Spammers Adding Text From Books To Avoid Filters

from the tricks-of-the-trade dept

Every time the filters get better, spammers try to figure out a way around them. You might think that a spammer would realize if people are going through so much trouble to block them, that they’re less likely to be happy to receive the spam, but apparently that’s not the case. Instead of focusing in on the small group of people who actually are interested in spam, they’re wasting their time trying to get messages to those people who will never respond to the stuff. Anyway, according to this article, now that spammers know that some filters look for certain keywords and determine how much of the email message is likely to be spam, they’re apparently cutting and pasting the text from various classic pieces of literature right into the spam. This way, they’re figuring that since so much of the spam isn’t “spammy” the filters won’t catch it. I doubt this is going to work very well. Most spam filters look at a combination of factors, including headers, to filter out spam. Just adding more useless text on top of the actual spam should only trick a few of the most basic spam filters.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Spammers Adding Text From Books To Avoid Filters”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:


I laughed when I started reading literature in my spam folder, immediately realizing what it was an how futile it would be. I set my email client to display the text only, not the HTML. As a result most spam looks like blank messages.
Now that spammers have been putting all kinds of obviously cut-and-pasted text into the text part of the message, checking the spam folder has become entertaining. I learned about the 19th century British economy last time I looked…
Any adaptive filter should easily recognize this text as statistically different from the other kinds of email you receive. The only way the added literature would succeed is if you normally receive similar text. But even that would quickly fail as the filters learned new statistical word sets that separated the spam literature from the literature that you don’t consider spam.
I’ve been pretty impressed with POPFile, a free Bayesian filter. There’s even a cool way to integrate it into Outlook called Outclass.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...