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Spam – It's No Laughing Matter

  • 02 May, 2005 13:55

<p>SophosLabs reports on the latest trend in spamming: apologetic humour.</p>
<p>Experts at SophosLabs, Sophos's global network of virus and spam analysis centres, are unsure whether to laugh or cry at recent developments in the spammers' arsenal: apologetic humour.</p>
<p>The idea is simple: think of a sort of message which often gets a high spam score, but which is nevertheless deliberately retrieved and read by a good percentage of users. You got it: the joke!</p>
<p>Take any decent internet joke (or indecent, for that matter), perhaps by subscribing to one of the many legitimate joke of the day services, or by mirroring a popular joke site. Stick a brief apology for the inconvenience on the end, follow it with a one-liner unsolicited advert, and finish up with words such as:</p>
<p>"click on this link to keep up my beginning of making spam not so boring thing, and to help me learn simple English grammar."</p>
<p>(Only joking about the grammar, of course.)</p>
<p>Then spam to millions of unsuspecting users, as usual.</p>
<p>"This sort of spam is likely to attract a high spam rating on the basis of the joke alone," comments Paul Ducklin, Head of Technology, Asia Pacific for Sophos. "But since jokes are widely circulated and, within reason, loosely tolerated as part of Australian internet culture, the high spam rating may be ignored by many users. Indeed, some would argue that high-range spam scores on jokes makes them more interesting. So the spammers reach their target after all – effectively winning the game with the user despite, or perhaps because of, having lost it at the spam filter."</p>
<p>Ducklin concludes by repeating the simple mantra: "Don't try, don't buy, don't reply."</p>
<p>news ends</p>
<p>About Sophos.
Sophos is a world leading computer security specialist, developing anti-virus and anti-spam software. Headquartered in the UK, the company produces solutions tailored for businesses of all sizes – from small enterprises to global corporations. Sophos is acclaimed for delivering the highest level of customer satisfaction and protection in the industry. The company's products are sold and supported in more than 150 countries and protect more than 35 million users.</p>
<p>Sophos's regional head office for Australia and New Zealand is in Sydney and hosts one of the company's four High Security Research and Development Laboratories to provide global support services.</p>
Paul Ducklin ( is available for comment:
+61 2 9409 9100 (tel)
+61 2 407 320 515 (mob)
+61 2 9409 9191 (fax)</p>
<p>Sophos's press contact at Gotley Nix Evans is:
Michael Henderson (
+61 2 9957 5555 (tel)
+61 413 054 738 (mob)
+61 2 9957 5575 (fax)</p>

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