged in the From field and/or the Return-Path fields.
Please note that spammers often forge innocent domain names (in this case BlueLight Internet) into the message headers in order to disguise the actual origin while creating confusion for Spam recipients.
Please forward the entire Mail failure notice (also include the original message that caused it) along with its full headers to email@example.com. so we may investigate the matter further.
Do's and Don'ts
- Do not reply to the spam.
- Do not click on the remove/unsubscribe link given in a message from an un-trusted source. These are often used as a ploy by spammers to determine active email accounts.
- Do not click on the URL given in the message. This could validate the existence of the account.
- Do not give your personal/account information over email without checking the validity of the message. This can be crosschecked by contacting the help-desk of the legitimate company.
- If you have concerns about an email, please contact the company from whom the email appears to have been sent. The company will be able to verify the authenticity of the email.
- Do report all spam to Spamdesk firstname.lastname@example.org
- Do read the 'Terms of Service' document on external sites while providing your email address. Some sites/services, in turn, pass on the email-addresses to bulk mailers/spammers.
- Do update your antivirus software and run virus-scans on your computer periodically .
What is BlueLight Internet's Anti-Spam Policy?
BlueLight Internet maintains a strict policy against spamming. The BlueLight Internet Service Agreement states:
You agree that you shall not resell the Service or use the Service for the transmission of commercial solicitations or for the receipt of responses to commercial solicitations. You agree that you shall not, for a commercial purpose, upload, transmit, reproduce, distribute or participate in the transfer or sale, or in any way exploit, any content obtained through the Service.
The use of the BlueLight Internet service to participate in any of the following activities is strictly prohibited:
- To post to any Usenet or other newsgroup, forum, email mailing list or other similar group or list articles which are off-topic or otherwise inappropriate according to the charter or other owner-published FAQ or description of the group or list.
- To falsify user information provided to BlueLight Internet or to other users of the service in connection with use of a BlueLight Internet service
- To use a BlueLight Internet account as a receiving point or repository for any form of response to an unsolicited message sent through BlueLight Internet or any other service
- To engage in any of the foregoing activities by using the services of another provider, but channeling such activities through a BlueLight Internet account, re-mailer, or otherwise through the BlueLight Internet service.
It is our policy to terminate accounts that we find to have violated our Service Agreement in these ways.
To see more information on prohibited conduct, please read BlueLight Internet's Terms of Services and Guidelines for Acceptable Use.
Return to Security Index