An Agronomist view of spams in the World of Electronic – mail

Just recently, a very dear person to me was entrapped by the snare of a spam email and ripped by the thorns of phishing web-link causing him to lose a huge sum of money when he tried updating his online banking information. This was sad for him as an individual and for us friends and family because it felt like we were slapped in face and our lot taken away from us. Well, while many people may still be ignorant of spam or might be confused by the computer or programming term which it resonates, this article is written in an attempt to evangelize to other likely victim and spread the knowledge of spam in a quite humorous way- for easy understanding- by examining it under an agricultural context called weed.

Spams are like weeds while hams (non-spams) are like crop-plant/flower in the farm land of electronic mail.

Generally, the definition of weed varies depending on the context in which it is to be described because what some farmers consider a weed, others will find innocuous or even well appreciated. Truly a weed is a plant just as a crop-plant is; but there are some characteristics attributed to the former that defines the differences between both.

Weeds are unwanted or unsolicited plant that grows ubiquitously- though controllably- on croplands having a substantial share-effect on the crop plant biological, likewise economically. Weed growth and species are largely dependent on the characteristics of geo-sphere element; the lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmospheres.

Spams, on the other hand, are unsolicited or unwanted emails that make their way into our e-mail address and may leave the computer or users vulnerable or susceptible to malicious wares, virus, and phishing and so on. Spams are good online advertising tools when used honestly. However, they are often abusively used by hackers to perpetuate their cyber havoc. Spam is to hacker what a pen is to an artist.

Consequently, it is held that from 107 trillion emails in 2010, 89.1% were spams. The meaning is that we have just about 10% assurance of the authenticity of any email we get losing the rest 90 % to spam or its doubt. This probability is slimmer by today’s rating. The implication of this is more or less phenomena- considering the rave of IT fervency in the 21st Century.

Today, online means of making our ends meet and going about our day to day activities is increasingly becoming a ready-option for us all. E-commercialization is becoming fully fledged and, particularly, the revolution of e-banking has been a focal point even for spammers across developing economy like Nigeria.

However, email has been the rope that connects the two (or more) ends of the parties involved in any e-trade. Therefore, our e-commerce world’s increasingly becoming a glass house and we all need to be very careful with the stones being thrown at it by spams/junks e-mails. The health and originality of this rope (email) is almost directly proportional to the risk it stands against- spams.

Spams, like weeds, are diverse and their effect is manifested in variant ways like phishing site, malwares and viruses that are often fraud driven. The following featured facts have succeeded in affording us a good ground to homologize spams and weed;

 

Infectious: Weed are vectors as they harbor insects and diseases that are detrimental to the life of crop plant and or cropland. They are parasitic, either partially or totally, and serve as hosts for crop diseases or provide shelter for insects to overwinter on crop plants. They produce chemical substances which are toxic to crop plants and or cropland. Some weeds are poisonous and cause hazards to human beings and animals.

In the same way, spams are Infectious and can cause cyber epidemic. They are capable of disturbing the cyber space habitat as they are loaded with dangerous viruses that are meant to synchronize with the wares our computer. They are a haven of ill cyber vices that rack and ruin computer and can drag its owner or user into physiological, emotion, financial and destabilization due to the negligence or ignorance. One can be one click away from a very dicey situation just by being a victim of a ‘devil’s sent’ spam. They are like the devil who have come to steal, kill and destroy the ‘saints’ of cyber user.

Costly: Weeds are negative interferences and contaminants that generate unnecessary stress or cost to crop plant. They increase operational cost and further reduce crop yield and quality. The impact of weed is often calculated as the change in farm income and the cost of food between the current with-weeds situation and a without-weeds scenario. The overall effect of weed in this light is that it reduces the effectiveness and efficiency of the farm cycle system.

In the same way, spams make for un-conducive environment in the electronic mail world. As a result of the potential harm they cause, they become the clog in the wheel in online world cycle -particularly the business sphere. The comfort the internet ordinarily or originally affords us from the comfort of our homes have been suppressed by the extra cautions one’s required to take when online. E-commerce actors can be regarded as skating on thin ice because of how far spam has eaten deep into the protective shell of our cyber world.

Some E- commerce actors, have lost faith regarding online activities because they have gotten their fingers serious injured by the thorns of viruses and vegetative buds of phishing. In the same vein, online security has to be beefed at an extra cost just as weed also lead to increased production costs — that is, the costs of controlling them.

Viral: Weeds possess good dispersal mechanisms. They have several characteristics that enhance reproductive capability which includes high seed production, rapid seedling growth rate, and self-pollination. They multiply in soil seed banks creating future problems.

In the same way, Spams can be sent to millions of email address at a go in very few minutes.

They move at the rate of an email- just a click away. Spams are automated and can be ‘self-regeneratory’ just as weed reproduces via self-pollination. So if they haven’t reached your email, you can be rest assured they are coming sooner than you ever think.

Diverse and universal: Weeds are omnipresent. They have a global presence on cropland and they are of variant species. Weeds cannot be completely eradicated from a cropland and as such, spam cannot be completely from the eradicated from the farmland of e-world- though can be effectively controlled.

In the same way, spams usually have a presence in the e-world and come in different formats and modes of operation. Some weeds are parasitic some are intoxicant and poisonous, unhealthy, harmful and deadly. Spams can come in form of viruses, cloned phishing sites and links, malicious wares and so on.

Competitors: Weeds are relentless competitors with our crop plant. They are, by nature, often prolific and persistent. Weeds are naturally strong competitors and those weeds that can best compete always tend to dominate. They compete with market crops for resources, such as light, nutrients, and water.

In the same way, spams are competing with authentic emails in the cyberspace. They are chocking the cyber-space with unwanted and unsolicited emails thereby hampering sustainability of e-mailing system.

Though and Persistent: Weed respond rapidly to favorable growing conditions since many species can thrive under a broad range of conditions and tolerate a wide range of adverse environmental conditions, such as drought stress and soil compaction.

In the same way, spams are stubborn and repetitive like goats. They are pernicious and often find their way back into the inbox even after being spam-botted, deleted and scanned by anti viruses. They are always on edge of breaking the security systems and encrypting malwares no matter how much one tries to control them, they look for the loopholes in the walls of cyber space and in our computers ware only to creep and cause damage. Spams are dangerous intruders and very wrong visitors we shouldn’t allow to find comfort in our cyber abode.

Mistaken Identity: On the contrary, while it may be relatively easy for most people to identify a weed from their crop plant, it may be quite difficult to differentiate between a spam and a real inbox. Spams are fashioned after authentic emails and websites making them very well disguised for anyone who is unaware to spot the difference(s). They are like snakes in green grasses and always ready to hunt down any one who is naïve about them.

There goes that adage that the enemy we know is better than angel we don’t know; surely, spams are our enemies and we should/must know them to fight them and win them.

Many thanks

adebiyiadeyemi@outlook.com

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