Sunday, October 12, 2008

Problems with Spam

Not only is someone spamming this blog, but I have also been getting some bad spam to my personal email this week. It is only a few messages, but the content has been nasty and has included viruses. My spam filter catches close to 100% of spam, so I never see those messages. This week, spam is getting through, so I report it as spam. The filter will probably start catching these new ones, so it will drop off after a more days.

I always wonder what happened whenever I have a new outbreak. Did someone's computer get infected, thus giving my email to the spammers? Is someone targeting me specifically? If so, it is not likely to work. I delete everything that contains unknown content.

One of the messages I received had the title, "Your illegal internet activity is being logged." Even though I know I'm not doing anything wrong, the title sounded scary and made me want to look at it. Instead, I googled it and discovered that it contained a virus. I deleted it.

I received another message which I cannot describe because the sender's name and the message's title both contained pornographic words. I deleted that one.

I just received a message that appears to have been sent by The title reads, "You've received A Hallmark E-Card!" I don't know if I have or not, but I deleted it without opening. The "e-card" is an attachment. I'm not about to open that attachment.

Never open attachments unless you know the sender quite well and know exactly what they have sent you.

Seriously, if someone known to me wants to send me an e-card, they need to tell me that they are doing it so that I will open it. I hope I don't miss legitimate messages, but I am not going to fall into a trap and get a virus. One common way in which people send viruses is to masquerade them as e-cards. This is why I never open e-cards.

This brings me to one of my biggest pet peeves about email. Some people send legitimate messages with titles like "hi," "question," or "wondering." Unless I recognize the sender's name immediately, I delete them without opening. Spam messages containing viruses often have vague titles. People need to give specific titles that state the purpose of the message. If you have a question for someone, you need to give them have an idea of what you want so that the message will be opened.

I am also in a pretty safe position with regards to my email account. Around seven years ago, I quit using Outlook Express for my email. I am able to view my personal email account while being logged in to Yahoo. Web-based email is much safer, because the attachments are on the web rather than stored on my computer. None of my messages are ever stored on my computer; they are all stored on Yahoo. Even if I decided to click on an attachment, Yahoo scans it for viruses before giving me the option to view it. Everyone should look into the option of web-based email.

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