What Is the Meaning of Spam

The modern meaning of spam is unsolicited commercial e-mails sent to thousands of users simultaneously. The term is a reference to a Monty Python sketch where a customer is told over and over again about SPAM items on the menu. In pre-Internet days of network chat, users would jokingly or maliciously fill another person's screen with the word "spam" over and over again. The spam meaning in those days was any form of redundant, unwanted text, particularly blocks of text. The definition of spam mail evolved from these pre-Internet pranks.

What is the Meaning of Spam Email?
Most spam is commercial advertising, but some hides scams, viruses and adware. Often spam e-mails provide a link to a Web site pretending to be a legitimate site, such as PayPal or a bank. When the link in the e-mail is clicked, it leads the reader to a site that is a carbon copy of the legitimate site. The user enters his or her information, and the owner of the fake site now has the reader's user ID and password.

Spam e-mails may contain anything from harmless, unwanted commercial advertising to e-mails used for scamming people.

  • Advance Fee Fraud Spam: These e-mails contain claims that the recipient has won a lottery or needs to help a banker, typically in a third-world country, settle an account. In both cases, the recipient needs to pay up-front fees to collect the money. Known as Nigerian 419 scams for their origin and the section of the Nigerian criminal code they violate, these scams can cost an unwary person tens of thousands of dollars.
  • What is the Meaning of Spam Fishing? These are fraudulent e-mails that allegedly originate from a bank or online payment service. They usually include dire warnings of imminent account suspension or possible fraudulent activity. The recipient is asked to click on a link, which looks like a legitimate site but is simply a copy designed to capture personal information.
  • Image Spam: Instead of text, these messages are created and saved as a .jpg or .gif files. The image file gets around text-based spam filters. This type of spam is commonly used to advertise "pump and dump" stocks or fraudulent online pharmacies.
  • Blank Spam: These messages come through empty; the body of the email is usually missing, and sometimes the subject is missing. Even though there is no message in the e-mail, it is still considered spam, as it is sent out in bulk to people who do not want it. The spammer uses this technique to determine which e-mail addresses in a database are still valid. Blank spam may also have a worm, such as the VBS.Davinia.B e-mail worm that uses HTML code to download other files onto an unsuspecting person's computer.

Spammers usually use fraudulent names and e-mail addresses when sending out their messages. Their contact information may also be fraudulent. Spam email should never be opened. If you do open it by mistake, do not click on the links contained within the message.

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