I’ve noticed a new subset of blog spam over the past few months: Jokes. Instead of just filling the comment with links to the spamvertized site, it’ll either leave the the link in the author URL field, or toss a couple links in at the end, but the bulk of the comment will actually be a joke.
Generally they tend to be story-type jokes, the kind you’ll find on, say, Jumbo Joke. This is probably an effort to build up enough comedic content to overwhelm the presence of links to a porn or pillz site. A similar technique had a brief heyday maybe a year ago in email spam, though I haven’t seem many of them lately.
It’s still spam—there’s no way I’m letting those comments and links onto the site—and Spam Karma still catches them. Still, it at least makes the spamtraps a little more interesting than the endless morass of links and keywords.
On another note, I’ve been seeing a lot more email spam targeting the abuse contacts lately. I don’t know what they think they’re accomplishing, since the people reading abuse@wherever are most likely to report them and least likely to buy from them. I mean, “Greetings Abuse!!!” doesn’t seem an effective way to begin a sales pitch.
We’ve got a pretty good spam filter at work – it’s a fairly large company. But what’s been getting through lately is just a weird jumble of sentences that look like they’ve been pulled out of the middle of a book or someone’s personal correspondance, accompanied by a graphic of what the sender is selling (lately it’s been primarily stock and pharmaceuticals). It even looks like a personal e-mail (moreso than the regular spam) when it’s sitting in your inbox.
Yeah, the image-based spams have made a huge jump in popularity lately, especially with pump-and-dump stock spams.
An interesting arms race erupted a couple of weeks ago when people started tying OCR programs into SpamAssassin. At least one spammer was clearly following the trend, because the spams started showing up with different fonts, with random noise in the images, or distorted like CAPTCHAs. Eventually they started using animated GIFs with several frames of static to throw off the OCR. The weirdest example so far has been the spam with “BUY! BUY!” instead of static, which John Graham-Cumming described (somewhat inaccurately) as subliminal advertising in spam.