spam

http://twitter.com/#!/warriet

Computer (mostly applicable to windozers but anyone can be caught by a phishing expedition) health warning, don’t click on any of these spam (also known as spam or even spam) illustrations unless you are sure that your computer knows what it’s doing, some of these messages might be carrying nasties that I have not detected and neutralised, even if there is no malicious payload, some of them might be particularly subtle phishing trips, The major e-mail providers such as Gmail. Hotmail and Yahoo are generally pretty good at spam identification and deletion and the significant client programmes such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora and Thunderbird can be ‘taught’ what is spam and rejected accordingly. One big caveat though, the anti-spam/virus/trojan business is reactive i.e. it publishes update to deal with a new threat or something like it – the vulnerability comes whenever some clever person somewhere in the world devises a malicious algorithm that evades detection and for good measure disables any protection software it encounters. There are plenty of histories of the use of the word spam, Brad Templeton has researched it well, I am inclined towards the Monty Python provenance. If I can be bothered, I’ll use a spare confuser to do nothing but spam that link at every originator of spam/scam/junk it receives. Could also be used to track and deal with Dorries and Rees-Mogg inanities but probably not since they have already exposed their capabilities to Central Office and the general public.

Health warning over, let’s have some fun and see what’s in the Googlemail spam folder…

Boring! There is nothing remarkable or comment worthy below; just serves an illustration of Googlemail’s efficacy. Unlike some of the e-mail providers, Googlemail makes visible and accessible the stuff it has treated as spam – mostly they are showing off but occasionally a genuine e-mail gets treated as spam, usually because it has a potentially dodgy attachment. The most aggravating are those e-mails where the attachment has been stripped by the sender’s SMTP server resulting in “Yes I did, No you didn’t“ (send that to me) telephone rows. As well as the usual Viagra and penis enlargement, the basic theme of the junk is to offer something for nothing. To quote the old saw “if something sounds too good to be true then it probably isn’t (true). What surprises me is that people are taken in by this stuff, why are people susceptible to computer based frauds when ordinarily they would not be taken in for a moment? Not strictly spam but there is a telephone based fraud doing the rounds at the moment. A caller informs you that there your computer is severely infected by a virus, offers to fix the problem and extracts from the gullible payment via credit or debit card. The techno-babble in the script is quite clever and if you don’t know better, you end up believing what the caller is telling you. There are a few ways of dealing with such callers, the first is to register with the Telephone Preference Service which will stock you receiving calls from UK based callers but cannot block off-shore originated calls, putting the phone down works but should you feel like some mild entertainment, string the caller along for a while until you get bored and ask them for their name and number. Googling the words used to identify the scam then reading back the search results verbatim tends to make them go away quickly. Why string them along at all? All the time you spend is time the caller is not using on the next targeted victim.

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