What is spam?

We explain what spam is and for what purpose this type of malicious messages acts. In addition, the different ways to prevent and combat it.

  1. What is spam?

The term Spam is an English word that refers to junk mail or junk Internet message , that is: unsolicited messages, unwanted and / or with unknown sender , sent in large quantities and usually with advertising content. This term has also given rise to the action of  spamming  and its equivalents in Spanish as  espamear .

The Spam word comes historically from the Second World War , when Allied soldiers in front massively distributed them was a famous brand of canned meat that name (contraction of  Spiced Ham , spiced ham). 

The term became popular after the British humorists of Monty Python in 1970 used it as part of a sketch in which Spam was served to eat every day, in his series  Monty Python’s Flying Circus .   

This is a common practice today, whose first practice took place at the dawn of the Internet, supposedly in 1994 , when the law firm Canter and Siegel announced the services of their firm through a massive message by Usenet (User’s Network ).

Other versions say that in 1978, when the Internet was still for strictly military use (called ARPANET), a massive message was leaked from the DEC computer company promoting its new product.

Spam  is prevalent in any of the current means of electronic communication , particularly in email or e-mail, and in instant messaging services.

This term also serves to refer to viruses and pieces of malicious software that, scattered on the Internet, that without the user’s permission bombard it with deceptive advertising , pornography offers, gambling, dating pages and other similar services.

  1. Spam prevention and combat

The most common recommendations to combat spam are:

  • Using a firewall . It is a discriminated blocking program of the signals entering and leaving the computer through the Internet, to prevent other users from accessing the information of our system, or that malicious programs can access our connection and spread their seed to our contacts
  • Use antivirus and antimalware .  There are  programs specifically designed to clean viruses and invasive programs ( Trojans ) from a computer, many of which can be downloaded for free or purchased for little money. Its use is recommended to perform a regular maintenance of the computer or prevent such malicious software from being installed on our system. 
  • Do not open suspicious messages . Especially those emails whose senders are not known or reliable (sometimes you have to check the address from which they write to us), regardless of what you say in your sender. Most infectious emails promise easy money, free services or big surprise prizes. None of that is real.
  • Don’t fall for deceptive online advertising . A common way to get infected is by clicking on attractive advertising offers, which usually lead to dead ends and illegally downloading software . Be suspicious of offers that seem too good to be true, and under no circumstances should download or run unknown software and / or downloaded from suspicious pages .

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