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New Tricks Shift Spammers into Overdrive According to SpamStopsHere


By Derek Iwasiuk
November 17, 2006

SpamStopsHere, Inc., the industry leading provider of e-mail security and spam filtering solutions, announces new sophisticated spammer tricks are thwarting spam filters.

By industry estimates, spam has dramatically risen by more than 50% in just the two months since September 2006. More significantly, it is not just more of the same old spam, but radically new methods that are challenging, and in many cases defeating existing anti-spam systems. This has emboldened spammers as perhaps never before, and as a result, nearly all inboxes have seen a sharp increase in spam.

In the new type of "image spam", the image in each spam message is altered with randomized pixels to defeat image checksums; even the image size is randomized, as is the text. Image spam was initially seen in penny stock spams, but due to their success in defeating anti-spam systems, they are now pitching "the usual" products.

Most anti-spam systems rely heavily on IP Reputation or IP Blacklists which accept email from trusted mail servers, e.g. from legitimate companies, and block emails from known spam sources. A new spam trick is to not send the spam directly to the intended recipient, but to bounce it off the mail server at a legitimate company. This is done by forging the To: and From: fields and finding mail servers that bounce the entire email message. The recipient then receives a "Non-deliverable" email message, and when opened, sees the spam. Since the spam came from a legitimate company's mail server, it is difficult for an IP-based anti-spam system to block without also blocking legitimate emails from that company.

Further complicating things, some spammers have already used both methods - bouncing highly randomized image spam off of legitimate mail servers. After receiving such spam, many users have mistakenly accused innocent victims of sending the spam.

One of the few anti-spam systems that has kept up with these new spammer tricks is According to the President, Ted Green, "We don't rely much on IP address reputation, but instead fully scan each email message for the "Click me" links found in traditional, non-image spam. It doesn't matter if it is sent directly or is bounced, we block it". To block image spam, SpamStopsHere analyzes all emails containing images coming to its thousands of customers and automatically determines the "template" from which an image spam is randomized. Once confirmed by its 24/7 technical staff, all image spams matching a known template are blocked. SpamStopsHere blocks over 99% of traditional spam and 98% of image spam, while keeping mistakes with legitimate email to a minuscule 1 in 100,000.

These new and ever more sophisticated spamming methods have fueled an explosion in phishing attacks and financial/home-business scams. Businesses can no longer protect their networks and their employees from cyber threats using inferior mass-market solutions. Businesses must arm themselves with the best security technology to protect their staff and assets.

About Greenview Data
Greenview Data, Inc. has been providing its critically acclaimed SpamStopsHere network security solutions to clients across the globe since 2002. Greenview Data also created and developed the powerful VEDIT™ text editor, which has been licensed to over 150,000 users since 1980. EBCDIC to ASCII conversion makes up the third division of Greenview Data; providing conversion solutions through turn-key contracting and consulting. Through the growth of their SpamStopsHere hosted service, and exciting R&D projects, Greenview Data is looking to the future and another successful 26 years. Greenview Data is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.



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