Internet Business 

Given its history as a  university  sponsored research tool, most users do not welcome blatant commercialism on the Internet. Heavy advertising ("spamming") or nasty messages ("flaming") are especially likely to evoke negative reactions. 

Advertising on the Internet 

Advertising is acceptable  on the Internet under limited conditions. Web pages that provide informations as well as sell it have a significantly higher access rate - and result in higher sales - than ones that advertise only. If you wish to advertise, be careful to avoid flooding newsgroups and mailing lists with commercial messages, a ploy called "spamming". 

One of the first spamming incidents occurred in 1994 when several lawyers sent a message advertising their immigration services to more than 6,000 newsgroups. The lawyers were bombarded with thousands of angry email messages, resulting in the crash of dropped the firm from its service. 

A more recent case of spamming involves a suspect who had his computer account at a college campus revoked after other students complained that he had been using  his account for advertising purposes. The suspect then allegedly retaliated by sending tens of thousands of electronic messages from a commercial account to the system on which he had had the account, causing that system to  be unusable. Although this case has not gone to trial, it shows that social issues such as spamming can also have legal consequences. 

Using signature blocks is an acceptable way to supply information about your company that is not considered to be advertising. Normally, about five or six lines long, signature blocks  are attached to the end of email messages or USENET postings, and contain a user's name, address, telephone number,  Internet address, company name, and blurb about the company's line of business. Some mailers can create signature files and automatically attach them to the end of each email message. Companies that plan to use signature files should provide employees with an acceptable version in their company AUP. 

Flaming on the Internet 

Flaming on the Internet is unacceptable. Sending nasty messages via email or posting similar messages to newsgroups is not viewed as professional and, more important, may negatively reflect on the originating user's company. Because anyone can read newsgroups postings, "flames" are extremely visible, using them from company provided accounts should be prohibited. Putting disclaimer statements such as  the following at the beginning of bulletin board posting or email messages is highly recommended : 

Any comments or statements made in this message are not necessarily those of the firm, its subsidiaries,  or affiliates, but exclusively represent the opinions of the author.


Network Etiquette 

Network etiquette on the Internet (also known as "netiquette") is an unwritten convention that has been established over time. To become more familiar with netiquette, read past postings on a newsgroup to become familiar with the culture of the group before posting any comments. Topic-specific, informational documents called frequently asked questions (FAQs) are also available  online. If  you access other sites, look for any AUP or readme.doc that covers general use guidelines. They may include rules relating to  the particular use of  TCP/IP services  such as FTP, telnet, and USENET news at that site. 

Failing to follow network etiquette could anger one or more users sufficiently to trigger a security incident against your company's computers. Because employees may not fully understand what it is, develop a policy on network etiquette and reinforce it as part of an enterprise wide educational and training program on securely using the Internet. 

References :  
Terry Bernstein, Anish B. Bhimani, Eugene Schultz, Carol A. Siegel, Internet Security for Business, Wiley Computer Publishing, John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1996

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