Since the very first microprocessors were being used, data protection became an issue. The digital age launched itself in the eighties and hasn’t slowed down in terms of development. This rapid rise in both hardware and software technology, led to serious security concerns for large corporations, banks and government departments. Breaches were frequent, and crime began to explore the shortcomings in the software, with hacking making its entrance.

The Internet

Then came the cyber highway, which has given us so much, yet also caused the computer protection industry a major headache. Protecting a LAN network was now far more difficult, as the Internet access opens a back door to anyone who has the knowledge. Online protection really grew, as more and more financial transactions were completed online.

Hacking

This dubious trade has enabled people to circumvent protection and gain access to any web site or network. The hackers of today will very often target a particular organization and bring down the site by send multiple requests to the host server, causing it to shut down. Crime has benefitted from the dark side of the cyber world, with major online heists involving millions of dollars.

The rise of protection

Fortunately it wasn’t just the bad guys who managed to raise their game, Internet based business sought protection from the major software developers, which paved the way for the anti-virus arrival. Viruses continued to be born, which meant databases must be updated regularly, after all, a program can only detect a virus it is programmed to find. As this became more complex, the term “malware” was born.

Malware arrives

Malware is a mixture of many harmful and negative cyber entities, namely,

  • Intrusive software
  • Computer viruses
  • Trojan horses
  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Scareware

The creation of spam

As Internet marketing became more aggressive, people looked for new ways to reach the consumer, and spam was born. Spam is any unwanted, electronic solicitation and is usually sent to multiple recipients, often in the thousands. This industry has grown at an alarming pace, with the average PC user completely unable to stop these emails from entering their inbox. They can also contain viruses and the possible infection of all data. We’ve all heard the horror stories of someone who lost their entire work because of a virus attack. Within a few years of the word’s conception, spam was known by all in the developed world.

What to do about spam?

If you’re a PC user, the word spam doesn’t refer to the tinned meat that Monty Python so eloquently promoted. Spam is a daily nuisance, spending valuable downtime, sorting through the many unwanted emails that litter all of our inboxes. Unless you’ve already discovered anti-spam programs, in which case, it’s a thing of the past. There are other ways to reduce the level of unwanted contact, one such strategy is to be careful about giving your email address to others. Another is to use multiple email accounts and nominate one for all inline web enquiries, as these are a prime source for spammers. Try not to forward emails with large numbers of recipients, as the next receiver will be able to see all the email addresses and thus could use them in a bad way.

Cyber theft

There is a small industry of people who make a living supplying spammers with valid email addresses. These can be obtained in a variety of ways and the unsuspecting victim will soon be bombarded with advertising data from all angles.

Cyber theft

Which application is right for me?

A good question and one that deserves some thought. There are packages for the big conglomerates, the medium to small businesses, and the home PC user. So whatever your online presence, spam prevention makes perfect sense. It is always a good idea to compare the different anti spam product ranges offered by companies like Mailcleaner, with all the latest updates that offer total protection at all times.

Other dangers to watch out for

It isn’t only the Internet that poses a threat to your data, thumb drives and other external devices, can contain harmful code that will render your protection insufficient. A good protective application will automatically detect any intrusion and report this to the user, giving you the option of deletion or quarantine before the file is transferred.

Will spam become a thing of the past?

This is only possible if the regulating bodies make tougher laws and although there is a common agreement to eliminate spam, it is a long process with many parties reluctant to act. The two sides, the spammer and the protector, are playing a game of cat and mouse, one finding a new loophole, only for the other to quickly close it. Fiber optic advancement has enabled data recognition apps to function at a higher level, which in turn helps to identify potential incoming threats. The experts are of the opinion that, while spam cannot be eradicated, it can be controlled and kept down to an acceptable level, by the current range of anti-spam software on the market.

Trojan horses

As the name suggest, these viruses carry another file and deposit this onto your hard drive. The damaging command can lay dormant until a certain date and time, preset by the creator, unleashing anything from a humourous window pop up, to a complete destruction of your drive and data. All anti-spam software can detect Trojan horses and prevent them being transferred.

Stay ahead with the experts

Keeping your spam protection updated is critical, as the new filenames that are created on a daily basis, are not recognised until the software is given the new virus definition. Due to this, it’s always a good idea to protect yourself from the intrusive practices that spammers adopt by installing an up to date system that comprehensively stops all forms of intrusion.