Parenthetically, when I started writing this post I was trying to remember the name of that little bird that rides on top of the rhinocerous. It turned out to not be the best metaphor to use, because, as I remembered, the rhino and the tickbird have a symbiotic, rather than parasitic, relationship. A more fitting metaphor for spammers might be a tapeworm, or some kind of viral infection. In any case, I mention it just to point out that when I typed in “bird on rhinocerous,” Google led me to this truly illuminating page on

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Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner