Electronic spam: The perpetual problem

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Nowadays, mass media is everywhere. It’s your phone, computer, radio, newspaper, television – “mass media” could describe any device capable of sending messages in bulk.

While many of the messages that are constantly being composed, sent and received range from informative or helpful (like a breaking news story or an online class resource) to thoughtful or harmless (like a note from a friend or an inside joke shared via text), the continual stream of information can be annoying – and not all of it is benign.

Electronic spam is the use of mass media to swamp communication channels with advertisements for things users normally wouldn’t search for. It’s cheap enough to do that spammers don’t need many people to follow up on the ad in order to make a profit. It is all those emails or texts from organizations, newsletters or periodicals just that appear, seemingly out of nowhere, to land in your inbox or website and drive you crazy. Spam can be in the form of text or images, directed at you or, if you have a website, your Internet traffic.

The number of spam messages has grown with the growth of technology. The term “spam” was appropriately borrowed from a comedy sketch by Monty Python in which spam-the-processed-lunch-meat is included in almost every dish at a restaurant.

So, besides keeping your security updated and deleting the meat that does get through, what can you do to minimize this problem? The most obvious method is prevention: setting up spam filters, using your head about what you subscribe to. Spam.abuse.net has an in-depth tipsheet about how you can deal with the spam you do get.

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