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After All, What The Heck Is Spam!

You must have seen an increase in the quantity of garbage mail which shows up in your email box, or on your choicest newsgroup. The activities of a small number of people are becoming a bigger issue for the Internet.


Chain letters that ask for money, whether for reports or just straight up, are illegal in the US whether they are in postal mail or e-mail form. You should report these frauds to your local postmaster, in case of offline mail. You may see e-mail coming from Nigeria or another African country, sent by someone who wants to use your bank account to transfer 20 million dollars. This is called a ’419′ scam and people have been killed over it.

Any email or message that you had not asked for and is from someone unknown or unsolicited is Spam.

Spam is flooding the Internet with many multiple copies of the same email content, in an attempt to force the message on online users who would not otherwise choose to have it. Most spam is commercial advertising, often for highly doubtful products, get-rich-quick bogus plans.

Spam costs the sender very less to send — most of the expenses are paid for by the receiver or the carriers rather than by the sender.

To the recipient, spam is easily identifiable. If you hired someone to read your mail and clean the spam by clearing it, they would have little trouble doing it. How much do we have to do, short of AI, to make this process automatic? I think we will be able to solve the problem with fairly simple algorithms or programs. In fact, I’ve found that you can filter present-day spam reasonably  nicely using nothing more than a Bayesian combination of the spam probabilities of individual words. Using a slightly tweaked (as described below) Bayesian filter, we now miss less than 5 per 1000 spams, with zero false positives.

One particularly troublesome type of email spam is sending spam to mailing lists (public or private email discussion forums). Because many mailing lists limit activity to their subscribers, spammers will use programmed automated tools to subscribe to as many mailing lists as possible, so that they can grab the lists of email addresses, or use the mailing list as a straight target for their attacks to make money.

Make sure that you are not leaving your email at a place where it is said that it will be published online! There are programs used by spammers that can capture such openly left email addresses of yours and then start sending you junk email, i.e., spam.

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Tags: spam, spam blocker, spamming emails, spams, spams blocker

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 at 12:44 am and is filed under Application SW. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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