Recent increases in spam mail can be traced to botnets. According to Leo Notenboom, “a botnet is a networked collection of computers infected with software that can be remotely controlled to awaken and perform some task. Typically that task is to send email. Lots of email. Lots of spam.” You can protect yourself from getting infected by running anti-spyware and anti-virus software, and keeping it updated. Learn more from Ask Leo.
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Feldman, Barbara. "What is a Botnet?." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 23 Jan. 2007. Web. 17 Sep. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/7/what-is-a-botnet/ >.