Spam: What is it and How is it Harmful?
The history of spam comes a long way—and it is no surprise that we are all dealing with this spam thing at one point, or the other. Thanks to the wake of the internet— spam was also born. And it is also no secret that it remains to be a huge nuisance, and a big enemy of productivity.
Besides congesting your inbox alone—spam messages can hurt nearly everything. Likewise, it can affect many things from an industry’s bottom-line to technical, or scientific advancement and acceptance. Aside from other things that one can do with the internet, Spammers are only seeing the web as an unusual vehicle for annoying others.
Essentially, spam is the unwanted commercial emails that only clogged your inbox out of nowhere. For the best understanding of it, however, it is the unsolicited web content that is mainly sent in bulk from anonymous or unknown sources for advertisement purposes, phishing, spreading the virus, etc.
They usually come as junk mail. But it is only ordinary to see spam messages in the form of instant messaging (IM) services, SMS, recorded calls, or social platforms. Also, aside from wasting your time, and almost infecting your device with a virus, in many instances, spam messages often consume a lot of net bandwidth.
As a fun fact, however, the first form of spam is the food “SPAM – the conserved meat product made from ham” that was especially popular back in the days. SPAM tins could take up large spaces in almost every store you visited. This is where the so-called internet spam got its name. Let me explain.
This name ‘spam’ was said somewhere in a forum when the web-based bulk messaging began to arise. Thanks to the popularity of the tinned food itself, the (food SPAM), the name is now being used to refer to the unsolicited bulk internet advertising content, or junk mail. The name stuck, and has so far become even more popular than the food SPAM itself.
Earlier, in the internet age, internet spam was almost only limited to emails alone but as time goes by, the web is now crawling with all sorts of scam. Many things today are considered scam—from sending emails to blasting comments on social media, or websites—not to mention recorded spam calls.
Also, those who are already aware are only looking for effective solutions for locking them away—but if this spam thing is new to you, here are the common types of spam messages, or scam content you’re likely going to come across in your inbox, or your everyday internet life.
Browser spam is less common compared to other forms but they can attack a dozen unsuspecting web users. These kinds of scams draw on the broad popularity of browser pop-ups, or the push notifications.
If used properly, however, browser spam can streamline the web, or digital interactions to edge the need for open windows, or tabs. The problem is, it can also be manipulated to develop substantial cybersecurity threats. Moreover, unfamiliar to most targets, browser scams involve browser pop-ups that relate to nasty schemes.
Equally, most device security solutions can’t detect and eradicate these pop-ups, and as a result, they can still go on unchecked. However, with an advanced new technology browser protection tool like Guardio, for instance, you are sure to get rid of all cybersecurity threats, and spam messages aren’t an exception.
With that said, there is a free version of Guardio that offers the chance of testing the benefits before you decide to opt for a premium package, which is often the best, to experience the rewards of maximum device, and browser protection. Keep going.
This is the most known type of spam, and it is also quite difficult to battle. You probably must already have a dozen email spam messages in your inbox as you are reading this. Spammers will only often send bulk phishing emails and hope to catch your attention, or even lure you to share your secret details. Similarly, some other cybercriminals will also send you spoofing emails that just mimic those from legit brands, prompting you to take some sort of action like, for example, to update your billing info, or to pay for things from a shopping cart you have no idea about.
To confirm if any of these things are true, simply to login to your original subscribed websites, and check if it is true. But you can as well just ignore, and delete these messages since they are only a scam.
If a potential bulk spammer gets hold of your email address, you are well compromised. But thanks to the dawn of new technology, again, Google has a way of separating spam emails from legit, or useful ones. Still, there is a downside to this unique capability. Let me explain.
There is often a higher chance for your useful emails to land in the spam folder than the actual spam emails to get into your inbox. As such, I’m not certain if what you would prefer, is the other way instead, or which way is actually better.
Likewise, there are 2 ways you can get spammed through email. The first one is through an online contact form, and the second is via a direct email. Further, it is easier for criminals to get hold of your email address from your website, or blog.
Use CAPTCHA Forms to Prevent Spamming Bots While it is certainly not the perfect moment for speaking about the solutions—it won’t hurt if we share this bit, first. It helps to know that the contact form issue is easier to fix if you are familiar, and can utilise the CAPTCHA form. You probably must have come across a CAPTCHA form on various sites you have previously visited. But for the sake of those who might not be aware what CAPTCHA form, or reCAPTURE, really is—this is a section on a website that often prompts you to identify similar images to prove you are not a robot.
In addition, like other sites or blogs, you certainly also have your email address written as “email@example.com” at the contact section, or somewhere on your website. Hence, your email address can easily be scrapped, and included in the spam list if someone has targeted you.
