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Unsolicited junk e-mail has gone from bad to worse. I used to merely waste a bit of time
each day highlighting and deleting unwanted e-mail messages, known as spam, from my
computer. Now Internet pornographers are so desperate for my business that they are
taking control of my computer. Once porn sites get their hooks into you, they never let
go. So I don't do it. Honest.
I agree with twhitehorn and mrhappy632 that altering your MS Outlook (or other email software) settings can help minimize the amount of spam email you to deal with. I will offer one other suggestion. It's a new service that does all of this for you and will not require constant updating of filter rules, etc. on your part. You just sign up and forget about spam email. They will take care of the constant updating for you. I think it only works for POP mailboxes, though. But, that's what most of us have. The link is: http://www.CleanMyMailbox.com
When I registered one of my sites, driden.net, I almost immediately started receiveing porn spam (through my catch-all address) being sent to someone else who signed up using an @driden.net email address. I've had to set a filter so that anything coming in through that address immediately gets deleted. However, there are still the few that come through on a distribution list. As twhitehorn said, you can set a rule to delete them as well, but I do get some legitimate emails through distribution lists that I've signed up for. This makes it difficult to almost impossible for me to do that, and thus get around receiving all these spams. And as my former hosting service put it, "There's nothing we can do, you'll have to just delete them when they come in, or use one of your alloted email addresses to catch it first and delete it." Until Congress, and honestly, the world's governments, do something to make it easier to punish spammers and make the punishments more severe, regular people like us will continue to be spammed with nothing we can do but try not to be victimized by their tricks while trying to delete them.
The acceptable future for spoken English should be a victory of the pithy email against the double-barrelled conventions.
Try giving out a normal email address in a bar or restaurant, and from somewhere a torn scrap of paper must appear. Why? Consider what percentage of the English-speaking world actually uses double-barrelled surnames, such as Mr Smith-Jones or Lean-gate! There is a certain pride with which we do not string together those common identities merely to assume an air of complexity or other distinction. Indeed there is often harboured a degree of suspicion for any fellow man with the misfortune to be born with the double-barrelled name. The Latino culture is different. Three names are essential to placement, but the pragmatic English speaker is thoroughly wedded to the convention of first and last being sufficient. In light of this, the domain naming system born in the early 1990s has yet to mature into a modern set of rules that will grant it the status of acceptable English as against techno-babble. Manners make man and from misunderstanding the actual flexibility the Internet language could provide, we retreat blindly from the panacea and hide with embarrassment from overt social expressions. Yet it is our inherent nature and will for increasing technical integration with our whole environment. This is why we must then move to exclude the common computer expression "@-Ah!" from the English language?
Ask a brief selection of average but not supercomputer literate colleagues about their email addys (addresses) and it may be hard to avoid noticing the "Ah!" exclamation after carefully pronouncing "AT". The @ sign forces a delay in speech as effectively as the period does (or maybe it's just memory loss or boredom with what comes afterwards). The more high-pressured the social situation, the bigger the delay will be, and the more of a chump you'll feel for having engaged in a situation where the emilio (hispanic slang for email) has been spoken out aloud and within the hearing of others! Unwittingly, the designers of our communication protocols and trusty keyboards have seemingly committed us to a world of silence. Could not have the letter P been encircled instead of A? Then, at least, the pregnant pause between the double barrel would have faintly sounded an apologetic P for Please.
Spam (unwanted email) is a big problem, but not as big a problem as introducing computers that you can speak to. The fear of fraud and other criminal deceptions is likely to keep the next big idea of universal voice recognition chips well down the list of anybody's development plans. If spam is a worry now, just think what a fool could do once he had digitally "reverse engineered" your unique voice pattern and turned long-trusted friends into suspicious enemies. Would they forgive that your personal recommendation to buy stock M was in fact the indistinguishable voice of an impostor with easy but unauthorised access to your voice-based operating system? Parody would with time take the sting out of the tail of the downside, but never again would you trust a voice on the phone with such innocence. While spam is inconvenient, think of the headache involved with requesting the 4-digit security code each and every time you had a telephone conversation?
