I get quite a lot of spam.

Less, I'm sure, than many people, but it still pitter-pats into my account at a rate of around one message every three minutes - and that's after it's passed through SecureWebs' spam blocker. That blocker is deliberately set "loose", to make sure it stops virtually no legitimate mail; SecureWebs claim it catches something in the order of 75% of all spam.

So probably actually gets around 75 spams per hour.

My own anti-spam solution remains MailWasher, which I reviewed ages ago. The current version of MailWasher is a good straightforward client-side Windows spam-catcher for people, like me, who want to be able to zap the spam on the server, but also eyeball the headers of the messages first so I can make sure I'm not trashing letters from people whose ISP has just happened to drop onto some DNSBL or other.

I have two other e-mail addresses, from two different ISPs. One ISP uses Ironport and Brightmail spam filtering, through which no spam at all has ever penetrated; almost all of the mail I get to that address is from mailing lists, and I don't remember ever noticing any legitimate-mail bounces - but you usually never know about them, of course, because the bounce-ee can't tell you. I don't think the other ISP has any server-side spam filtering at all, and I get a constant trickle of the stuff via that address as a result.

MailWasher still has its own stupid bounce generator, which allows you to send fake bounce messages to the "sender" of the spam to try to trick them into thinking that your address does not exist. That'd be a great idea if the apparent sender was very often the actual sender, and if spammers bothered to weed dead addresses out of their mailing lists. Since neither of those things is actually true, though, the bounce feature is just an annoying waste of time and bandwidth.

Apart from that, MailWasher works fine.

Spam statistics

And provides decorative statistics.

I do my best to derive as much entertainment as possible from any situation in which I find myself, so you can look forward to a few posts here about the more spamtastic (or spamtacular) items that make it to my attention.

First subject: Odd words for "good".

Spammers thesaurusise their spam to get around word-match filters, which is why you get all of those aphasic spams whose actual intended meaning is very difficult to determine.

One particularly obvious example of this is the spam, I think usually from people who speak little or no English anyway, in which completely bizarre words are used to mean "good", or at least "attractive".

Like "killing", for instance. Which gives rise to subject lines like "killing Bitch at Porrn", which is not advertising anything quite as alarming as you might at first think.

We may also never know how many people have been exhorted to visit a particular site to see a "scenic Bitch".

And then there's "Punctilious", which I do not think means what they think it means.

And my very favourite, "Goluptious", which actually is a real word, and even means just what the spammers think it means, but is so obscure that it, by itself, can now serve as a 99.9%-effective spam indicator.

What're your favourite Words (And Word Combinations) Found Only In Spam?

Posted in Spam. 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “Spamtastic!”

  1. JL Says:

    I don't recall any interesting words, though I seldom read my spam anymore. I can usually pick them out as spam just by reading the title alone and they usually get shredded right after I've done that.

    What I generally find amusing these days are the e-mails from 'Mrs. Barister' or some other widow about vast sums of cash just waiting to be given away for whatever reason. Also the lottery winning notifications. Just received one a few minutes ago telling me I'd won a million dollars from The Coca Cola company from a draw held by "Coca-Cola in conjunction with the British American Tobacco".

    It pains me that these exist simply because people are actually clicking on them or sending in their personal information. I wonder just who gets duped into these blatent pieces of fraud.

    I also wonder if these are actually written by people or just endlessly generated with substituted key fields.

    By the way, welcome to the world of blogging. It's nice to see more of you.

  2. bryn Says:

    Where does iiNet say they use Ironport? Thats very interesting.

  3. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Bryn: IInet say they use Ironport in every e-mail received by their servers :-).

    The relevant lines they added to a test message I just sent to myself:

    X-BrightmailFiltered: true
    X-Brightmail-Tracker: AAAAAA==
    X-IronPort-AV: i="4.09,314,1157299200";
    d="scan'208"; a="17897081:sNHT17677806"

  4. marius-the-mad Says:

    I'll just quote the subject. ;) Re: Re: Hi. My name is Viagra That simply... amazed... me for several reasons. :)

  5. Randon Tain Says:

    My personal favorite was a subject title of: "Freaking hardcore Boat" it was the usual porn spam but wow, what would that boat look like anyway?

  6. mechaniker Says:

    For example one in my inbox right now: Expletive UpMy - could

    I really would love to know what kind of idiots actually open email like this. I might understand it if they only got an email twice a week from their grown up kids and suddenly they get this email... "Oh wow someone emailed me!". But really...

  7. magetoo Says:

    It might just be an artifact of having the mailserver filter out the majority of spam, but what gets through to me is almost always snippets of unrelated and indecipherable (but real-looking) text designed to defeat bayesian filters, with some picture attached.

    Presumably these pictures are worth a thousand words (or at least those in the body of the message); but I suppose it is more likely it's the same old "buy Viagra online" stuff.

    Anyways, it's easy to filter out I suppose. It helps that I'm using a text-only client and that my mail provider won't show HTML messages by default.

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