[KB129] What is email spam, hoaxes and phishing?


Broadly categorized, spam includes unsolicited advertisements, hoaxes and the proliferation of malicious software–malware. The inconvenience and danger to the user is increased by the fact that the costs of sending email are next to zero, and authors of spam have many tools and sources available to acquire new email addresses.

In addition, the volume and variety of spam makes it very difficult to regulate. The longer you use your email address, the higher the possibility of it ending up in a spam engine database.

To learn more about email hoaxes, phishing and other types of malware, visit ESET Threat Encyclopedia.

Some hints for prevention:

  • Learn how to recognize spam.
  • If possible, do not publish your email address on the internet.
  • Only give your email address to trusted individuals.
  • If possible, do not use common aliases – with more complicated aliases, the probability of tracking is lower.
  • Do not reply to spam messages.
  • Be careful when filling out internet forms - especially beware of check boxes, such as, “Yes, I want to receive information about ... in my inbox.”
  • Use specialized email addresses (for example, one for your work, one for communication with your friends, one for online purchases).
  • From time to time, change your email address.
  • Use an antispam solution, such as, ESET Mail Security for Microsoft Windows Exchange Server.