A Weblog About Topics and Issues Discussed in the Book Spam Kings by Brian McWilliams

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February 20, 2005

Clever spammer tricks

Spam filters make junk e-mailers do desperate things. In order to sneak past filters, spammers have to write "advertisements" that are barely intelligible, let alone persuasive. And their desperation goes well beyond using camouflaged words like V14gr4.

So, what do savvy spammers today do? They provide special instructions so that recipients can decipher their encoded messages. Check out this spam that made it into my Inbox over the weekend:

Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2005 08:16:46 +0100
Message-id: <3CA10AB7.22723.8CEE549@localhost>
From: "Janice Odom"
To: bmcw@pc-radio.com
Subject: Get yourMeds now
X-Mailer: Sylpheed version 0.7.6 (GTK+ 1.2.10; i686-pc-linux-gnu)

read downwards ;)
C - V - V - V - X - S
O - I - I - A - A - O
D - C - A - L - N - M
E - O - G - I - A - A
I - D - R - U - X
N - I - A - M
E - N
Shipped to you directly from a US Pha'rmacy,
who is F'DA approved and licensed.

All pack'ages are sh'ipped with UPS and
come with a tra'cking num'ber at no cha'rge:

Copy to browser without any spaces;
usamed123. com/rx/?47

What's especially fascinating are those last two lines. The spammer expects that some recipients will be co-conspirators in this little beat-the-filters game, and will happily cut & paste & edit that URL into their browser. (Sadly, based on what we know about furtive shopping, that expectation is probably justified.)

What's next? Spam with instructions on how to print it out and read it in a mirror?

Posted by brian at February 20, 2005 9:34 PM


Sadly Russian spammers and children that write spam don't know jack about how to make a spam really work.

Yes, guys you wrote about made bank, serious bank, but in the end, those guys will lose.

Spammers that use these tactics above show that spam is like picking the bones off an already dead chicken that has been dead for a year.

It's thin pickings out there.

Jimbo JoeBob Jones

Posted by: Jimbo Jones at February 20, 2005 11:11 PM

I believe that these attempts are designed keeping in mind only the virgin internet users. No seasoned internet user would do that, but a new user, who has no idea what spam, phishing attacks, etc. is, might just copy and edit the url if it appeals to him.


Posted by: Shashank Sharma at March 1, 2005 7:46 AM


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