An unsolicited email with shady-looking URLs and images is generally considered as spam. Although, there is no standard definition for a spam email. For some, even a promotional email from their bank is seen as spam while there are many individuals who do not mind receiving emails demanding charity money from cybercriminals located in countries like Nigeria, India, and Bangladesh.
Should I open a spam email? Generally speaking, opening or reading a spam email is not considered to be dangerous. An attacker cannot steal any information without your consent. However, you should be careful not to click on any URLs or download any attachments included in the spam mail. They most certainly contain malware or viruses. A malware if installed on your computer, can redirect you to fake websites even after entering the correct URL.
History of Email Spams
Email spams have been prevalent since the dawn of the internet. In the 90s, internet was –for the first time in the history of mankind– used as an advertising and marketing tool. Companies has their way of collecting email ids of potential customers. Just like they do today, back in the day, unsolicited emails were sent to prospective customers. What I am leading up to is, email spam is not a new thing and you shouldn’t be worried about it. Just make sure you don’t click on URLs or images shared inside a spam email.
How Do I Protect Myself From Email Spam?
First and foremost, to protect yourself from email spam, do not share or give out your primary email address to anyone who seems unimportant. Only share your primary email address with your employer, government websites, or a friend. Most news websites and internet tabloids are in the business of selling email addresses to major brands. You might share your email address to one source and receive spam from a completely different one. This is what makes it difficult to track spam emails.
Secondly, do not reply to a spam mail. No matter how frustrating or irritating a spam mail may seem like, it is never a good idea to vent your feelings by communicating with the attackers. The moment you reply to a spam mail, you come in the attacker’s attention and they might see you as their next victim. So, stop the cycle there and there, it is best to report the shady email as spam and forget about it.
Not all email spams are dangerous. Some of them are merely sent to a bunch of random people to see how they interact with a strange email. A marketeer or even an attacker is interesting in knowing of people follow their requests or not. So, they can devise a new strategy based on human behavior. However, it is always advised not to click on any links or images shared by spammy emails.