Spammers learn new tricks to beat networks

Link: US plans blitz on spam

According to the firm, the new techniques look to prey on the naivety of email users and pose significant legal, security, network and productivity risks for businesses.

Steve Anthony, sales director at SurfControl said: ‘Spammers have realised that email filtering vendors are finding out the tricks of their trade and developing products that stop them.’

According to Anthony, ‘counterfeit characters’ is one new trick SurfControl has spotted. It uses numbers or accented characters to replace standard characters to fool filtering dictionaries.

‘V1agra’ and ‘M0RTG4GE’ are examples of the use of counterfeit characters.

Other methods to avoid scanning see spammers breaking down URL structures, using white text on white background on HTML to disguise text, redirecting recipients to unexpected websites, putting random words or characters in subject fields and disguising format to avoid dictionary or statistical filtering.

SurfControl has used covert techniques to gather this information on spammers, by setting up unprotected servers, and then watching as spammers take them over to send out unsolicited email.

‘We have been able to monitor what techniques are being used by spammers,’ Anthony said.

But he said the problems caused by of unsolicited mail offers resellers a huge opportunity. ‘Businesses must keep up to date with the products available to stop spam and we have training to keep our channel up to date so they can support their customers.’

Chris Jenkins, product-marketing manager at reseller Cisilion said spam alone is not a huge area for the company. ‘It is not a massive opportunity for us but we sell spam as part of a complete solution.’

Related reading

HMRC banknotes