Not so very long ago, in the halcyon days of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and striking miners, John Cleese and co. had everyone laughing at their ‘Spam’ song. In the sketch, an unlikely posse of marauding Vikings sat in a café and sang about the pre- cooked meat that accompanied every item on the menu.
Forty years on, and the Internet has arrived in most of our lives. We download and upload and surf, scrabbling for the tablet or the smart phone to check our daily download of emails. And Spam.
Yes, even an iconic staple such as Spam has not escaped the Internet revolution and once again our language has been hijacked. Spam is now used to define something that is the antithesis of that wonderful, pink, wobbly feast that is still enjoyed in over forty countries worldwide.
But the modern techno-spam is far more sinister. Globally, 2.8 million emails are sent every second. An estimated 90% of these are ‘spam’ – so the chances of one arriving in your mailbox are pretty much a certainty. Just like the real thing, they are designed to look inviting, but you’re often only one click away from disaster. Some spam messages are innocuous attempts to get you to buy things you don’t need or have even heard of, but on the other hand, opening a spam message on your computer can be a guaranteed route to terminal technical indigestion.
‘Spamming’ is big business and although it is frowned upon by the Internet community, it is here to stay. The more malicious varieties are designed to invade your computer hardware – from a single machine to whole networks – and trick it into becoming a ‘host’ for subversive activities. Your computer will develop indigestion. It will lounge around and not want to get to work. You will wonder what’s wrong.
But just as countless mothers dressed up the original delicacy to make it look more appetising, the spammers pass off their messages as something that you’ll find more inviting and attractive.
Stuart Green, MD of Market Rasen based Stuart J. Green Digital Engineering, explains, “It’s a very widespread and real problem. We often get asked to look at computers which have become ‘slow’, only to find out that the user has unknowingly become a victim of a virus or malware delivered via email.
“The only answer is to stop this from happening in the first place and here the best advice is. “If you don’t know who it’s from, don’t open it!”
But this won’t always work. Spammers are becoming increasingly enterprising in the way in which they trick us into opening rogue email.
“Most computer software and wifi routers supplied by ISP’s now come equipped with a ‘firewall’ which will help to control the threat, but they’re just not intelligent enough to handle everything. We specialise in quality security appliances which protect connected devices from almost any internet-based threat.”