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What is spam and how to deal with spammers on the Internet


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Spam has become an integral part of the lives of people who actively use the Internet. Of course, spam is pretty easy to remove, but accidentally clicking on a link in spam can lead to a virus infection and identity theft. Fight spam by blocking it and preventing future spam.

What is meant by SPAM

Itself word spam comes from the name of canned meat, which was fiercely advertised after the end of the Second World War (obviously, it was urgent to sell sold-out meat rations).

Advertising was so aggressive, comprehensive and ubiquitous that with the advent of the Internet this word (and the “sediment” associated with it) was remembered, but already about the obsessive advertising that appeared along with it in conferences (then in the fidonet, if anyone remembers).

The word has taken root, especially since the obsessive advertising did not become less, but rather the opposite. When email gained popularity, unauthorized mass advertising and malicious mailing of emails became commonplace. Such mailings were beneficial for spammers, because without any special expenses the necessary information was brought to a large number of people.

But email is not limited to. They spam in personal social networks, on forums, in instant messengers, on message boards, in blog comments, even in Wikipedia, they spam, because this encyclopedia is open for editing and adding text by everyone. They also spam on your phone, for example, by advertising calls or by sending advertising SMS messages.

Spam can be found everywhere (including offline) and this generally means mass mailing advertising, or some other messages to people without their consent.

How to beat spam

Surely you will receive similar emails. And bloggers get spam comments.

They are sent, as a rule, automatically using special programs and services. Manual spam is much less common.

The first thing you can do is enable comment moderation. Of course, this will not save the author of the blog, you will have to check all the comments and delete manually. But at least your readers will be protected from such comments.

By the way, if you use the widget for comments on Vkontakte or Facebook, then you should regularly check the comments, since there is a lot of spam among them.

A more reliable way of protection are special plugins. There are many of them. But I would recommend using plugins that do not require captcha input.

Protecting a blog is, of course, good. But you should not forget about convenience for users. After all, the blog you create is for your readers.

I will share my experience using plugins. Like many, first I used Akismet. But, firstly, without special knowledge it is not so easy to configure.

Necessarily necessary instruction. Secondly, he sends some normal comments to spam anyway.

Therefore, I began to look for alternatives. I used Antispam Bee for some time. A good plugin, but like Akismet, it sent good comments to spam. So I continued searching and installed Invisible Captcha.

The plugin does an excellent job of its function and accurately separates normal comments from spam.

In addition to it, I also installed the plugin Approve only russian comments. Since the day came up to 50 foreign comments. After installing the plugin, this problem was fixed.

For a long time I have successfully used these 2 plugins. But Invisible Captcha has one small but significant flaw. It has not been updated for 2 years. And such plugins are a vulnerability for the site. Through them, your resource can be easily hacked.

Therefore, I had to continue the search for options. And I got lucky. I found a way to completely get rid of spam. And not with a plugin, but with a little code. It was invented by Sergey Zaitsev. His wife has a health blog. And Sergey is responsible for the technical part.

Code Protection

Various scripts use the input field with the comment identifier to send spam comments. The idea is to create a new field with a different identifier, and make the first invisible.

A regular user will enter a comment in a new field and he will be successfully published. And the script will enter a comment in the first field. And will be recognized as a spammer. As a result, he will not be able to post his comment.

The advantage of this method is that you do not receive spam comments. And do not waste time removing them.

To set up protection, you need to find the following line in the comments.php file:

Copy it and paste it again into comment.php immediately after the first.

Next to the first line you add an attribute to make the field invisible.

And in the second line, change the comment identifier to any other:

Remember to save the changes. And now it remains to insert a small code into the functions.php file:

I inserted it at the very end before the tag?> Var13 ->. As a new identifier, I used, like Sergei, newcomment. If you will use another, then do not forget to replace mtu jb in the functions.php file

If you use the Qip Smiles plugin, it will also need to be slightly adjusted for normal operation. You can read about it at the very [link] author [/ link] of this method.

P.S. This method does not work with WordPress 4.4

Thus, I reduced the number of plugins used by 2. Refused Invisible Captcha and Approve only Russian comments. She also reliably protected her blog from spam.

And in conclusion, I just had to summarize the results of the September contest of commentators:

1st place - Yuri Yosifovich. Yuri has a well-developed intuition, he joined in commenting at the right time and became the author of the 5000th comment. For this he receives an additional 200 rubles.

2nd place - Ivan Zelinsky

3rd place - Zindows

Congratulations and thank you for your activity. And remember that everyone can be in the top.

