Tech Terms | Abbreviations A–Z
Electronic Mail, E-Mail, Email, Email Spam, eSIM
is a method of exchanging messages ("mail") between people using electronic devices. Email entered limited use in the 1960s, but users could only send to users of the same computer, and some early email systems required the author and the recipient to both be online simultaneously, similar to instant messaging. Ray Tomlinson is credited as the inventor of email; in 1971, he developed the first system able to send mail between users on different hosts across the ARPANET, using the @ sign to link the user name with a destination server. By the mid-1970s, this was the form recognized as email.
Email operates across computer networks, primarily the Internet. Today's email systems are based on a store-and-forward model. Email servers accept, forward, deliver, and store messages. Neither the users nor their computers are required to be online simultaneously; they need to connect, typically to a mail server or a webmail interface to send or receive messages or download it.
Originally an ASCII text-only communications medium, Internet email was extended by Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) to carry text in other character sets and multimedia content attachments. International email, with internationalized email addresses using UTF-8, is standardized but not widely adopted.
The history of modern Internet email services reaches back to the early ARPANET, with standards for encoding email messages published as early as 1973 (RFC 561). An email message sent in the early 1970s is similar to a basic email sent today.
The name comes from Monty Python sketch in which Spam is ubiquitous, unavoidable, and repetitive. Email spam has steadily grown since the early 1990s, and by 2014 was estimated to account for around 90% of total email traffic.
The legal definition and status of spam varies from one jurisdiction to another, but nowhere have laws and lawsuits been particularly successful in stemming spam.
Most email spam messages are commercial in nature. Whether commercial or not, many are not only annoying, but also dangerous because they may contain links that lead to phishing web sites or sites that are hosting malware – or include malware as file attachments.
Spammers collect email addresses from chat rooms, websites, customer lists, newsgroups, and viruses that harvest users' address books. These collected email addresses are sometimes also sold to other spammers.
(abbr.): embedded SIM. Space-saving soldered on the board. An eSIM can be loaded with several tariffs from various mobile service providers. The desired tariff can then be activated by smartphone software. All three German network operators (Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica) support the new standard, which has quickly become established thanks to Apple's first devices with eSIM (iPhone XS, XS Max and XR).