XP antivirus 2011

XP Anti-Virus 2011 or also known as Vista Anti-virus 2011 and Win 7 Anti-virus 2011 is a rogue program that will be installed on multiple operating system.

XP Antivirus

What's new in Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread?

Part of the fun of owning an Android phone is receiving the updates -- you never know what new treats will arrive when one appears on your phone, like Santa coming down the chimney on Christmas Eve


Lenovo ThinkPad X1

Slimmer than Kate Moss after a month on the Slender diet is Lenovo’s gorgeous ThinkPad X1 laptop, details of which have just shimmied on to the InterWebs

Lenovo Thinkpad

Evolution of Cell Phone

Cell phones have evolved immensely since 1983, both in design and function

Evolution of Cell Phone

Samsung Galaxy S2 Review

The Samsung Galaxy S2 brings the Power of Love Samsung's history in the smartphone game has been pretty quiet – a few budget offerings, some false starts with Windows Mobile and the popular Galaxy S is pretty much it

Samsung Galaxy S2 Review

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spam: Why they send it

2 million emails are sent every second by approximately 1.1 billion email users worldwide. One of them being... YOU...
About one in every six persons on earth use email. 171 billion email messages are sent every day, about 70% to 72% (or between 120 and 123 billion) of them are spam and viruses (Forrester). What is spam? Why do people send spam?
Spam is the abuse of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast mediums, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media (Source: Wikipedia):
Spam is the electronic equivalent of junk mail received by post each day. People send Spam to sell products, services and very often promoting email scams.  Spam can be ideological too, most of it is intended to draw traffic to web sites or to sell money making schemes.  Unlike junk mail in your physical mailbox, Spam does not decrease if it is unsuccessful.  A Marketing Campaign is expensive, it targets potential customers by age, gender, social class etc and without a proper commercial response will be re-targeted to try a different sales pitch.  Spam on the other hand can be entirely unsuccessful, because it is virtually free and easy to setup.
Spamming remains economically viable because advertisers have no operating costs beyond the management of their mailing lists, mailing lists can be purchased over the internet. The cost of sending an email is so low that a handful of spammers can saturate the Internet with junk mail. Although only a tiny percentage of their targets will purchase their products (or fall victim to their scams), the low cost is sufficient to make SPAM a profitable business.
Furthermore, even though spam appears not to be economically viable as a way for a reputable company to do business, it suffices for professional spammers to convince a tiny proportion of gullible advertisers that it is viable for those spammers to stay in business.
Finally, new spammers go into business every day, and the low costs allow a single spammer to do a lot of harm before finally realizing that the business is not profitable.
Amateur-Spammers (term coined by Fix-I.T. Engineers) will hijack a distribution list, from an email previously sent with recipients in copy. Effectively, when sending an email to more than one correspondent, who do not know each other, we should always copy in BCC (Blind Carbon Copy). When this basic rule of "Netiquette" is not respected, email addresses are potentially given away to "Amateur-Spammers".
Mailing lists are obtained via many different techniques. Brute force dictionary attack is one way to get to your mailbox. For example a spammer may try sending messages to aoife@example.com, bernard@example.com, charlie@example.com, etc where example is your domain name, like gmail.com or eircom.net. Any addresses to which messages are delivered, as opposed to being bounced back, can be added to the spammer's list of known-valid addresses. We always recommend an email address using a name dot surname format, like joe.blog@aol.com instead of the traditional joe@aol.com.
The most widely spread technique is harvesting. An industry of e-mail address harvesting is dedicated to collecting email addresses and selling compiled databases. Some of these address harvesting approaches rely on users not reading the fine print of agreements, resulting in their address to populate a compiled database, for sale on the net. This is a common approach in social networking spam such as that generated by social networking sites for example. Website advertising your email address in plain text is just as damaging, because without your permission you are giving your email address away to be harvested by spammers (and scammers). Forms can easily be implemented, "sorry we did not know isn't good enough". At Fix-I.T. we have re-engineered websites in the past couple of years to address such issues. Lately a professional networking website advertised a Fix-I.T. email address by mistake. We are very aware of the risks behind spam and some engineers are very reluctant in posting their email address in any place, or even giving it over the phone. We'd often use a temporary Fix-I.T. email account when registering on a website, as there is no way to be certain once you have booked a ticket online, posted an ad, that your email address will remain safe. In the case of this one email address being posted once on a professional networking website (that we would prefer not to name before they get a chance to address the issue), the response was immediate. From the moment this email address was harvested a regular flow of 30 to 40 plus mail spam each day would flow into the targeted mailbox. This is until the list is sold to another spammer and then the flow will increase. This email address, designed not to respond to brute force dictionary attack, is now irremediably corrupted.
Risks are multiple, as people receive more and more emails they tend to be flooded by information. One recipient will disregard an important email whereas another will open a harmful email. Hiding a virus becomes as easy as hiding a needle in a stack of hay!
Let's not be too alarmist but it is important to understand the issue behind publishing the email address of a person on the net. A growing number of criminals are also using spam to perpetrate various sorts of fraud (Scam), and in some cases have used it to lure people to locations where they have been kidnapped, held for ransom, and even murdered (George Makronalli Case 2004).
Increasingly, e-mail spam today is sent via "zombie networks", networks of virus- or worm-infected personal computers in homes and offices around the globe; many modern worms install a backdoor on YOUR computer which allows the spammer access to the computer and use it for malicious purposes. This complicates attempts to control the spread of spam, as in many cases the spam doesn't even originate from the spammer. There is rarely a week without a Fix-I.T. Engineer being called on such a case. We occasionally have to wipe off the machine to get rid of a backdoor.
So, in a short : be aware, do not publish your address... or addesses you've been trusted with! Question the fact a website is advertising your email address publicly. If in doubt talk to your usual I.T. expert. If you do not know anybody with sufficient skills, we are here to help too. Remember too that antispam filters aren't the ONLY solution, common sense and a bit of knowledge can help because you will pay the bill in the end... And if you add up the time spent reviewing what is in the spam box, the antispam filter cost, the damage caused by emails lost in the queue, etc, etc... You will probably agree with me this bill is a little bit expensive...

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