Where on the Internet you can meet him

  1. Email - It's just a Klondike for spammers. With the help of mass mailings you can sell anything, you can cheat and rob, you can infect computers and send worms. Databases for mass mailings are collected on their own (using programs), or bought from those who do this professionally.
  2. Forums, comments blogs, wikis and bulletin boards - here, in fact, everyone is allowed to leave messages and it is difficult for spammers to resist so as not to spam. This is not always advertising - often in this way webmasters try to get a free link to their site so that it is higher in the search results of Yandex or Google for various requests. This brings them traffic and money.
  3. Social networks and dating sites - spam is very common among incoming private messages. It is also available in the comments to posts.
  4. Messengers (such as ICQ) are also subject to this scourge.
  5. SMS-Messages from unknown to you people of advertising nature. Probably everyone knows.
  6. Search spam - A rather specific thing, but familiar to everyone. Did you have such a thing that you enter a request in Yandex (Google), and in the answers you will find sites with some kind of biliberda that have nothing to do with the matter. These are the so-called doorways (sites with automatically generated useless texts). They spam search engine results, but they earn visitors by visiting them (in different ways).

Those. all letters in your mailbox (or forum posts, blog comments, PM messages) of advertising or other nature from an sender unknown to you - this is spam. True, the mailings you subscribed to can also be annoying, but you can still unsubscribe from them (refuse to receive them further).

Spam itself annoys and interferes, because it clutters where it appears. Most often this is your mailbox, and it can be very difficult to separate the grain from the chaff when too many unwanted messages arrive. But spam can also pose a real danger to both you and your computer. Let's deal with this.

We understand the varieties of spam (harmless and dangerous)

Now and further I will mainly talk about spam emails, because it is this channel that is considered especially susceptible to this phenomenon. Everything else is not so started and not so actively used by spammers, and this does not apply to all network users. But almost everyone has emails and the problem of protecting them from unwanted messages is acute.

Varieties of harmless spam

  1. Advertising legal goods and services - in this case, the business owner simply chose spam mailings as one of the channels for attracting customers and buyers, because it is not expensive, quickly and brings results. Naturally, he does not really think about the moral (or rather immoral) side of this matter.
  2. Prohibited Advertising - there are goods and services that are prohibited by law from advertising, and for them spam mailings can be the main channel for attracting customers. By the way, spammers advertise their services also through mass mailings, because this activity is prohibited by law. This also includes advertising defaming competitors, because it is also forbidden to do so under the law (praise yourself, but do not scold others).
  3. Impact on Public Opinion - Very often spam becomes a good choice for those who are trying to manipulate public opinion in the right direction. It can be politics, as well as commerce. Letters in general can be sent ostensibly from some person in order to compromise him, change his opinion about him or use his authority for profit. But personally, this is not a danger to you.
  4. Letters that are asked to be forwarded to others - these may be varieties of the so-called "letters of happiness" (send it to 10 friends and you will be happy), or asking to send information to friends for another reason. Often, such emails are used by spammers to collect or replenish an existing Emailov database for subsequent mass mailings.

High-risk spam - what could it be

If ordinary (harmless) spam can only slightly affect your peace of mind and mental health, then the following examples can be very dangerous for your wallet or computer. And this is not a joke.

I myself (the one who teaches and teaches everyone) a couple of years ago I “bought” a letter of this kind (phishing) and parted with several thousand rubles (read “How Yandex Money was Stolen from Me”). I just wound up and did everything “on the machine” if only they had lagged behind, well, and when I realized it, it was too late.

So, spam emails that can cause significant harm:

  1. Phishing - A very effective method of deceiving not only gullible, but just busy or inattentive people (there’s a hook for anyone). A letter is sent to you supposedly from your bank, electronic money service or from somewhere else. In this letter, you are necessarily bewildered by something (unsettled) and asked to log in to the site to solve the problem. You will log in, but the site will be fake (although it looks like a real one like two drops) and the data you provide immediately is used to steal all your money.
  2. Nigerian letters - you will find out that you can get a large amount of money (the pretexts are different - from an unexpected inheritance to helping the prince in exile). You do not believe for a long time, but they convince you. When you believe it, you will be asked to transfer some money to “related expenses”. You translate and nobody else will bother you anymore.
  3. Viruses, worms, trojans - the letter may contain an attached file with a malicious program (or a link leading to a site with a virus). She can immediately cause problems with the computer or sit quietly in the corner and will carefully record all your passwords, logins and other useful things in the household. Worms, among other things, also know how to send themselves to your friends at the addresses found in your Email contacts (as they will later be you.).

