spam


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spam

Computing slang
unsolicited electronic mail or text messages

spam

[spam]
(computer science)
Unsolicited commercial e-mail.

spam

(messaging)
(From Hormel's Spiced Ham, via the Monty Python "Spam" song) To post irrelevant or inappropriate messages to one or more Usenet newsgroups, mailing lists, or other messaging system in deliberate or accidental violation of netiquette.

It is possible to spam a newsgroup with one well- (or ill-) planned message, e.g. asking "What do you think of abortion?" on soc.women. This can be done by cross-posting, e.g. any message which is crossposted to alt.rush-limbaugh and alt.politics.homosexuality will almost inevitably spam both groups. (Compare troll and flame bait).

Posting a message to a significant proportion of all newsgroups is a sure way to spam Usenet and become an object of almost universal hatred. Canter and Siegel spammed the net with their Green card post.

If you see an article which you think is a deliberate spam, DO NOT post a follow-up - doing so will only contribute to the general annoyance. Send a polite message to the poster by private e-mail and CC it to "postmaster" at the same address. Bear in mind that the posting's origin might have been forged or the apparent sender's account might have been used by someone else without his permission.

The word was coined as the winning entry in a 1937 competition to choose a name for Hormel Foods Corporation's "spiced meat" (now officially known as "SPAM luncheon meat"). Correspondant Bob White claims the modern use of the term predates Monty Python by at least ten years. He cites an editor for the Dallas Times Herald describing Public Relations as "throwing a can of spam into an electric fan just to see if any of it would stick to the unwary passersby."

Usenet newsgroup: news:news.admin.net-abuse.

See also netiquette.

spam

(2)
(A narrowing of sense 1, above) To indiscriminately send large amounts of unsolicited e-mail meant to promote a product or service. Spam in this sense is sort of like the electronic equivalent of junk mail sent to "Occupant".

In the 1990s, with the rise in commercial awareness of the net, there are actually scumbags who offer spamming as a "service" to companies wishing to advertise on the net. They do this by mailing to collections of e-mail addresses, Usenet news, or mailing lists. Such practises have caused outrage and aggressive reaction by many net users against the individuals concerned.

spam

(3)
(Apparently a generalisation of sense 2, above) To abuse any network service or tool by for promotional purposes.

"AltaVista is an index, not a promotional tool. Attempts to fill it with promotional material lower the value of the index for everyone. [...] We will disallow URL submissions from those who spam the index. In extreme cases, we will exclude all their pages from the index." -- Altavista.

spam

(jargon, programming)
To crash a program by overrunning a fixed-size buffer with excessively large input data.

See also buffer overflow, overrun screw, smash the stack.

spam

(chat, games)
(A narrowing of sense 1, above) To flood any chat forum or Internet game with purposefully annoying text or macros. Compare Scrolling.

spam

(1) See Web spam.

(2) E-mail that is not requested. Also called "junk e-mail," "gray mail," "unsolicited commercial e-mail" (UCE) and "unsolicited bulk e-mail" (UBE), the term is both a noun (the e-mail message) and a verb (to send it). Spam is mostly used to advertise products and sometimes to broadcast political or social commentary.

The term was supposedly coined from a Monty Python comedy sketch in the early 1970s, in which every meal in a restaurant contained SPAM, Hormel's processed meat (in England in World War II, SPAM was always available while other foods were rationed). Spam may also be an acronym for "sales promotional advertising mail" or "simultaneously posted advertising message."

A Social Plague
Like viruses, spam has become a scourge on the Internet as more than 200 billion unwanted messages are transmitted daily. Unfortunately, as an advertising medium, spam produces results (see below). In order to reduce spam for their customers, ISPs have added an enormous number of servers that do only filtering (see spam filter).

On January 1, 2004, the CAN-SPAM act became law in the U.S., which provides severe penalties for spammers, if they can be located (see CAN-SPAM). See image spam, SPIM, SPIT, mobile phone spam, form spam, mail bomb, Joe Job, SPF, letter bomb, spamdexing, Blacklist of Internet Advertisers, munging, RBL, ROKSO, MAPS, spam relay, spam trap, botnet, rogue site and opt-in.

Why Do They Do It?


Simple math. Suppose that out of 4,000 spam messages, one person buys something, and the spammer makes USD $1. If two million spams were sent that day, the spammer made $500, and the job took a half hour to set up. A few hours per week could yield $100,000 a year. Is that enough incentive for techie teenagers, or would they rather go back to their paper routes? Of course, consistent revenue is not guaranteed, but there is ample motivation.

Filters Create Even More Spam
As spam filtering becomes more sophisticated, spammers send even more spam to make the same profit, but e-mail address lists can be purchased for very little or hijacked. There is a thriving business selling lists to spammers as well as lists of compromised computers (see zombie). There are even spam service providers that will do all the work (gotta love that entrepreneurial spirit!).

Easy to Rationalize
Spammers justify their existence by citing the huge amount of physical junk mail sent via the postal system, wasting trees and other resources. They also claim advertisers have been polluting the environment with radio, TV, bus and billboard ads for decades. A slight point perhaps, but a weak one.

Nevertheless, a standard for authenticating e-mail could eliminate most spam. Unfortunately, that can take years to implement worldwide (see e-mail authentication).


From the Horse's Mouth
This book was written by a spammer, known only to readers as "Spammer-X." For insights into the minds of real people who spam for a living and how they do it, read "Inside the SPAM Cartel." (Syngress, 2004, ISBN 1-932266-86-0)
References in periodicals archive ?
The study also concluded that current levels of spam are undermining the integrity of e-mail and degrading the quality of online life.
To deal with the growing spam problem, businesses must find ways to block incoming spam in real time while making sure that legitimate e-mail is not hindered.
The Vendare Group, a Sherman Oaks-based online marketing firm, would not return phone calls seeking comment about the spam bill.
The chief reason people send spam is that it's incredibly cheap to do so.
Some of the recently proposed federal legislation includes the Anti-Spam Act of 2003, the Ban on Deceptive Unsolicited Bulk Electronic Mail Act of 2003, the Criminal Spam Act of 2003, and REDUCE Spam Act of 2003.
In early attempts to foil OCR engines, senders of image spam attempted to use animated GIF files to spread content across multiple frames.
During this SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) exchange, the receiving server employs filtering rules to stop spam before it is received into the organization's mail system.
Although Spam shares the same status as fruit cake when it comes to fodder for jokes, it is ``still the No.
Worldwide, people enjoy celebrating SPAM as much as they enjoy eating it.
Almost every spam e-mail message uses e-mail spoofing.
They take their food so seriously,'' said Maria Hagman, a Spam eater for 37 years.