Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Interesting spam

Has anybody else been getting spam e-mails in the form of surrealistic, nonsensical but intriguingly involved fiction? With some of the words run together? As though the ghost of James Joyce were in the machine?

Pretty Lady is still mildly appreciative of creative anonymity, having been in the past the sort of temporary office worker who would write odd little poems and vignettes, and email them to the White House, or scribble them on Post-its and distribute them in odd places around the office, or store them on the hard drive in hidden files. Any spam with no obvious marketing agenda is, at least, a step up. Though she will retract her words if her screen starts spouting gibberish all by itself, next time she boots up.

8 comments:

thimscool said...

It is an attempt to evade the filters. Usually there is some link that you might click. Spammers operate under the assumption that much less than 1% of their net will catch anyone.

prettylady said...

That's the odd thing--these don't contain any links. They got so caught up in filter-avoidance they forgot to market!

Morris said...

Do they have any attachments, PL?

If they do, it could be malware droppers. Organised crime are using spam a lot these days to try to get any kind of malicious files (keyloggers, etc) on our machines. If you don't already, I would suggest using software that enables you to view all email on your ISP's server and delete it there if it's unwanted - before it ever gets near your machine.

prettylady said...

No attachments, either. Those get deleted unread. What do you take me for?

I use Yahoo. Their spam and virus filters are the best I've found.

Morris said...

Didn't mean to insult your intelligence, PL. It might surprise you to find out just how many otherwise intelligent and well educated people don't take care online. I was just asking, OK?

mitzibel said...

morris is absolutely right. Having worked tech support, I'm convinced that most people put computer care and maintenance up there with car repair---you wouldn't automatically assume that an otherwise intelligent and educated person knows how to rebuild their own carbeurator, would you?

Anonymous said...

the nature of most of these messages leads me to challenge their commercial intent...especially when they are promoting penny stocks that aren't even registered on the stock market. i spend some of my time studying the content and looking for signal, as i do wonder if any of this parallels amnesty international's very cool "irrepressible" campaign.

there's a curious parity in skills/technique in terms of what it takes to jump past a spam filter, and what it takes to jump past any other kind of filter (e.g. oppressive censorship). in this respect, china may be more a state of mind than an actual country, and we all live there to some extent.

i advise bcc'ing one's own accounts when you send mail on the internet. if you are writing from gmail.com to someone on hotmail.com, then bcc: your own hotmail.com address to check the message made it across the network. you'd be surprised what sorts of things will get an otherwise coherent and important message sent to the garbage.

you might consider the occasional deliberate disruption. throw in a few random "oft-censored" words to the end of your email title...or in an invisible font at the bottom of your messages. it won't hurt anything and can serve as a sanity check. grab a sentence or two of marketing-speak or a spam link and attach it as a signature to the bottom of your message.

it's kind of like the argument of having kids exposed to dirt and germs in order to build their immune system, as opposed to treating everything with antibiotics. save the antibiotics for emergencies, or they'll stop working! the occasional disruption of links and speaking in code ensures that "banned" services can be found by those who are looking for them

all just theories of mine, but i thank you for reading.

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