Where do spammers get databases with email addresses?

  1. Spammers (those who make bulk mailings) collect email addresses from all available sources. These can be forums, guest books, chats, social networks and other sites where postal addresses can be in the public domain.
  2. Hackers manage to get to some address databases stored on sites.
  3. Emailov’s collection is carried out in most cases by a software method (using search bots - harvesters) and this does not require special efforts (only time and then not very much). Moreover, similar spamming databases it’s possible not to collect, but to buy them from those who specialize in this business (such an outsourcing).
  4. Billions of mail addresses are registered all over the world, and therefore you can simply try to generate emails using special programs using the appropriate dictionaries. With a high degree of probability, many of them will actually exist. Read about how spammers verify the reality of addresses below.
  5. There are special worms (viruses) that can send themselves by the database of addresses found on the victim’s computer. The base thus assembled will already be cleared of non-working mailboxes.

How do spammers clean databases from inactive email addresses?

Those who collect the base of addresses, in fact, do not care who owns this or that address - they send letters to everyone, because anyway there is someone who will respond to them (what’s called - they hit the area).

But nevertheless, to optimize costs and increase the return on newsletters, it is beneficial for them to clear the bases of non-existent addresses. How do they do it? Let's get a look.

  1. The simplest thing is to place a picture in the letter (maybe even not visible - one pixel in size), which will be loaded from the site belonging to the spammer when the user opens the letter. If the picture is uploaded, it means the letter was opened and the email is valid.
  2. Many email clients (programs for working with e-mail) automatically send a message about reading the letter, which again is in the hands of spammers.
  3. The letter may contain a link urging you to go somewhere, promising golden mountains. Passed - consider that your Email will now be marked as suitable. The most unpleasant thing is that such a link can be disguised as an unsubscribe button, which in fact will lead to the opposite effect.

How to reduce the likelihood of your email being spammed?

In general, as soon as your mailbox is "confirmed", spammers from you just do not get off. It is important to understand that no one is safe from spam. But you can significantly reduce the likelihood of getting into such a spam databaseif taking precautionary measures:

  1. You can, of course, nowhere at all not to publish your Email and not to tell anyone. But in most cases this is difficult to do, so I advise except the main box have one or two minor ones that you will use to register in forums, etc. Often, disposable mailboxes, which can be obtained without registration at all, can come in handy.
  2. Do not follow the links in spam emails (even if the “Unsubscribe” button is there - this is a trap) and, if possible, turn off the automatic downloading of images in your mail client program. There is a chance that your Email will be counted as inactive and mass mailings will not come to him a hundred per day.
  3. If you have not registered a mailbox yet or are planning to create a new one (for example, because of the full clogging of the old spam), then when choosing an Email address, proceed not from the convenience and simplicity of remembering it, but rather, make it more authentic and more complicated. All the same, you will send it to your friends electronically, but spammers will hardly guess it.

What to do if spam no longer lets you breathe?

These were all preventive measures against spam (or rather, reducing its number). But there is the possibility of an effective struggle even in an already completely neglected situation. In this case, it becomes extremely important where your Email is registered.

The fact is that in such large services as Jimail Mail or Yandex Mail, there are powerful anti-spam filters.

They place all suspicious messages in a separate Spam folder, thereby freeing the Inbox from the garbage. Yes, there is no ideal spam cutter, and as far as possible the contents of the Spam folder before cleaning will be better viewed diagonally for legitimate correspondence. But it's still a lot easier than digging around all this garbage all the time.

If you have a mailbox on another service, where the spam cutter is not bad (for example, as in the Rambler Mail), then you should not despair. Get yourself an Email on Gmail or Yandex, and then configure the forwarding mail from it to your old mailbox. Moreover, these settings can be made as in the old box (i.e., configure forwarding - the screenshot shows the settings for Mail on Mail):

Also in the new box you can configure the collection of mail from your existing Emailov (the screenshot shows the settings for collecting mail in Gmail):

The same can be said of программах почтовых клиентах. У них тоже в большинстве своем имеется встроенная спаморезка.

But in this case, do not forget that there will be a spam folder on the mail service, which will also need to be periodically reviewed (or searched there for messages that should have arrived, but haven’t reached - for example, registration confirmation is often cut somewhere with a spam filter), because from it, by default, mail will not be sent to your computer (although this can be fixed in the settings of the service or client program).