In the 1930s, the US psychologist Abraham Maslow formulated a theory that according to which, everybody has a series of basic needs that must be covered in a certain order, so that until one has been covered, the next cannot be fulfilled.
These needs start with the most basic physiological needs, such as satisfying hunger and thirst, maintaining an adequate body temperature, etc. If one of these needs is not fulfilled, as it is a basic need, it will take priority over the rest. The next level includes security and safety needs. It reflects everybody’s need to feel safe and protected. In the Western world, they include having a decent home, living in an adequate area of a city, regular employment, etc. The third level of the Maslow pyramid includes social needs, affection, belonging, and acceptance. These needs cover friendship, love, social recognition, etc. The fourth and penultimate levels reflect esteem, recognition of the individual for the tasks carried out, such as work or study. The tip of the pyramid is self-actualization. These are the highest needs, the needs that help the individual to find a meaning in life, and include philosophical and religious experiences.
As the Romans confirmed centuries before in their motto “primum vivere deinde philosophari” (Live first, then, philosophize), this philosophy leaves the priorities of the individual very clear. But, what does this have to do with malware?
Spammers target several layers of the Maslow pyramid with a wide range of email messages. If you stop for a moment to think about the history of spam, you will be able to see what messages users have received.