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This is why your Outlook might have been flooded with spam this week

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Spam email messages are bizarre.

Think about it. Someone out there with a pretty decent understand of email systems is firing off strings of poorly constructed messages in the hope of getting a clueless internet user to share their bank details or password. From African princes to Viagra miracles, they are the digital equivalent to anonymous post offering you 'The Greatest Credit Card In History'. 

We never knew just how much of it was still kicking about the web until Tuesday 31 May, when Microsoft experienced what is technically referred to as a 'whoopsie': their email filters for Outlook and Hotmail users sort of stopped working.

"Some users may be receiving excessive spam mail," declared a Microsoft service health page.

This writer logged on to his own Outlook account to find an inbox swimming with 60 junk messages, all promising riches, job success, and the sexual prowess of a rutting stag. Twitter began filling up with users complaining of a similar issue...

Microsoft apparently sorted the issue within hours, putting two sets of fixes in to resolve the filter issue and improve its own infrastructure. 

There are two lessons to be learned from the blunder: firstly, that we're very grateful that Microsoft's filters usually work, else we'd be knee deep in a cesspit of spam. Secondly, that we've discovered nine long lost family members, who've all left us in the region of $10,000,000 in inheritance. As soon as the lawyer wires us the money, we'll be off to spend it on cheap Viagra and promising time shares. 

(Image: Shutterstock)

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