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Old 01-05-2007, 01:51 PM   #1
Cage47
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What is the purpose of these emails?


We've all gotten them at some time. Those damn emails full of nonsense groupings of words or sentances. What is the purppose of these things. Are they just random garbage spit out by some zombie machine or are they coded in some way to exploit some obscure vulnerability? I get them enough to be annoying and wonder why is email bandwith being run down with such garbage with no discernable reason?
 
Old 01-05-2007, 02:03 PM   #2
MensaWater
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The purpose is to try to fool spam filters. Typically the email will have some minimally disguised spam e.g.

"Bye v - ii - a - g - r - uh cheeep"

The message is clear enough. Many spam filters learn to recognize spam by certain keywords or even doing cksums of the message so by adding extra text that seems real the spam filter doesn't recognize it and it gets through. What amazes me is that there are enough morons in the world that would actually buy a product from an email like this to make it worthwhile.

One trick they were doing is putting in pictures rather than text . Once spam filters started doing the checksums even those could be recognized. More recently I've seen spam getting through because they've done a combination of the picture and the random text.
 
Old 01-05-2007, 03:08 PM   #3
Cage47
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No No No. I know those emails. I'm talking about emails that have things like

"And he on retribution from the esite lost focus and the buffalo roamed clear across many times the size."

(Not an acutal email, just an example)

What is the purpose of some crap like this. I mean unless there's an underlying hidden worm or malicious code these things do nothing more than take up space and bandwidth and mailbox room. I'm not talking about those messages with images. I understand that ploy.
 
Old 01-05-2007, 04:00 PM   #4
trickykid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cage47
No No No. I know those emails. I'm talking about emails that have things like

"And he on retribution from the esite lost focus and the buffalo roamed clear across many times the size."

(Not an acutal email, just an example)

What is the purpose of some crap like this. I mean unless there's an underlying hidden worm or malicious code these things do nothing more than take up space and bandwidth and mailbox room. I'm not talking about those messages with images. I understand that ploy.
I would assume such emails have some type of tracking mechanism in them to see how many open them. There are plenty of tricks that spammers or marketing groups will use to see how many actually open the email, view, click on links, etc. One trick I know of is emails that contain a 1px transparent image that is pulled from a remote server to track the email, etc.. Kind of clever but too bad it's for all the wrong reasons.

But then again, you open and it tracks it, just tells them it's a real email being opened by an end user..
 
Old 01-05-2007, 04:19 PM   #5
AdaHacker
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It's most likely an attempt to poison Bayesian spam filters.

Bayesian filters work by examining the words in a message and determining how likely they are to be related to spam. The filtering program will keep a database of these statistics based on messages that the user has received and classified as spam or not spam.

These nonsense messages are meant to throw off those statistics, thus reducing the usefulness of Bayesian filters. The idea is that sending spam with the kind of words you'd find in a normal e-mail will cause the filter to associate those words more strongly with spam, causing more false positives and ultimately forcing people away form Bayesian filters.

How effective this is in practice, I don't know. If you're interested the Wikipedia entry on the subject is a good read.
 
  


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