What is spam?

Spam is junk mail that comes into your inbox. It's annoying at best and a security risk at its very worst. Most spam is harmeless but irritating. However, there are cybercriminals that attempt to break into you personal data through innocent looking marketing emails. Spammers, people who send spam, can send massive amounts of junk/bulk email to large numbers of people. They do this in hopes that the recipients will click on the links (or attachments) in the emails.

When people click on to an email, they're sent to the spammers' phishing or malware websites -- where they're tricked into providing personal information, activating a virus or downloading malicious software.

Useful things to know:

  • Spammers collect email addresses from chatrooms, websites, customer lists, newsgroups and email viruses, which harvest users' address books. These addresses are then sold to other spammers. 

  • They use "email appending" or "epending" to gather additional data about their targets. They start with what they know -- like a postal address -- and use it to find the person's email address. 

  • A lot of spam is sent to invalid email addresses. 

  • Spam makes up the majority of all email sent.
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