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August 28, 2006

A New Breed Of Spam

Who said spam can't be interesting? A new breed of spam hit my mail box. They aren't the usual mails that claim they'll help solve your medical problems or win a lot of money. Not at all: they contain excerpts from famous books. I could read texts from Stendhal, Galsworthy and they are very good.

"Yes, old man, I've been washing them ever since, but I cant get them clean. The first remark from Smither confirmed the uneasiness which had taken him forth.
It was HERE we came on your mother, Jon, and our stars were crossed.
She could call tomorrow, of course, openly at Green Street, and probably NOT see him. Could so short a sound mean so much, say so much, be so startling?"

As any quality content has a price, the mail comes with an ad attached as an image: it tells me to buy stocks from PPTL. I'll take that into account the next time I'll decide to make investments.

The mail was marked as spam by Gmail and didn't come alone. All the mails had he text from the Project Gutenberg, albeit they had some parsing errors. Another interesting thing is that the phrases are in random order, so it's pretty hard to make up something meaningful.

Related: Spam art


  1. This isn't so new. I noticed this a while ago.

  2. I think the main reason for all these spam mails and spam comments on blogs which sometimes include no actual spam text or link at all (and sometimes they just link to or is that they try to confuse spam filters which learn. With all this "real" text in them, the filter behavior is weakened, and may throw more false positives or make it harder to identify real spam.

  3. Oh, they have started with quotes again. A couple a years ago they used Bible quotes.

  4. Alex, it's quite true. Earlier it used to happend once in a while. But these days, out of 20 --15 emails are SPAM in one way or the other. Most of these are "Lottery, win money, medical or claim" emails. The Claim emails are generally originated from African country's.

  5. I've been getting spam messages like this for months. I get at least 5-6 a day, with GMail's spam filter only catching one or two of them. They always contain some really weird story with misordered sentences, and always contain an image attachment. Unfortunately, their is no consistency in the attachment names or message format that I can easily make a rule to flush those out into my Spam folder. They're quite tricky and annoying, I must say.

  6. i've managed to cut down almost all of these spams with a simple filter:

    Has words: .gif
    Has attachment: checked

    i never receive GIF attachments from anyone, so it's pretty easy for me to get rid of these. Obviously, if you get GIF images from people (damn the HamsterDance!) you'll want to devise something more intricate than this.

    Upon checking my Spam and Trash folders regularly, i haven't had a single mis-fire on this and they've not bothered my Inbox at all.

    Speaking of more intricate... Anyone know of a way to create a filter along the line of:

    From: [anyone in my contacts]

    Just curious.

  7. Yeah, I noticed this a while ago too, I've gotten tons. It tricked me the first time. I was really confused. I thought: Now what does this have to do with me? Ha ha

  8. I have these all the while, I will try the gif filter suggested by Joe. Nice thinking batman!

    I use my own domain name with googlemail and yet I receive mail directed to my gmail address! WTF? I think these were all caused by Google Groups as my email can now be found by searching google: My email is found on Microsoft support forums when I originally posted my comments on Google Groups!

    Thanks Google groups!


  9. Well, something i have noticed the last few months are some SPAM emails which fool the Gmail's Spam Filter and pass into my Inbox. These mails contain in their title the word *SPAM* (including the stars). Have you ever seen any of these?

  10. This is called word salad. "Word salad is a mixture of seemingly meaningful words that together signify nothing; the phrase draws its name from the common name for a symptom of schizophrenia."