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What is SPAM?

Email SPAM, or junk email, is the distribution of unsolicited and often deceptive or malicious messages to a large audience, aiming to promote products, trick recipients into sharing personal information, or spread malware, causing annoyance and potential harm to recipients and businesses.

Email SPAM Explained

Email spam, also known as junk email, refers to unsolicited and unwanted messages that are sent in bulk to a large number of recipients. These messages are typically commercial in nature and driven by a financial motive. Spammers use various techniques to deceive recipients, promote questionable goods, make false claims, and attempt to trick victims into downloading malware, sharing personal data, or sending money.

Most Common SPAM Techniques

  1. Botnets: Spammers utilize botnets, which are networks of infected computers controlled by a single attacker, to harvest email addresses and distribute spam.
  2. Snowshoe spam: This technique involves using a wide range of IP addresses and email addresses with neutral reputations to distribute spam broadly.
  3. Blank email spam: Spammers send emails with empty message bodies and subject lines. This technique can be used to validate email addresses or conceal viruses and worms.
  4. Image spam: Spam messages with computer-generated and unintelligible text are stored as image files (JPEG or GIF) and placed within the email body to bypass text-based spam filters.

Different Types of SPAM

  • Marketing messages: These spam emails promote unsolicited or illegal products and services.
  • Malware messages: Spam emails containing malware attempt to trick users into divulging personal information, making payments, or taking actions that they would not normally do.
  • Frauds and scams: Examples include advance fee or Nigerian prince scams, where users are promised rewards or prizes in exchange for payment or personal information.
  • Antivirus warnings: These messages masquerade as virus alerts and offer solutions to fix infections, but instead, they may trick users into granting access to their systems or downloading malicious files.
  • Sweepstakes winners: Spammers claim recipients have won sweepstakes or prizes, prompting them to click on malicious links designed to steal personal information.

SPAM vs. Phishing

While spam is unsolicited and often commercial in nature, phishing refers to fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information by posing as a trustworthy entity in electronic communication. Phishing emails usually imitate legitimate organizations and trick recipients into providing personal information such as login credentials or credit card details. Phishing emails are more sophisticated, targeted, and aim to deceive users into divulging sensitive data.

How to Protect SPAM

To combat spam, users can take the following measures:

  • Reporting, blocking, and deleting: Report and delete spam messages that appear in your inbox. Use the blocking feature to prevent future messages from specific senders.
  • Use spam filters: Enable spam filters provided by email systems or install third-party anti-spam filters on local email clients.
  • Customize filters: Customize filters to block messages containing specific words or phrases commonly found in spam emails.
  • Create an allowlist: Maintain a list of trusted email addresses, IP addresses, or domains to ensure receipt of legitimate emails.
  • Use disposable email accounts: Consider using disposable email accounts or masked email addresses for online activities, such as participating in forums.
  • Exercise caution: Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in emails from unknown senders.


IRONSCALES offers robust email security solutions that help protect against spam and other email-based threats. Their platform utilizes advanced technologies, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and collaborative intelligence, to detect and block spam emails effectively. Additionally, IRONSCALES provides real-time threat intelligence and automated response capabilities to mitigate spam attacks swiftly and protect organizations from the financial and reputational risks associated with spam.

Learn more about IRONSCALES enterprise email security platform here and get a demo today.

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