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Saturday, May 17, 2008

The New Kind of Spam

Spam technology evolves all the time.


Back in the early days of emails, the spams were just unsolicited promotional materials. It involved only lines of texts, asked you to try out a new medicine, or promised a new way to riches. It wasn't even spam exactly, because it was not that annoying. All you got was just promotional materials. The email promotional method was clearly working, it was cheap, and people were evidently responding to the spams, so a lot of companies started to send their promotional materials via email.

And that's the problem, so we called it spam.

But no one wanted his mailbox flooded by an avalanche of unwanted emails. So email providers ( except Microsoft Outlook) rushed to provide spam filters to stop all the unwanted mails from reaching the inbox. But whenever the spam filters found a way to curb spams, the spammers would devise another trick to defeat the spam filters. It was a never ending game.

Spam filters blocked all the spamlike keywords? No problem, spammers would just misspell the words. Spam filters knew aliasing? Throw in a lot of unrelated texts but higlighted the meat portion so that the human readers can grasp the main part but the computer can't. Spam filters blacklisted the IPs? Easy, just masked the IP.

Spam was such a big problem that Bill Gates, in 2004, declared war on spam and predicted that Microsoft would achieve victory by 2006.

But it was Google, with Gmail that really solved the spamming problem. One of the strong selling points of Gmail is that it has a better spam filter. Having using Gmail for past 3 years, I can attest that.

If you need hard evidence, here it is:


Seeing that text messages had a hard time passing through the spam filters, the spammers came up with a new trick: image spam. Image spam is just a spam message embedded in image format and attached in an email. Since spam filters can't decipher image, the image spam should be able to beat the spam filters easily.

But unfortunately, the good times for image spam didn't last long. In fact I didn't think that it was a problem at all because I didn't receive any of them. Gmail filter was so powerful that it defeated the image spam before the image spam became a prevalent scourge.

But I still peeked into the spam box ocassionally, just to see whether there was any false negative. Gmail isn't just good in putting spam into the spam box, it is also good in not putting non-spam into the spam box. But occasionally it makes mistakes, so I need to do something to rectify it.

I was elated when I saw this message in my spam box.

Wowa! New kind of spam! There is no text, no image, no subject, no recipient and no sender! Which begs the question of what is the purpose of this spam!?The whole purpose of spamming is to draw customers to buy a thing or two from you, or, at the very least, get them to visit your website. But in this case I can't even do that if I want to.

The ultimate spam is no spam.

But still, Gmail puts it into my spam box, which is a correct decision.

That's why Gmail is good!

2 comments:

lotto said...

To the owner of this blog, how far youve come?

Anonymous said...

Some hidden agenda man... Try to copy all at the blank space. Paste it onto MWords. Maybe it can shed some light? Hehe... Selling nothing is something...