Spam, those hated unsolicited messages that plague inboxes everywhere, turned 20 last April 12.
What hath spam wrought? Experts said there have been trillions of unsolicited messages sent over the past two decades. Russian Internet security company Kaspersky Lab said spam comprises nearly 70 percent of all email sent. Others put this number at over 80 percent And this flood won't end as long as there's this thing called the Internet.
But there's an upside to this gloomy scenario. The spam tsunami has led to a dramatic increase in online anti-spamming software such that most of the spam sent to your inbox is either blocked outright or sent to your trash.
It's also pushed users—you and I—to seek alternative forms of communication such as social networking and SMS text messages. Unfortunately for us, spam followed us here, too.
So now the new battleground in the never ending war against spam has migrated from the desktop and laptop to those mobile phones we love to take everywhere with us.
Again, we have to be thankful for the heightened ability of webmail services and email servers to identify and block spam before they overrun our mobiles. But newer spam attacks on social networks and text messaging are taxing the abilities of security providers.
In the final analysis, the bulk of responsibility rests on the user who must use the security features at his disposal. The golden rule is simple: don't open file attachments and don't click on links.
Cloudmark, Inc, a San Francisco-based company providing protection against email threats such as spam, viruses and phishing, created an infographic illustrating key dates in the 20-year history of spam. And to think, spam began as an advertising contest between two lawyers on a newsgroup in Usenet, an Internet discussion system established in 1980.