Adventures in spam

I had an interesting piece of spam waiting in my Intelliware inbox this morning. Since I’m old-school, as the kids may or may not say, I always read my email as plain text. So this piece of spam, which got through the spam filter here, looked like a PNG file attached to a text message.

The PNG file was a screenshot of some Courier text advertising a pump and dump scam. But reading the text message was the interesting part. It was a bunch of sentence fragments such as this one:

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his stunningly clever use of Command,so you look to Design Patterns–the lessonsscience, and learning theory, of Design Patterns

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Some googling brought me to this. The text snippets “stunningly clever use of Command”, “so you look to Design Patterns–the lessons”, “science, and learning theory,” and “of Design Patterns” all appear in the Overview of Head First Design Patterns.

To the average reader who views the PNG file inline, the scam message appears to be the first part of the message, followed by semi-understandable text snippets. To the spam filter, it appears to be an image file (that it obviously can’t read) and some text that may be legitimate.

I’m sure that this method of hiding spam in image files is quite well known, but it was the particular camouflage text that surrounded the image that caught my attention. I can see why the spam filter let it pass – it sounds kind of like a conversation that might occur in a project room here. Well, not my project room, but one of those yappy ones.

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