Friday, April 07, 2006

Spam Waves

I liked the idea of having an email link on the blog. So convenient for readers who want to drop me a line.

From the moment I put it up the spam started to roll in. First it was paypal phishes with a little ebay mixed in. This went on for weeks. I sent some of these to paypal so they could track down and perhaps shut down some of the thieves working under their name--but there were too many to report them all. Then the paypal ads stopped coming and were replaced by phony Chase bank messages--more and more every day, until this week. Now it's porn ads--and I find it just too depressing and too tedious to see those ugly and badly spelled subject lines every day. So the link has been replaced by text, and maybe that will dry up the flood. If not, then I guess it's change the email address.

But I'm curious. Why the different waves? Is it the same senders trying out different stuff until they hit on something I'll click on? Or is it more mindless, just a regular rotation of spam campaigns?


Thanks to a suggestion from John of A DC Birding Blog (see comments) the email link is back, now hidden from "spiders" I hope.


Duncan said...

Good question Pamela, I've seen the same thing, from porn, to viagra and other drugs, to phony timepieces, to "hot" stocks, which seem to be the go at the moment.

John B. said...

To foil spam spiders, you can make your email address into an image like I did, or you can encrypt the address with javascript. This actually works pretty well if you have a good encryption program. There is a free one available on the web here: I can't vouch for that program, but other encryption programs I have used do work.

There was an article profiling a spammer in the Washington Post a month or two back. They do the spam in batches to keep spam filters from getting suspicious, and to keep networks from shutting them down. This particular guy was sending out commands to PCs that he had commandeered as drones for spam purposes. He would use a limited numbers of them at a time to send batches of messages to portions of his email list.

If you change your addy, I suggest using Gmail. Their spam filters work pretty well.

Anonymous said...

I've been wondering the same thing myself Pamela, as I'm in the same cycle as you are. And I'm wondering just how many wrong ways there are to spell, well you know...

Pamela Martin said...

Thanks for the comments--I'm glad I'm not alone in receiving these waves. And John--thanks for the link--I'm giving the scrambler a try. And for the info about spammer techinique. My only question: "Is anyone really making money spamming?" Seems so unlikely to me.