But there is another way you can still protect yourself. For example, instead of writing your email like “firstname.lastname@example.org”, you can opt for other variations like, “something at yourdomain.com”, or “something[@]yourdomain.com”
The problem with this, however, is that the users’ experience will be reduced. Because people won’t be able to just paste your email address instead of writing it down if they need to. But the best part is, even the bots themselves will not be able to copy and paste it, and thus, your email is free from being scraped.
One other way spammers can acquire your email is via the opt-in forms. In your early days of digital, or online marketing—you certainly subscribed to a dozen email lists. As such, there is a good chance someone listed your email on a spam list.
If this sounds any familiar, a tool like Unroll.me can be quite handy if you are looking to opt out from all previous subscriptions, in bulk.
Like in many respects to the kind of scam or spam that is linked to email—this type of spam is known to target, and strike messaging services on sites like Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram. Messenger spam is also categorised the same way as the mutual email scams.
Moreover, these types of spam are also hard to filter, and are likely to reach those who spend time interacting on social media more than they are spending it to check their emails.
Further, baiting, and phishing are also ordinary to this type of scam. And some messages may also carry malware, or other malicious programs, like spyware, that might only end up infecting your device with a virus if, let's say, you opened them.
If you ever get blasted by these, you will probably become very infuriated. Comment spam is only very unpleasant. Here’s how it works. Spammers will often use a program like ScrapeBox, for instance, to locate their preferred targets (you), and just bombard you with useless comments. Because these comments tend to help the spammer to get some backlinks which are good for their websites.
Accordingly, while some people might think that eliminating the option of adding links will discourage spammers from targeting them—this is hardly the case. Thing is, many criminals do not spend time checking these things. Most of them will only blast almost anything in their way if it’s in their niche.
Like comment spam, Trackback spam also works in a similar fashion. This spam was designed typically to be useful. Their work is to notify the other guy about a new backlink. They do this by generating a link back to the source of the backlink (your website). Let me explain.
Whenever a person links to your website, the site itself automatically creates a link back to their sites. As such, it is easier for you to notice it, and start a connection with those who mentioned you. This usually helps with further promotion but spammers have also perceived that, they too, can profit from this.
Here’s the fault. If you don’t monitor trackbacks, spammers will often notice it, and attempt to create links to your site from their own websites. Once they have the trackbacks up and running, they get rid of the links to your site—it makes it look like you are the one that is actually linking to them.
This kind of spam can cause serious damage to your brand, or reputation. Negative SEO Spam is designed, and intended to make Google believe that you are the one doing the BlackHat SEO tricks. This, however, usually happens when some nasty competitors are trying to pull your brand down instead of working hard on theirs.
Additionally, Google mentioned that Penguin 4.0 acts in real time, and it will often overlook the spammy links like those built by Negative SEO. But the thing is, Negative SEO spam continues to be effective, and a typical brand killer.
Truth is, spam can attack every digital space, or any online presence, imaginable. It can strike sites, and blogs. And it doesn’t spare social media space too. Also, it remains to be a bigger problem for emails. With that said, spam will often get in the way of your interactions with legit industries, or businesses that might bring better change to your brand, or life.
In general, all kinds of spam are only annoying on a personal level but that is far from the primary problem it involves. From a marketing angle, for instance, spam is especially troublesome in a way it interrupts your productive relationships with the companies of interest.
Luckily, there is a way to stop spam messages from clogging your mailbox, or interfering with your online life. And although others may only overlook it, and take it like spam will continue to be part of their everyday internet life—this certainly shouldn’t be the case.
Accordingly, once you have identified spam, and realised the situations whereby it can appear—it is possible to take reasonable measures, and or targeted steps to block it alone without blocking all your desired marketing email content.
Top Answers for Stopping and Mitigating Spam
1.__ Analyse and protect your backlinks.__ In case you are a target for a negative SEO spam attack, you can make use of the advanced browser protection tools to determine those who are trying to build links to your site. You can also check if you have lost any backlinks, recently.
Also, if convenience is a concern, use Google reCAPTCHA, or install Guardio to your browser, instead. Guardio is an advanced modern day age technology for your browser protection that doesn’t only keep the spam at bay—it also gets rid of all unwanted programs, or the virus, and ensures optimum security and best browser performance.
While you are already equipped with your new findings about the different forms that spam can actually take, it is only beneficial if you make use of proactive solutions such as honeypots, Google reCAPTCHA, and backlink protection to stop, or limit spam impacts on your routine online marketing campaigns.
Also, as spam disappears from your system, the turnout will be a stronger connection with legit businesses, and more trust from the real leads. Perhaps, if you were expecting to find a solid key solution to all these problems at your best convenience, will it kill you if you try Guardio that can prevent spam, and all other cybersecurity threats, quietly, from the background of your browser?
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