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Spam: Glossary

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blackhole list - sometimes simply referred to as a blacklist, the publication of a group of ISP addresses known to be sources of spam.

CAPTCHA - a test designed to differentiate humans from automated senders.

challenge-response system - a program that replies to e-mail messages and subjects the sender to a test designed to differentiate humans from automated>

clickthrough rate - the percentage of times that viewers click on a given banner ad or link, causing a request for the advertiser's Web site to be transmitted to the viewer.

direct e-mail marketing - a format for e-mail-based campaigns in which standalone advertisements are sent to a targeted list of recipients. The messages, which may be text, HTML, or rich media, look like Web-based ads rather than typical e-mail messages.

e-mail postage - proposed system that would involve charging a very small amount of money per e-mail sent.

drive-by spamming - variation of drive-by hacking in which the perpetrators gain access to a vulnerable wireless network and use that access to send huge volumes of spam.

e-mail spoofing - forgery of an e-mail header so that the message appears to have originated from someone or somewhere other than the actual source.

e-mail virus - computer code sent to you as an e-mail note attachment which, if activated, will cause some unexpected and usually harmful effect

false positive - a legitimate e-mail message mistakenly marked as spam by a spam filter.

hash buster - program that generates a string of text for insertion in a spam message so that, to a spam filter, the e-mail appears to be a different message each time it is sent.

Joe job - an e-mail spoofing exploit, often carried out as an act of revenge, in which someone sends out huge volumes of spam that appear to be from someone other than the actual source.

list washing - removing an e-mail address from a mailing list when the recipient either requests removal or complains to the sender's ISP that he is being spammed.

mail bomb - sending a massive amount of e-mail to a specific person or system.

Murkogram - unsolicited commercial e-mail that includes a disclaimer to the effect that the message cannot be considered spam because it is in compliance with government regulations.

open relay - e-mail server that allows third-party relay of e-mail messages.

opt-in e-mail - marketing term for e-mail that recipients sign up to receive.

phishing - scam where the perpetrator sends out legitimate-looking e-mails in an effort to fish for personal and financial information from the recipient.

reverse DNS - method for changing an IP address into a domain name.

self-sending spam - unsolicited e-mail that looks like you sent it to yourself.

spam - unsolicited e-mail on the Internet.

spamblock - text segment interjected into an e-mail address to foil a spambot.

spambot - program designed to harvest e-mail addresses from the Internet in order to build mailing lists.

spam filter - program that searches incoming e-mail messages for suspicious words or word patterns to identify UCE and prevent it from reaching the user's inbox.

S4L - online chat acronyms for "spam for life," the possible result of subscribing to an online service or becoming anyone's customer or client.

spamhaus - ISP that allows the distribution of spam.

spam trap - software filter used to block spam.

spim - spam delivered through instant messaging instead of the more familiar e-mail channel.

teergrube - intentionally slow server set up to trap spammers using address harvesting programs.

third-party mail relay - e-mail message sent through a mail server where neither the sender nor the recipient is a local user.

UCE - legal term used to describe an electronic promotional message sent to a consumer without the consumer's prior request or consent.

UBE - formal term for spam, defined as unsolicited bulk e-mail.

This was last updated in March 2007

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