Spam: The Digital Plague

Spam, the digital plague
183 million spam messages are sent worldwide on a daily basis. Spamming can be a lucrative business that saturates email accounts and can transmit malware and viruses to your computer or mobile device.

It is estimated that worldwide, the damage caused by spam reaches in excess of $12 billion dollars. Anti spam activists such as the Spamhause Project or Google, fight against this plague.

Spammers usually operate with nonexistent companies to buy IP addresses and use outside servers. Unfortunately, 4 out of 5 spam messages advertise suspicious online businesses. For example, the so-called Nigerian scam is designed to make you think that you can get millions of dollars but only if you send a sum of money in advanced.

Other spam messages contain files that infect your computer or mobile device that allow hackers to control and access them remotely. Anti spam organizations maintain spam lists, which are used to block suspicious senders and report them to the police.

This digital plague is not something exclusive to Russia and Nigeria, as it is generally thought. In fact, industrialized countries such as Germany and Japan are in the top 10 lists, with the US in the first place.

 10 Worst Spam Countries

Image: The Spamhaus Project


In many countries, spam is difficult to control due to legislation and also because it is difficult to verify that a person did not give consent to receive such messages. Once the spammers are identified, anti spam activists report their information to the police in order to assist in putting a stop to it.

Despite the efforts of organizations such as Spamhaus or the police, the battle against spam is far from over. Spammers are constantly evolving and changing their methods until eventually this junk email will be more methodical, unrecognizable, and better integrated into the daily life.

The amount of spam is not expected to reduce, however anti-spam organizations have a clear objective: to prevent spam from reaching our inbox.

Spam is digital trash and as such it should be sent to the recycle bin unopened. Do not click on any links from spam emails and always protect your mobile devices against malware and other threats with antivirus solutions such as MyAntiTheft.

A brief history of hacking

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster” -Sun Tzu-

In a digital world enemies are changing and updating. Hence, it’s good to know a short history of who they are to be aware of their threat.

1969, Phone Freaking: By blowing a toy whistle into a phone receiver, John Draper illegally accessed the phone network and made free calls. “Phreaking” portmanteau of the words phone and freak affected many people such as Steve Jobs.

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1985, KGB-Hack: During the cold war, German hackers infiltrated the Pentagon and other US military computers in order to sell confidential US information to the Russian secret service.

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1992, Michelangelo Madness: This virus caused hysteria after media reported that it would delete data from millions of infected computers on March 6th, the birthday of the Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo. Computer users connected to the Internet bought large quantities of anti-virus software but in spite of all the madness, the virus caused little damage affecting only a few thousands computers.

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1999, Email Virus: By sending billions of emails the Melissa virus overloaded the Internet with data. To prevent the worm, email providers like Microsoft shut down losing approximately 80 million dollars.

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2007, Hack attack in Estonia: Estonian Internet was swamped and sabotaged in a series of cyber attacks against government organizations, banks and the general public. This cyber-warfare distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS), creating cyber-armies or botnets to send coordinated crash-inducing attacks to targeted Web servers.

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2010, Cyber-warfare: The Stuxnet virus severely weakened the Iranian nuclear program by destroying more than a thousand uranium centrifuges. The US Government is suspect of creating and spreading the virus.

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2013, Big Coup: Globally networking criminals manipulated data of credit cards and withdrew 45 millions dollars at ATMs around the world. The criminals, responsible for this cyber-robbery are still free.

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Hacking is about finding security weakness in networks. Worms and viruses are widely spread nowadays and it’s better to protect your mobile devices with the best, Android Security Suite.