Ministry of Propaganda

Ministry of Propaganda - 04/Feb/2004: "Unstoppable Spam?"

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Unstoppable Spam?

When I first read the headline I got a bit worried, as a researcher seems to claim to have found a way to make spam unstoppable. On closer reading this isn't really the case:

In a nutshell a spammer would have to identify a set of specific words which always make it past the Bayesian filter an individual uses. Obviously these words are different for every person (as the filter is based on the specific words the individual person regards as "good"), which would mean quite a lot of work for the spammer. Also the spammer would have to embed "web bugs" (i.e. tiny images loaded from his website) into the e-mails to know which ones managed to get through the filter. Well, any half way decent e-mail client doesn't load pictures from the web, mine certainly doesn't. Even MS Outlook allows to turn that off (at least in the latest version). So you don't necessarily have to turn the preview off as the report claims.

May be not time to lean back and relax in the fight against spam, but at least a sigh of relief that the researcher only found a theoretical way. Oh, and while I'm finishing this entry my spam filter indicates that he just moved another one into the spam folder ;-)

End of entry

Entry trivia

Dodgy picture of the moment:

None yet, but I'll probably have one later.

End of entry trivia

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