Spam is an unsolicited e-mail that usually has a commercial background and is sent without distinction to numerous destination lists, newsgroups, or individuals. Nowadays this issue is widespread and annoys a lot of people. Most spam messages are different advertisements usually sent to present get-rich-quick schemes, doubtful goods, or quasi-legitimate facilities. Spam is not expensive for the sender because most part of the price is paid by the receiver or the courier. Moreover, spam has a lot of disadvantages, though some people do not guess about it (Spam). This paper will investigate the disadvantages of spam, its legality, and methods of prevention.
Spam is harmful because it resets the value of advertising to the receivers. Moreover, it resembles junk unsolicited faxes. It may also be compared with an unwelcomed paid call on an individuals telephone. The main targets of spam are individual users, and spam is usually sent via special robots, which get email addresses from different databases on the Internet (What Can I Do to Avoid Receiving Spam Email, 2013). It is possible to list the main disadvantages of spam emails:
1. The free travel. Email spam or advertising is unequivocal as the receiver acquits much more for the service than the sender does.
2. The increase of a spam problem. A lot of spam emails ask people to reply to the message if he/she wants to delete his or her email address from the list. Moreover, it becomes totally unfeasible to unsubscribe from the spam emails while ignoring the problem of removing oneself from the spamming list. Today, most of people get several of spam messages per day (Lee, Kim, & Park, 2011).
3. All spam emails comprise some kind of garbage. The most part of them advertise items that are useless, deceitful, and entirely or partly hilarious. Usually, these are off-brand computer parts, spam software, get-rich-schemes, pornography, and other similar items. All the spam emails are corrupt and they are not worth locating their advertisements in any other medium where it in necessary to pay for them. Thus, as the price for spamming is little, there is no sense in locating the advertisements somewhere else when it is possible to send the messages to people in such a cheap way (Tassabehji, 2005).
4. The stealing of resources and information. A large quantity of spam issues via emails forced most of mail systems to place special services to protect the system from spam. Spam fills the temporary systems' disks and networks with useless information, makes managers waste their time to deal with all the undelivered mails with advertising, or intends to influence receivers choices.
5. It can be illicit. In some countries, certain types of spam are illicit on the Internet; in particular, these are the ones that propagate pornography. Thus, storage of this material may be enough to imprison the addressee. In the United States, one of the most complex issues is child pornography and one should be careful when getting such spam emails.
6. It can be swindling. Spam software usually arrives with names of persons who mistakenly appeared to be individuals who had mentioned that they want to get advertisements, but actually they are victims chosen from mailing lists. Antispam software is said to work within a provider's system and it breaks the system; however, nowadays it become harder for the provider to determine what the spammer is doing. Spammers often say that they will delete names and data on demand; however, they never do that, indeed. In fact, individuals claiming that when they mailed a remove letter from a new account, they often started to get spam messages at that address (Tassabehji, 2005).
7. Viruses. Computer viruses are one of the most dangerous disadvantages of spam. Today, it is possible to determine the dozens of viruses; some of them are very dangerous and can destroy all data on ones computers.
The U. S. federal government approved an anti-spam law in 2003 named as CAN Spam Act. The CAN Spam Act demands that unsolicited advertising emails, which are determined as such, should be prohibited, whereas users can protect themselves from such messages. Moreover, the Federal Trade Commission has to investigate the ability of an antispam registry to be alike with the do-not-call list. While many spam emails are irritating, only some of them appertain to the illegal rank. However, if a letter does not refer to state or federal antispam acts, it also has to be considered with wariness. Emails can comprise different kinds of advertisements which violate state law, which is insulting or unallowable for watching by children. Surfing through websites pointed in spam emails can also expose users of the Internet to different computer viruses (U.S. State Anti-Spam Laws).
Another irritating issue for many web users is unsolicited pop-up spam that arises on computer screens while using the Internet. Although pop-up advertising can be as irritating as unwanted letters, they are not illicit and are not included in Washington anti-spam acts. Nevertheless, there are always steps that can help one to preclude unwanted pop-up spam (Mailing Lists -vs- Spam Lists).
Moreover, there are some court cases under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. The first person who was sent to jail under the CAN-SPAM Act in 2004 was 18 year old Anthony Greco from Cheektowaga, New York. After he was found guilty, Greco was condemned in a closed session to imprisonment (Roberts, 2005). Another person, Nicholas Tombros, was found guilty as a spammer to be condemned under the CAN-SPAM Washington Act of 2003. Tombros was sentenced in July, 2007 to 3 years of probationary period, 6 months of house detention, and fined $10,000 (Gaudin, 2007).
Today, there are a lot of different programs that can help people to protect themselves from spam. First of all, users must be sure in the received letter, and it is better not to open it, but delete it not regretting about it in the future. Users always have to be careful when indicating their emails because spam programs usually copy these addresses from some databases. Moreover, different email services have special applications that catch letters with spam and place them into a special file (Spam Emails).
Moreover, there are various virus detection programs which have a lot of different functions. For example, some of them filter spam and all catching viruses that can be in spam emails. In addition, there are a lot of methods used in antivirus programs. The scheme based in an antivirus application employs the searching approach of some common samples of computer data that is placed in programs. The antivirus applications are efficient against various viruses whose codes are known. To detect the virus, the antivirus always has to be updated. Moreover, antivirus programs have some restraints or disadvantages as they can provoke the breakdown of the computer system. Nevertheless, there are three main kinds of detection types which are usually utilized to trace the probable dangers to the system. These types are heuristic based, signature based, and file emulation approach of detection (How Anti-Virus Software Works).
In conclusion, it is necessary to state that spam and advertisement messages are realities of the modern world. Some types of spam are illegal, however, a lot of people do not even understand that they violate the law. Spam has a lot of disadvantages that can bring serious harm to receivers computers, which is the reason why people have to be careful with it. Finally, spam is the source of dangerous viruses, so it is significant to have special antispam software.