Spam refers to electronic messages transmitted to randomly selected recipients who have not requested such communication. Such messages are usually large in size, unrelated and improperly sent to recipients. The most common form of spam is email spam, but there are other types which extend to the web (discussion boards, social networking and blogging sites), instant messaging inclusive of file sharing, mobile phone networks and fax transmissions.
Spamming is difficult to manage because there is no sufficient control to prevent persons from engaging in the practice. So in order to control the epidemic the internet public and the Internet Services Providers have to develop strategies to ensure protection from exposure caused by spam.
Email spam which is the most familiar type of spam results in bulk email, usually advertising services and sites, being sent to recipients not associated with such services. Generally, spam of this type has grown in the years since the internet has become fully accessible to persons. Currently up to 85% of emails sent via the World Wide Web can be classified as email spam.
It has also proved difficult to legislatively address the issue. In some arenas it has been possible to make the practice an offence but unfortunately this success is limited. Spammers, those propagate spam, use this to their advantage and usually intensify operations in places where it is not an offence.
Over time the sending of spam has involved the transmission of viruses to private and work personal computers. Some spam also enables remote access to computers via a backdoor which results in identification and information theft. The increasing diversity of spam has negatively influenced the ability to manage the problem. Complicating the problem is that spammers have become organized in their activities exchanging strategies and knowledge.
Implicit also in the spread of spam has been the collection and sale of email addresses. Users of the internet are also victims of agreeing to condone the practice when they accept terms and conditions to send emails to persons on their contact list. This is usually masked in the request for authority by a site to send newsletters and other such advertising information to contacts. This is especially common with social networking sites.
All types of spam in recent times have one common feature to advertise some service. However this was not always the case, spam in earlier times promoted religious and political messages. Spam has diversified itself to become a means for criminal activities. The biggest of this is fraud and there have been reported situations where spam has been used to dupe persons into going to secluded locations which make them vulnerable to being murdered or kidnapped.
It is suggested that to limit your exposure to spam, you ensure the credibility of your email contacts. With the advent of technology many mail sites offer the facility to identify and categorize spam in a separate folder (Junk Email) for handling. They also offer advice on how to avoid receiving email spam.