What is spam and how to defend yourself

Spam is a practice (also dangerous) that consists in the repeated sending of e-mail messages generally advertising

It happens to everyone to receive frequently spam messages, a bitch that in some cases, in addition to being very annoying (since it clogs the mailbox), can also be dangerous. Often, in fact, the objective of these emails is to take over the personal data of the users.

But what is spam? We could simply define it as a practice that consists in the repeated sending of e-mail messages generally of advertising nature. And not only that. Spam does not run exclusively in e-mails. You can find it, for example, in SMS or Facebook comments. Not to mention unwanted calls. The aspect that distinguishes spam is that it contains information that has not been requested by the users. The spammer, that is the one who starts the indiscriminate sending of messages, is able to find (and often guess) the e-mail addresses (or phone numbers) of the victims.

The goals of spam

Spam aims to reach as many users as possible with the same message. As said, the spammer can have other purposes, besides the one of marketing a product (that often turns out to be illegal). It is very likely, in fact, that the e-mail contains a link through which the author of the message aims to cheat the victim. This is called phishing. Generally, the authors of these messages get the addresses from several sources: forums on the Internet or buying the information from private agencies.

We are often the ones who deliver our e-mails into the hands of spammers without even realizing it. This is the case, for example, when we fill in any form (even at the supermarket) with our address.

How to defend yourself against spam

The main weapon against spam is to pay special attention to the diffusion of e-mails. It doesn't matter if we write the address on the Internet or on a paper document. Do not underestimate, then, the privacy conditions present on a platform or on a registration form. Read them before giving consent to the processing of personal data. It is likely, in fact, that your e-mail address is sold to third parties.

Limit the publication of personal information on forums and social networks. Don't reply to spam emails (you would make the author understand that your address is valid) and above all don't open the links contained in them.

A very smart trick is to modify your email address published on the net, so that it can't be used by computers to send us spam emails. This is called address munging. An example could be the following: [email protected]. The address is, however, recognizable by a person, but not by an automatic system.

We could also use more e-mails, reserving to communicate the personal one only to a restricted circle of contacts. Finally, remember that most emails have spam filters. Just make sure they are turned on.