Thursday, November 16, 2006

Yet more spammer image optimization; this time it's pretty

These something new in the image-spam wave: pretty colours! This spammer is working hard to randomize his images and avoid OCR. Here's a sample:



And to give you an idea of the randomization here's another:



Thanks to Nick FitzGerald and Sorin Mustaca for samples. Notice how the letters are misaligned both vertically and horizontally to try to avoid OCR, and the background polygons are randomized. Also the aspect ratio and size of the messages have been changed for each image.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ransom note spam

Back in January I added a trick called The Small Picture to The Spammers' Compendium, and in August I updated The tURLing Test trick with an example of its use in image-based spam.

The Small Picture consists of sending individual letter images attached to a message. These letter images are then used to display a message and break up words that the spammer might think a spam filter would find suspicious. Here's an example of The Small Picture where certain letters (look carefully!) are formed using images rather than text:



The tURLing Test consists of disguising a URL by breaking it up and then explaining to the user how to type in the URL, thus proving that a human is reading the spam not a spam filter. This is done with URLs so that URL blacklists are bypassed. Here's an example of that from an image-based spam:



Now comes a combination of the two, that deserves the name 'Ransom Note Spam': it combines both The Small Picture (the letters are individual images attached to the spam) and The tURLing Test (the URL is made up of letters in the images):