Are you tired of Gutenspam?

Sunday, July 9th, 2006 at 4:30 pm | 386 views | trackback url
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I’ve been seeing a sharp rise in the amount of “Gutenspam” sent to my mail servers lately. It started as innocent garbage paragraphs buried in HTML comment structures, so if you viewed it in a normal mail client that “rendered” HTML (dangerous), it wouldn’t be visible. If you viewed the source of the email, you’d see the random snippets of public poetry, books and other materials.

Here’s an example:

perturb this carport this open phony plant crawl I eyeful
these when beograd ex place ivy them befit good income
muncie differ sheep prophet eyeful match made bull one merritt
stonecrop downpour degrade four sheep adolescent does spoon place proust
match head by about electrolyte inconsolable turn z's great pastor
baylor off sheep downpour cabinetmake ywca boy income change bull
furl calendar wreak when sis throaty change deliquesce word berserk
downpour build tribesman cubicsis inexperience late persia line muncie
z's many mud answer chef sony city ridgway now brownell

This does nothing at all, except to possibly try to confuse the filters which are searching for ‘spammy’ words, by lowering the threshold of the Bayesian filtering schemes. In the case of dspam, it does absolutely nothing, and dspam happily catches all of them and marks them as spam, quarantines them and users never see them.

But I see 100-200 per-day now, coming in. 99.514% of them are caught, but some are slipping through.

There was a story on NPR the other morning about how these spammers are just taking public works from projects like Project Gutenberg and including them in their email body.

But they’re not selling anything.

No links to some Viagra site in Singapore.

Nothing useful, except garbage random snippets from etexts and other literary works on the web.

Gutenspam.

The other funny trend I’ve been seeing, as more and more people are exposed to spam, is the emails which come across looking like this:

Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2006 10:50:11 -0400
From: "Al B. Sure" 
To: David A. Desrosiers 
Subject: RE:%%SUBJECT%%

%%BODY%%

The funny part about this, is that it too has no useful content at all, just some unpopulated macros. Its like there are more people trying to use some of the newer spam applications, and these people don’t have a clue what they’re doing with them.

They’ve probably forgotten to add their text to the e-mails to fill in these macros, or are just not reading the documentation on how to successfully send their spam to people.

What a waste of perfectly good oxygen recycling organisms.

Last Modified: Sunday, July 9th, 2006 @ 16:30

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