Spot the Spam - Answers

Filed Under: SophosLabs

Last week I set a challenge to spot the type of spam, just from the subject lines and it is time to reveal the answers

1. "Re : ADVANCED POWER MANAGEMENT" = A watch spam campaign.

Re: ADVANCED POWER MANAGEMENT

2. "abstention commit dogfish" - A broken spam campaign, all it contains is a random selection of words.

abstention commit dogfish

3. "Urgent! Siezup your pholophaos." - Male growth

Urgent! Siezup your pholophaos.

4. "Re: Business" - Cheap Software

Re: Business

As you can see, it is very difficult to identify what the message is just from the subject line. This is one of the reasons people hate spam - users lose productivity because they have to open the message before realising it is spam.

From our perspective, the hardest type of spam to block is the broken spam campaign. This type of campaign is often due to the incompetence of the spammer! Poor configuration of the 'ratware' tools used to send out spam, or just inexperience means a huge number of emails containing complete gibberish get sent out. With no call to action, no URL or other spam indicators, our challenge is to block it.

Luckily, we have a wide variety of tools and techniques available to us, including IP blocking, 'ratware' header detection as well as our spam genotypes.

As far as the challenge goes, I'm afraid we didn't get anyone that got all four correct (not surprising really) so we will pick a name at random and send a suitable prize.

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