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Web Stalkers
Chapter 13 - Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

Using Spam Control Programs

As might be expected, there are various techniques employed by anti-spam programs to achieve the goal of reducing spam.  One method defines a list of words that are often used in spam messages and then scans the incoming e-mail for those words.  If a message contains too many of the words on the list, the message will be identified as spam and then dealt with accordingly.  A second method compiles a list of known spam senders and automatically deletes any message received from a target address.

Both methods have their limitations.  The word list variation is particularly weak for two primary reasons.  First, the word list rule is extremely easy for spammers to get around.  All that is necessary to skirt the word list filter is to modify a word in any way that obscures the ability of the filter to identify it as a target word.

This is, in fact, the same method introduced earlier as a way to make an e-mail address non-machine-readable.  For example, the sender of spam e-mail targeting dog owners may choose to use the representation “d0gs” when the word dog is intended. The meaning is clearly communicated, and the spam filter cannot pick up the target word because it is not present.  There are thousands of variations on this theme that are used every day to defeat word list spam filters.

The second primary weakness of the word list filter method is that it is impossible to identify words that will appear exclusively in spam messages.  A spam message highlighting a pornographic website may contain the word “breast.”  A word list spam filter configured to delete messages containing the target word would indeed deal with the incoming spam; yet, it would also delete a message regarding a local fundraising event for breast cancer research.


The above text is an excerpt from:

Web Stalkers
Protect yourself from Internet Criminals & Psychopaths
ISBN 0-97-45993-9-5

by Donald K. Burleson, Stephen Andert
 

http://www.rampant-books.com/book_2004_2_stalkers.htm


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