Why Spam Is A Small Business Nightmare

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Why Spam Is A Small Business Nightmare

Snap-O-Byte Computer Repair & IT Services - Sacramento (916) 432-9285 support@snapobyte.com www.snapobyte.com | cloud, email, spam, security, malware, sacramento computer repair

15 years after the world united to crack down on spam emails, we’re still struggling with overloaded inboxes. All that unwanted email continues to flood the internet, much of it targeted to small businesses, and the impact goes wider than you might think. Here’s the full breakdown of how modern spam works and how it’s hurting your business.

What is spam? Generally speaking, spam is any unwanted message that lands in your email, comes via text, social media messaging, or other communication platforms. It might be sent to your main business account, eg your ‘contact us’ email, or directly to your employees. Most of the time, spam is annoying but relatively innocent messages from another business inviting you to buy/do/see something. They’re newsletters (!), reminders, invitations, sales pitches, etc. You may know the sender and have a previous relationship with them, or they might be a complete stranger. Occasionally, spam may even be part of a cyber attack.

Why you’re getting spammed. Maybe you or your employee signed up for a newsletter or bought a $1 raffle ticket to win a car. Perhaps you got onto the mailing list accidentally after enquiring about a product, not knowing that simply getting a brochure sent through would trigger a spam-avalanche. Often there’s fine print that says they’ll not only use your details to send you their marketing, but they’ll share your details with 3rd parties so they can send you messages too. That single email address can be passed around the internet like wildfire, and before you know it, you’re buried under spam. Sometimes, and more than we’d like to think, your details are found illicitly, perhaps through a hacked website for example, like the recent LinkedIn or Yahoo leak. More often though, your email is simply collected by a computer ‘scraping’ the internet – scouring forums and websites for plain text or linked emails and selling them as prime spam targets. It’s easy to see how individual office employees receive an average of 120 emails daily, over half of which are spam!

More than annoying. We all know spam is annoying, but did you know it’s also resource hungry? Your employees are spending hours each week sorting their email, assessing each one for relevance and deleting the spam. Too often, legitimate emails from clients and customers get caught up and are accidentally deleted. Add in the temptation to read the more interesting spam emails and productivity drops to zero. On the other side of the business, your email server might be dedicating storage and processing power to spam emails, occasionally to the point where inboxes get full and real mail is bouncing out. While most spam is simply an unwanted newsletter or sale notice, there’s also the risk that any links may be a cyber-attack in disguise. After all, one click is all it takes to open the door to viruses, ransomware, phishing or other security emergencies.

Spam is a HUGE vector for Infections. Past being just annoying and wasting your time, e-mail spam has become a very effective vector for spreading malware or otherwise stealing information. You may be aware that you shouldn’t open unsolicited attachments, but that is not the only way to cause problems. Lately, I have seen a lot of messages that contain no malware, and don’t even link to a virus. This way, they can’t even be caught by spam or virus scanners. What they do however is take you to a fake login site like Facebook or Google that then asks for your credentials to log in and see a shared document…These can look very convincing but DON’T FALL FOR IT!

How to stop the spam. The 2003 Can Spam Act (a global set of anti-spam laws) requires all marketers to follow certain rules, like not adding people to mailing lists without permission, and always including an ‘unsubscribe’ link. So firstly, make sure you’re not accidentally giving people permission to email you – check the fine print or privacy policy when you sign up for a service. Next, look for the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. If the message is from a reputable company (Amazon, Facebook, Snap-O-Byte…), it is best to use this unsubscribe link rather than mark it as spam. Unfortunately, not all of them include the link, or they hide it somewhere impossible to see. In that case, mark it as spam! I practice this daily and as a result only 1 or 2 spam messages a day.

Ron Kumar, Owner of Snap-O-Byte Computer Repair, Sacramento.

Snap-O-Byte is a locally owned Computer Repair & IT Services business. We serve Sacramento and surrounding cities. We offer computer fixes for both hardware and software issues. Customer service and satisfaction is our first priority as we provide high quality service to all customers looking for help with their computers. We are here to fix your Apple laptops, desktops, and Windows PCs at an affordable price. Please visit our web site at http://www.snapobyte.com or call us today at 916-432-9285 to set up an appointment.