Email is not therefore so much a problem child, but a corporate failing to see the woods for the trees. Imagine then you meet the lady called Katherine who has registered www.therine.com in order to have the instantly glamorous identity of K_AT_therine.com. These people should be paraded, icons of our society to remind us that "At-Ah" is not an acceptable way to speak without spitting. Now, of course very few can aspire to this handy, pithy convention in order to propagate their social standing. There needs to be more! Take any noun (trademarks are formulated out of these) and begin to recall your school grammar. Creating. Created. Create. Creates. Creation. Creative. Six members of your creative team now have easily differentiated emilios, bound fraternally together by the noun and in no circumstance requiring the utterance of At-Ah. The man in charge is of course Mr business, so applied for argument's sake to the noun "business", the creative team of 6 pose as:
In case you think it impractical because of cost, consider www.freeparking.co.uk, managed from Delaware, USA, where the .com is sold for around $20 per annum and the .co.uk for $10. They allow up to ten aliases per .com or co.uk, although this number could be infinite at other registers. Looking through the English dictionary, there are about 300 alphabetical combinations for each honest emilio one can apply to virtually any noun e.g. litig@ting, legisl@ting, educ@ting etc. This becomes a homemade spam trap, but first we must delve further into the "at-sign-email" matrix. If we have agreed the 6 common modifiers: TING, TED, TE, TES, TION and TIVE it is now to expand the nature of this net. For any country outside the USA, there are the two crucial TLDs (Top Level Domains). The first is the universal and external ".com" and the second is the allocated country code. In the UK this is of course the SLD (Secondary Level Domain) ".co.uk". The point to the corporate man is that the TLD should not need to be spoken. The States will have to assume its own independent reasoning when it needs to reach a common agreement on the duality of a TLD structure. For any English speaker outside of the U.S. it is reasonable to assume that by registering both the country specific (e.g. co.uk) and universal (.com) anyone encouraged to contact someone through "Cre@tingbusiness" can reach them via either TLD. This doubles the number of domains needing to be registered but makes it near infallible.
The doubling of the count of ting, ted, te, tes, tion and tive equals twelve. Some may be tempted to stop at that, the cost through freeparking being approximately $180 per year. The freeparking system demands that you establish a root forwarding address, so that can be your spam trap, or you can specify any number of the ten aliases allowed to redirect the spam away from your inbox. Freeparking at the moment offers no form of spam protection, its purpose is as a register not as a WBE (Web Based Email), such as Yahoo or Hotmail. Yet by building the matrix you may construct an identity out of your chosen noun or trademark and it is real and yours to control. Who will be Cre@tingdemocracy? Before I can close this happy tale, I'm going to have to insist you improve your love of both spoken and written English to accept the hyphen as the 27th letter in the alphabet. We always had a 27th letter, it was the space and we couldn't read easily without it. For obvious reasons, the hyphen is a natural surrogate for the character space in the Internet address bar, although there are several still strong communities where the underscore character remains the champion from the legacy of early UNIX.
The design of the domain name system is such that saturated (maximum or extreme) hyphenation of any word or words can only take one form. I'm afraid there is no www.c-----o----m---e--d-y.co.uk webmaster, but that there is an invisible but growing speculative army of www.s-a-t-u-r-a-t-e-d.com gamblers. This is another article, but this arrangement is surprisingly easy to grow to like. At the moment saturated direct entry into the web browser address bar requires a refreshingly unique form of two-finger co-ordination, back and forward. Try it. With time, perhaps browsers or keyboards will be added to, so that a single button turns a plain dot-com into a saturated dot-com. Between plain and saturated, there is the third form of being: natural hyphenation. That is to say where the space would naturally be, the hyphen takes up the job of replacement. Hence why would an important contact groomed at a society dinner, not opt to send his enquiry to Cre_AT_ting-business.com? With the extra hyphen it even looks a bit smarter than the plain version when printed (only of course when you needn't use "_AT_" instead of the @ to throw off spammers!). You omit covering this option at your own peril. Those will of course again double the cost of the matrix from $180 to $360 per year.
At the moment once particular favourite email addy of mine email@example.com is infected with junk mail, arising from the carefree posting of the address on a newsgroup for inventors. It receives about 10 pieces of spam a day, mostly in indecipherable text, but freeparking now merely points it to a secondary yahoo email account that I use as the black hole. Yahoo allows one page to list 100 messages at once. I return each week to briefly check all with the automatic checkbox and then delete all with one click. I would be quite happy to make a small payment if someone on the Internet were to offer a black hole (automatic delete) that never required servicing. Perhaps more alarmingly, freeparking will allow me to direct this stream of junk to anyone's email address I so choose. Good sense has made any such attempt to do so, even for the humour, a non-starter. In the long term I would like to clear up this problem child, but as yet have seen no third-party service offering to do so. If, as I believe, people are going to develop life-long attachments to their chosen email matrix, there will inevitably develop fee-based cleaning services. These will delete newsgroup postings and contact promotional house lists, so as to return the address spanking new with hardly an unwanted communication of any sort coming into it.
