Most small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) today will have something in place that addresses the problem of unsolicited emails or “spam” as we have come to understand the term. Distributed by what we refer to as spambots (email-centric software programs) spam can reduce unprotected or unfiltered computing power to a crawl under a deluge of unwanted messages.
At its most innocuous level, spam is simply annoying; but at its most harmful spam can be used to smuggle damaging malware into your systems through doctored documents, links or attachments of any shape or form. It is this danger factor that we need to remember when we now look to the increasing prevalence of so-called Internet BACN (or bacn).
What is bacn?
The term bacn itself has been coined due to this content’s proximity to both spam and that data which we might actually consider to be real meat i.e. information that we genuinely want to get hold of. In a recent article the BBC describes Bacn as the comparatively innocent looking newsletter style messages, user group updates, notifications, limited special offers and all manner of “special alerts” that traverse the pathways of the Internet on a daily basis.
Most of us can spot bacn with not much more than a quick glance at our inbox; but falling between two stools of real junk and real messages makes bacn harder to trim off. Although many online webmail services (including Gmail and Hotmail) now provide filters and “rules” to remove newsletter-style bacn out of a user’s line of sight automatically, its wider presence is still felt by millions of users everyday.
The problem is that all of us have the occasional taste for bacn and do in fact positively sign up to receive it in the first place.
Many small to medium sized business employees will sign up to receive regular updates from product sales groups, business community opportunity signboards and other socially- or commercially-driven information sharing vehicles. So this is content that we ourselves have already welcomed and confirmed an interest in.
The danger factor here comes from the potential for this channel to be compromised with malware, especially when many of these updates will typically come from (or appear to come from) partners, suppliers, industry bodies and known entities.
It is not hard to disguise spam as bacn
Both items fall into the same basic food group as it were, so it is not hard to disguise spam as bacn – and this is the pain point that SMBs need to do something about.
Firms should first control and limit the amount of bacn flowing into their employees’ inboxes across desktop, mobile and cloud-based computing environments. By tuning email filters and applying malware protection technologies here, companies can keep their data assets protected appropriately.
By taking back control of bacn firms also have the opportunity to quantify and qualify the amount of bacn-type content being consumed by employees. There are direct productivity implications if staff members treat themselves to too much bacn every day when they should be performing more work tasks.
Everybody knows that bacon can be very tasty but too much is bad for you, the same applies to bacn. Check whether you have the right email filtering and antivirus protection technologies and if not make some changes so that everyone knows they need to trim the fat.
April 3, 2013