Saturday, June 25, 2011

SPAM email – spreading classical literature?

SPAM email has gotten quite smart in bypassing various spam filters, the funniest being the use of snippets from works of literature to pad the text, to make it look more “real”.  So it will start off by offering to increase the size of certain appendages, but then suddenly break into a snippet of Sherlock Holmes.  Sometimes these make you go “I wonder what book this comes from, I would love to read it!” – e.g. today’s SPAM from my inbox comes courtesy of two classics of literature:


The first part apparently comes from “Dracula” (what CAN’T Google find?):

"You are quite right. I did not trust you because I did not know you. But I know you now, and let me say that I should have known you long ago. I know that Lucy told you of me. She told me of you too. May I make the only atonement in my power? Take the cylinders and hear them. The first half-dozen of them are personal to me, and they will not horrify you. Then you will know me better. Dinner will by then be ready. In the meantime I shall read over some of these documents, and shall be better able to understand certain things."

The other from “Gulliver’s Travels”:

“And, therefore, when he was again about to move, I screamed as loud as fear could make me. Whereupon the huge creature trod short, and looking round about under him for some time, at last espied me as I lay on the ground. He considered awhile, with the caution of one who endeavors to lay hold on a small dangerous animal in such a manner that it shall not be able either to scratch or to bite him, as I myself have sometimes done with a weasel in England.”

Now I imagine they’ve had go from doing full paragraphs ripped out of Project Gutenberg either to chopped sentences either because filters in places like GMail are smart enough to look for longer Gutenberg matches, or to save space.  Or both.  Would love to find a site charting the evolution of countermeasures employed in SPAM to bypass various filters.  Maybe the final step in SPAM will be the evolution of AI to appear like a genuine unique email about a subject?