Spam FAQ

14 April 2008

What is spam?

Spam - named after a processed ham product - is unsolicited commercial email sent to millions of users. It is named after a Monty Python sketch, in which the word is repeated incessantly.

Is it a big problem?

Pretty much. With over 90 billion spam emails sent every day globally, it's a serious bandwidth hog, costing internet users time, money and temperance.

How badly is UCT affected?

In March, the mail system received more than 3.8 million email messages, with nearly 2.9 million of these rejected by the spam filters. This was "a quiet month" according the Pierre Neethling, Core Business Services team leader at Information and Communication Technology Services.

How bad does it get?

During the worst months, spam ratios can go higher than 1:6 - meaning that for every message delivered, another six are rejected as spam.

So why do I still receive spam?

Not all spam can be blocked because spammers are constantly changing their strategies and coming up with new tricks to fool the filters. These methods are blocked as soon as they're identified.

What should I do when I receive spam?

Don't respond - any information you send can be used against you. Just delete it.

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