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Spam tactics

Isn't it weird how the very devices which the proponents of spam use to get past automatic filtering systems also make their emails instantly identifiable as spam to human beings?

I just got an email on the Oxgoths mailing list from a sender named 'Debian-user', with an attachment, entitled:

"[oxgoths] Smile to see the world becomes better! ;-) flake"

Of course one does expect to get email from people one doesn't know on a mailing list. The username 'Debian-user' did sound a bit spurious, but then the goth world is replete with geeky people who use all kinds of languages, programs, etc, which I have never heard of. But the real reason I didn't open it was the appearance of the random word 'flake' on the end of the header: a common spammers' trick which instantly identified it (and its attachment) as unwanted.

I don't know why they do this, incidentally: I just know from the other spam I get that they do. Maybe some filters only look at the last word of the header, so something random and innocuous at that point will throw them off the scent?

Anyway, I suppose the coveted goal of the spam-merchants is to find a way of tricking both machines and humans. Doubtless they'll find a way, eventually...

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
kaz_pixie
Jul. 5th, 2004 07:37 am (UTC)
it does seem highly ridiculous though - i mean when you get a random catalogue email or from amazon or something, unless there's something you want in the first place then you delete the email without even opening it.
I don't open emails if i don't know who they're from.
diffrentcolours
Jul. 5th, 2004 08:10 am (UTC)
The attachment is added by the list server, and basically says "I think this message is spam, here's why". It's just as well that it doesn't try to delete spam since for some strange reason a lot of Hugh's mail to the list gets flagged as well.

It'd be possible to only accept e-mail to the list from people who are subscribed to it, but this has some disadvantages.
stompyboots
Jul. 5th, 2004 08:22 am (UTC)
for some strange reason a lot of Hugh's mail to the list gets flagged

That'd be Hugh's unconventional approach to writing, methinks. The number of texts I've received from him that only make sense when read aloud, very quickly, in a Northern accent . . .
strange_complex
Jul. 5th, 2004 08:49 am (UTC)
The attachment is added by the list server, and basically says "I think this message is spam, here's why".

Ah right, sensible. Having not even opened the message, I didn't know this.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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