Spam

Cyber technology has introduced new and unique ethical issues that couldn’t have existed before computers. Human error plays a great role in how cyber threats become a reality. One bad move causes an exponential trigger.

For big companies, an attack on one computer could spread resulting in an overload on the network with a DoS(Denial of service) attack disabling the OS and significantly affecting the systems operability.

The effects vary from an increase of outgoing messages to a complete network breakdown or loss of critical data. If data is stolen as the result of a targeted attack on a specific individual/company the damage can be tremendous, particularly if the data belonged to a company or even the state – client databases, financial and technical documentation or even banking details can end up in the wrong hands – the possibilities are endless.

_ _“In January 2003 the Slammer worm caused a geographically-rotating Internet blackout across the USA, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. As a result of the uncontrolled prevalence of the worm, network traffic increased by 25%, leading to serious problems with banking operations for the Bank of America”

An account of mine was compromised early this week. One moment I was using an application, the next moment the gods of spam had invaded my account at 3am and made a mess.

While doing damage control, I had to explain to many people that the link they followed was spam. What is spam? They asked. My explaining of why they had to change their passwords and how someone out there got a hold of it without them giving it away or ever having met them was miserable. Users have not taken the effort to educate themselves on how to handle these situations.

We as users easily give away our information without being aware of how relevant it could be to someone who is looking for something. Having your e-mail address available on a public platform leaves the hacker with only a password to figure out

Using public computers at libraries, electronics stores or internet cafes significantly increases the risk of being a victim. Simply forgetting to log out could give the next user full control of all accounts you have logged into on that machine.

There are ways to mitigate the risks involved with net surfing: Never have the same password for all your accounts. Install the latest anti-viruses. Have separate e-mail addresses for personal use and for registering on sites, newsletters, online shopping etc. Make your password strong. The reasoning behind the ”8 character, 1 upper case, 1 lower case, 1 special character” password is because of hackers throwing combinations of passwords at your account and the combination grouping makes in THAT much harder.

You can’t trust all links on websites, social media and web catalogues. Which ones to trust and which not to? Unfortunately, this is a question that will only be answered after you’ve clicked it.53% of email users say spam has made them less trusting of email, compared to 62% a year ago. Many have said that spam has made their use of the internet unpleasant.

Sites vary, with some you have to put some information in, with others one click makes you and your list of contacts victims. There are available platforms to report spam although the reality is that most of us just look at it, give a big sigh and carry on with life. These platforms and organisations fight towards making spam illegal. There have been talks of anti-spam laws that should come soon but with IT being such a fluid environment, it is difficult for the law to keep up.

What to do when you receive spam? Try to inform the people who could be targeted by the spam. Proceed to delete it and the cure to it would be simply logging in and changing your password. In extreme cases it might result in having to deactivate the account entirely.

The titles of the links are always deceivingly luring. Means of spreading spam include e-mails, pop-ups, advertisements or even a poser just asking for information. E-mail gives you the option to filter out or completely delete spam.

When you are spammed, you will know. Your contacts will tell you about the messages that “you” are flooding them with. In some situations you are no longer able to log into your account or once logged in, you will find that your settings have been changed or the account has been blocked. Your level of pain may fall anywhere between minor annoyance to personal and financial meltdown.

Spam has stayed around for so long because the process can easily be automated to save time. We could almost say that spam is self-regulating because of it being facilitated by user behavior. It hasn’t gone away because it works, and very well at that. One of the things that are a negative effect of the efficiency of IT. The reasons folks spam is possibly to advertise a website, product, or service, to get back links to their site, to collect e-mail addresses (phishing) and to also to spread viruses.

Be careful where you tread. The internet was designed to be redundant, not secure.