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Unsolicited Bulk Email (UBE) is email that is unwanted or not requested by the recipient and sent in large quantities (in bulk).
Most UBE is for advertising purposes and costs the advertisers little or nothing to distribute. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may obtain lists blocking the most persistent UBE senders. This protects customers from unwanted, annoying and sometimes harmful UBEs.
This term is commonly known as email spam.
Unsolicited bulk email is not only annoying to users but is a serious security threat due to its use in spreading viruses or launching phishing attacks. ISPs are becoming increasingly proactive in reducing unsolicited bulk email received by their customers. Much spam sent nowadays is sent through botnets, which are robot networks or a collection of computers that have been taken over by hackers.
UBE and UCE (Unsolicited Commerical Email) are generally used synonymously, though UCE has a more specific legal definition based on its regulation by the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S.