spam  Flickr: freezelight

 

As we learn from Digg: 

In the 2000s, our email inboxes were often reminiscent of the classic Monty Python sketch: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spammity Spam. Spam still makes up over 50% of all email activity, but the trend is moving in the right direction (down), after the insane peak in the late aughts — when pleas from Nigerian princes and other garbage made up a whopping 9 out of 10 emails — thanks to the take-down of some huge botnets … 

And from Quartz: 

This is a stark contrast from 2008 to 2010, when spam made up nine in 10 emails. Around that time, sophisticated hackers were moving away from using their own servers, which made them easy targets of law enforcement, to rely instead on large bot networks. By installing malicious software on unknowing victims’ computers, they were able to build a network of machines to distribute email spam more efficiently and at greater scale. But the level of spam dropped to 75% in 2011, thanks largely to high-profile takedowns of these networks, including the Mariposa botnet, which infected 13 million computers, and the Waledac botnet, which was capable of sending 1.5 billion spam emails a day. More

But, as Quartz’s Alice Truong goes on to note, while these obvious bandwidth wastes and intrusions are in decline, they are being replaced by much more sophisticated malware and spyware, focusing on social media.

Malware:

Short for malicious software, malware refers to software designed specifically to damage or disrupt a system, such as a virus or a Trojan horse.

Spyware:

(n.) Any software that covertly gathers user information through the user’s Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundledas a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet; however, it should be noted that the majority of shareware and freeware applications do not come with spyware. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else.

I recently had to get my system cleaned of this stuff, because it had collapsed under the strain of conflicting assaults. I would offer three quick comments:

1. It costs money to fix.

2. I don’t download or install programs on my own any more; if I can’t afford a nerd, I shouldn’t download or install the program. Others’ mileage may vary, of course.

3. Third, this is certainly not the time to be disputing the use of, for example, school internet filters.

See also: Why school Internet filters are important (A school is not a shopping mall. Under compulsory education acts, students within a certain age range are required to be at school by law.)

and

Beyond the cookie – advertisers’ new high-tech spyware trained on Internet users Why are firms doing this? Because Internet users evade or erase browser cookies.

 

Denyse O’Leary is a Canadian journalist, author, and blogger.

Denyse O’Leary is an author, journalist, and blogger who has mainly written popular science and social science. Fellow Canadian Marshall McLuhan’s description of electronic media as a global village...