These friends are neither Romans nor countrymen; shall I lend them an ear or my wallet?

By Joel Shore, |  Business

Today, I'd like to introduce you to some of my new friends. You'll have to forgive them; they all seem to have rather unusual names, and they all apparently like to use their middle initial. Some of these new friends are named Squirmiest U. Sandiness, Bulldogged M. Rangers, Coleen L. Astound, Strobes I. Assimilating, Disorderliness H. Interchanges, Brunting K. Inconspicuously, and Trade C. Effacing.

These friends are constantly sending me e-mail, telling me how I can get prescription medications at amazingly low prices. It's good to know that the world is blessed with so many kind, compassionate people, watching out for my health and well-being.

Showdown H. Salween, Silenter E. Funkier, Get S. Culminating, and Lodestars F. Dorothy are some other new friends who have been sending me identical e-mail messages.

But wait, there's more. Banks continually send me e-mail, asking me to logon and update my personal data. The only problem with that is, I don't have accounts at any of these banks. I've never heard of some of them. And then there's eBay and PayPal, alerting me that my accounts are the victim of fraudulent access. I know that eBay and PayPal are concerned, but they seem to always send these messages to e-mail addresses of mine that have no accounts associated with them. Strange, very strange.

And I nearly forgot about Permeability E. Erwin, Emanuel D. Supplied, Pole B. Clamp, Rosario P. Goins, Misjudgment G. Goal, Orbital V. Coroners, Transfinite C. Psalms, and Covenanting L. Enigmatically. They've been sending me lots of messages about those prescription drugs, too.

I sleep better at night, knowing I have so many compassionate friends.

But I did a little math over the past couple of weeks. Of the 3,286 e-mail messages received by all of my e-mail accounts, 3,089 of them --- fully 94 percent --- were from these friends, banks, eBay, PayPal, or others asking me to provide personal information, change passwords, alert me to suspicious account activity, or simply sell me something (how much printer ink does anyone need?).

And let us not forget Gibson H. Inflects, Forages K. Spuriousness, Rushed F. Truth, and Bolshevism H. Rigidly.

So there you have it. I'm lucky to have so many friends. And so too are the vendors that make the products in our network and our clients' networks. We've purchased more bandwidth, added a more-powerful enterprise anti-spam solution, installed additional intrusion-protection measures, acquired software to monitor outgoing e-mail, and increased storage capacity. All of this must be managed, too. That's good for the economy, helping to lower the unemployment rate.

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