Gmail Spam Campaign Triggers Gmail Users Though It Is A False Alarm

What used to be a simple concept of an object may have a different meaning in this digital age. Take for example the word “spam,” more than its simple meaning; it could actually mean an “annoyance.”

As such in the context of “email spam,” which could be a potential tool by hackers to put malware in your inbox. This kind of fear though was real for select Gmail users who thought they were the victim of email hacking.

 

 

Luckily, these Gmail users were not a victim of email hacking. The recent incident that involved the Gmail system, however, raises speculations about the system’s spam filtering feature.

 

Over the weekend, several Gmail users learned that a spam email was sent in their Sent folders. They thought that their Gmail accounts were compromised and were used to send spam emails to other users.

 

Upon learning the situation, many Gmail users have changed their passwords, but it yielded no results even those who used a two-factor authentication. Later they discovered that it was not a simple case of the hacking incident.

 

Google has released a statement saying that the spam email was just a regular spam. A company representative told Mashable, explaining that the forged that the spam only forged email headers to make it appear the account was sending emails to other users and to themselves.

 

“We are aware of a spam campaign impacting a small subset of Gmail users and have actively taken measures to protect against it. This attempt involved forged email headers that made it appear as if users were receiving emails from themselves, which also led to those messages erroneously appearing in the Sent folder,” a Google representative said.

 

 

“We have identified and are reclassifying all offending emails as spam, and have no reason to believe any accounts were compromised as part of this incident. If you happen to notice a suspicious email, we encourage you to report it as spam,” the company official added.

Just Say No: Listserv Confirmation Email Pioneer Reinvents Self

The world of email marketing changed much when Eric Thomas, an engineering student in Paris pioneered Listserv in 1986. Listserv automated the management of email lists and allowed list owners to create templates and customize replies to subscribers based on specific commands. In 1987, database functions were added which allowed users to search the database. Listserv was also very ethical; giving the subscriber the right to unsubscribe anytime. By 2001, it had surpassed over 100M subscribers and managed over 170,000 email lists. Up until 1993, it was released as a freeware and even now, could still be downloaded free for a maximum of 10 lists with up to 500 subscribers.

L Soft, the company founded by Eric Thomas, released the paid version that included more management tools. Through the years, it incorporated email tracking, customized reporting, built-in antivirus capability, analytics, email marketing, hosting, and integration with emerging social media platforms, especially on content creation; all the while respecting privacy and the freedom of choice.

“In 1993, LISTSERV was the first software to introduce double opt-in, which becomes the global gold standard for permission email. Double opt-in protects subscribers by requiring them to confirm their subscriptions before being added to a mailing list.” – L Soft site

However, other entities were not as stringent and by 2008, spam plagued the online world reaching an all-time high of 92.6% of email worldwide. Despite tighter controls on permissions, the worldwide scam rate was still at an appalling 59.8% two years ago. Just how big is this? As reported by the Radicati Group the volume of spam and unwanted email has risen to 32 Billion email users globally. Just imagine, the distress and anxiety over receiving these annoyances; and the fear that these carry with it malware that can retrieve confidential personal information.

With an eye to take the lead in email marketing while keeping it safe, ethical, as well as more responsive and profitable, Listserv reinvented itself with new features over 30 years after its initial launch – or 25 years after it introduced permission email.

“Successful mass communication is ethical: It comes from a sender-subscriber relationship based on strong prior consent. Eric Thomas, L-Soft’s CEO, invented automated subscription confirmation to prevent unreliable email addresses from being added to an email list. This also protects the list and its subscribers from fraudulent subscriptions and puts permission in the hands of the recipient, where it belongs.” —  Outi Tuomaala, L-Soft’s EVP ( in Newswire)

Currently, Listserv, Listserv Lite, Listserv Free, and Listserv Maestro can be downloaded from the site. Apart from the email list software, L-Soft products include email hosting (ListPlex®), and email marketing (Maestro Add-On). Competitive Features of Listserv include:

  • Integrated Virus protection
  • Double opt-in support
  • Automatic email handling
  • Web integration
  • Support for all list types
  • Automatic Bounce Handling
  • Security options
  • Message posting
  • Message scheduling
  • Content Analysis
  • Newsletter Template Gallery
  • Customizable Mail templates and styles
  • Attachment and content filter
  • Subscriber activity reports
  • CSV reports
  • List reports
  • Moderation sharing
  • Full RSS support and others that increase engagement.

Because of the backlash from users complaining about the incessant deluge of unwanted mail, digital marketers are now more compliant about requesting consent and observing data privacy; including the user’s right to prevent the sale of any information to a third. Consent is now a primary gateway especially in the age of fraud, phishing, and other cyber crimes. Listserv is now at the forefront of all these cautioning users to:

  • be explicit about subscriber opt-in
  • set specific expectations about content that will be received
  • confirm that the subscription was initiated by the subscriber and
  • reassure subscribers that they can opt-out anytime.

Resources:

L-Soft Website

Newswire Press Release

Statista.com

Radicati Group

Block spam messages and calls with the Mr. Number app

Receiving spam messages is one of the least things that you like about technology and about 4.5 billion spam messages were sent to mobile phones last year. So how do you combat these unscrupulous messages that are sent to you?

A Palo Alto startup company has developed a way to thwart these unwanted messages from your Android devices.

The Mr. Number app enables users to block unwanted messages and calls. It was launched two years ago and now has about 5 million Android users.

According to Mr. Number CEO Jason Devitt as told to Mashable, “We discovered users were actively seeking a solution to a problem.”

The app blocks numbers or companies that are famous for sending spam messages. They do it in their database so as to block messages from being sent to Mr. Number installed Android devices. Users can also opt to block other numbers.

Devitt added, “Mr. Number makes it easier, more fun, straightforward and even cheaper to communicate with the people you are about.”

“Over time, we realized there was a whole set of functionality and features people were looking for. People wanted to improve basic calling and texting,” he added.

Unfortunately, the Mr. Number app is not available for iOS users because of iOS limitations.

Image Source: gizmodo.com

Why Spamming Is Considered a Bigger Threat to the World Than Green House Gas

Who does not know about the ‘go green’ campaign? With endless individuals across the globe supporting the cause, it comes as no surprise that the idea has permeated into almost every industry one can think of and information technology is no exception. When we think of all the hazardous elements sabotaging our environment, images of poor waste management, transportation, construction and manufacturing industries giving off smoke and releasing poisonous gases into the air conjure up in our mind. Sadly, the more damaging aspects are often overlooked.

It is no secret that over the years, information technology has played its role in promoting the cause. Companies offering web hosting services initiated the use of solar and hydro power for running their data centers. Desktop and server vendors supported the cause by incorporating features that save power. Such power-saving strategies were aimed at reducing carbon footprints that continue to serve as a trouble for the environment.

In the society we live in, the inhabitants of the earth continue to pollute the environment, intentionally or unintentionally.  As technology continues to grow and the number of high speed internet providers sees a steep rise, the extent to which information technology can influence the environment comes as a shock. While information technology has furnished extensive convenience in our everyday lives, when it comes to saving the planet, nothing even comes close.

Spam is a menacing headache that every single internet user is well aware of. Spam is defined as the transmission of messages in bulk and so if someone tells you that SPAM is short for Stupid, Pointless, Annoying Message, you may as well believe it because that is what it is. From contacts to emails, from software to documents, today it is hard to name one area that is not affected by spam.

Sadly, the implications of this nuisance are not limited to security but is now becoming a menacing problem threatening the well-being of the environment.  Wondering how this happens? Read on to reveal the mystery.

According to a research conducted recently, if the emissions of green house gas are to be compared with the energy it takes to open one spam email, it will be equal to that of driving a car for three feet. While one may think that three feet is a seemingly harmless figure, this example does not fully comprehend the environmental consequences.

All you have to do is to multiply those 3 feet to 95 trillion as it was the number of spam emails sent in 2010 and you will be shocked to find out that the green house gas emissions are now equivalent to those of driving the car across the globe two million times.

If you are still reeling from the shock, you have even more surprises in store for you. A study has shown that every single year carbon dioxide in quantities as big as 28.5 million metric is created just by spam. Still wondering how green house gases and spam emails are related? Well, there is an abundance of high speed internet providers. To use internet, it is important to keep the computer open and these green house gas emission are a result of it.

What actually happens is that it takes a system several processor cycles to access your mail client and power is then needed to retain the message and deliver it to the user. This complete process is polluting the planet and this is how spam emails sabotage our environment.

One other devastating fact associated with green house gas effects and spam emails is that each year, an approximate of 104 hours are spent by users online to read or manually delete spam emails. What comes as a bigger shock is the fact that this amount is 4700 times greater the number of man hours that were spent in the construction of the tallest building in the world, the renowned Burj Khalifa.

As far as the culprits are concerned, the three countries that are actively participating in polluting the world are USA, China and India with a contribution of 21%, 15% and 7% respectively. So, the next time you come across someone calling spam the biggest environmental threat till date, just nod in agreement.

Fight against spam on Twitter

Hate spam? Twitter does too, so they’ve added another tool to help both them and the users to easily get rid of spam messages.

Now, users can find an additional option in the drop-down actions toolbar located at the top right-hand corner of the feed. Those of you who wants to say bye bye to that irritating and space-consuming spam can just click “Report so-and-so as spam”.

This new antispam tool doesn’t just work on spams either. Tired of reading about your neighbor’s useless antics on Twitter? Choosing the antispam tool bars that user from following or replying to you. 😉

Pretty cool huh? Let’s just hope users don’t abuse this tool or the folks at Twitter will definitely have their hands full…again. 😉

Source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/173638/help_twitter_fight_spam.html