Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Spam (not the meat) (11/03/11)
TITLE: Ubiquitous Spam
By Louis Detweiler
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Spam has been with the human race in one form or another since 1864. Spam is the process of sending unsolicited information indiscriminately. In the nineteenth century spam was sent by mail. The U.S. Post Office was not highly regulated and sales people could send letters to just about everyone. One of the common methods of introducing life insurance to rich people was through mail. Europe avoided a great deal of spam because their post offices are highly regulated.
Using the mail service to send out large number of unsolicited advertisements put a large burden on the post office. When mass mailings were inexpensive this type of distribution was cost effective. Growing up in Northern Virginia, I remember our family regularly got all types of advertisements in the mail. We didn’t request any of them.
The Internet grew into a global entity in the 1990’s. With this instant access, email, World Wide Web communication channels changed considerably. With the advent of email the term spam was coined.
The definition of spam was originally a spiced ham canned meat sent from the United States to England. English comedy got a hold of this low grade meat import and the word spam became known as a word for undesired electronic messages.
People are sinful. No one does good. We end up doing what we don’t want to do. The use of the Internet is no different. People have found ways to send unsolicited messages over the Internet. One way is by tricking an email server to keep its channels open. With an email server indiscriminately open all types of messages can get through.
Other methods of sending email is through falsifying a sender’s address, sending a hoax, and sending unsolicited mail through legitimate channels. It is very hard to separate spam from good email.
Today the spread of spam is common. In the year 2011 it is estimated there will be over 7 trillion spam messages sent. Some spam is translated into different languages. Spam is sent in Instant Messaging, UseNet newsgroup spam, web search engine spam, and spam in blogs. Two of the reasons why spam is so prolific is because the cost of sending spam is minimal. There is no overhead for the sender. The other thing is the penalty for getting caught for sending spam is slight. Once you have a conviction getting the court to levy a stiff fine and jail term is very hard.
One of the best defenses against spam is antivirus software. I have antivirus software on my computer and still spam gets through. When I see something I am not familiar with I get rid of it. My ISP (Internet Service Provider) provides protection against hackers and any search engine trying to break into an unsuspecting computer. I have a firewall, agent against spyware, antivirus, and email filtering. I also get regular antivirus and spyware updates.
Spam is a fact of life. Because of the usefulness of the Internet, the Internet will be used as long as the human race exists. There will always be a need for police, laws, and protection. We will also need protection from spam.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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