To conclude, developing an email-at-sign matrix is similar to cancelling your double-barrelled surname and adopting the common sense single-barrel. All major corporations should consider it and then there will no longer be the need to spout clumsy At-Ah's, but the address will be assumed from some of the rules outlined above. Such a structure, while costing hundreds of dollars, develops a marketable entity either purely for your own needs or for your company's status. The registration agents that make such a matrix possible do not at the moment generally provide any spam protection agents. Instead you are building a forwarding service you control from an easy to use panel, one that you own and can sell as a going concern to anyone else. However, one day the registration agents and web based email providers may even join forces to strengthen these services.
The need to cover two TLDs (my assumption in the UK) and the desire to include natural hyphenation to exclude obvious ambiguity, multiplies the 6 ting/ted forms by 4. This 24 would cost approximately $360 a year at freeparking. This however is further multiplied by any additional forms of the noun you may seek to cover to increase exclusivity. There may be shortened forms of the noun, "biz" for business, which for personal taste I dislike and so do not cover. More importantly an indefinite article (i.e. a/an) or a definite article (i.e. thebusiness) etc. can precede nouns and they have both singular and plural forms (in most cases). A large corporation in the future might consider covering hundreds of very close and near-identical variations of one concept noun, to divide up amongst the hundreds of personnel employed. It could create a unique, verbal email "ethos" and a special communication identity between them and customers (e.g. instead of firstname.lastname@example.org it is email@example.com). To not understand the location of the @ would be simple i-grammatical ignorance. Any confusion over the location of @ is generally resolved by the common-sense logic that the "a" be not too near the end, but towards the middle. This process of deduction occurs since very short domain names in the dot-com world will never be freed up from earlier speculators just to create "firstname.lastname@example.org".
The importance of fading or toning down the everyday usage of the AT (@) sign in spoken English is essential for its health. This is hopefully a strong counterbalance to the argument that all would be well in our techno culture, if only spam wasn't on the up. We must walk away from the double-barrelled convention of email expressives, and as such, corporations will need to put their muscle behind a new grammatical correctness. It is a language so it must evolve. It remains for me to suggest that out of these proposed @ matrices, there is one projected design not yet included. It is the fullest and fashionable form (and only of the future) that may become accepted increasingly as the only standard for design. Here, public space leaves behind natural hyphenation and enters the state of extreme or saturated hyphenation: Iemail@example.com
If a spammer "is taking control of your computer" it is your own fault: Why do you confugure your browser in a way that a website or a script can change your starting page? Why do you use an eMail client that lets eMail open Webpages or even execute scripts? If you remove all doors and windows from your house, do you blame the burglar if the furniture gets moved around? ;)
Articles like this one only scare new users off the net and reinforce common misconceptions about the net. Why don't you write something about computer security instead? Or make clear that "spammers make your life miserable" only when you use bad or improperly configured software?
You haven't been spammed. You have been Cracked.
We don't need new laws to prevent what you are going through. They are on the books. Now, you just have to track them down, hire a good lawyer, and bring them to court.
The author didn't say what email software was being used, but it was probably MS outlook. That program is known to run scripts and open webpages without permission, in fact was designed to do so. If you use another email program, like Eudora or Pegasus, that won't happen. We use Eudora in our office, and deleting the spam only takes a minute at most. It also won't run those naughty *.vbs files the hackers love to send.
It's definitely worse. However, I use some of Outlook's advanced features to control it. First, under the Tools/Options menu, select the Security tab. Make sure you set the security zone to "restricted" so that no scripts will run when you preview an e-mail. Second, use the Rules Wizard to filter your mail. The most effective way I have found to do this is to set a rule that moves all incoming messages to a Spam folder if they are not sent to one of my addresses directly. Most spam I get is addressed to a distribution list, not individual addresses. All of these messages get filtered. These are just some techniques that I have successfully used to minimize the annoyance.