Thursday, March 30, 2006

Spam!!

First things first, I have been touting over the past few days the things I want to accomplish with this blog. So where’s the goods you ask? I am still planning and building. The website is still in planning stages and the blog is still being tweaked, but I will drop the first tip now.

One of the biggest issues I see that is most overlooked by the novice computer user is spam. The best way to prevent it is simple, but first. What is spam?

Spam is simply junk e-mail, stuff that you get in your e-mail box that you do not want, and did not request. You will get it from time to time eventually but you can severely minimize it by NOT FORWARDING STUFF!!!

When everyone first gets online, what they do is e-mail their friends and tell them that they are online now, and have an email address. No problem! But then they make THE fatal mistake. They find something amusing and send it to everyone they know, then they forward it to everyone they know. A variation of this is someone they know sends them the funny picture, or the deeply spiritual picture, or what ever, and they send it on to everyone they know. We all did it when we first got an e-mail address.

What makes this the fatal mistake is included in each e-mail is a list of valid e-mail addresses. How does this concern you? Let’s look at this from the eyes of a spammer.

A spammer is a person that sends junk mail in the form of “cheap Viagra” or “How to Make Lots of Money on the Internet” ads. Everyone has seen them. If I am a spammer, what I need is someone to send the ads to.

When you send the funny pictures or jokes or whatever to everyone you know, they send them to everyone they know and eventually, it will end up in the hands of the spammer, usually all they have to do is sit back and wait. When they finally get the e-mail YOU sent one day, what they have is a huge list of valid e-mail addresses to peddle their wares to. There is more effective ways for them to get addresses, but that is for another blog.

Take me to task! Look at the headers of the crap you get in your in box, I bet there is several addresses in the spam you get. I’ve seen stuff forwarded to me over the years that has been to most every company in the state and sometimes every state in the country!

Now, how do you prevent it? If someone is sending you the funny pictures or jokes and there are tons of addresses in it, point them to this blog. Let me tell them where they are going wrong so you don’t have to. Finally DON’T FORWARD IT!

It is okay to send funny stuff, but educate the people you send it to about forwarding it to other people. If you get something you want to send to someone, save the picture or whatever it is to your computer and send only the content - not the whole e-mail to your friends, without the lists of other people’s addresses.

There are other more dangerous ways that spammers get your e-mail address, but guarding against that will have to wait for another blog…