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Security Response

Hammered by image spam?

Created: 28 Aug 2006 07:00:00 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:57:30 GMT
Kelly Conley's picture
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You are not alone. Practically everyone with an email account has encountered this problem. Image spam is everywhere these days and for the recipients it is a headache of fake Rolex, Chialis, and stock recommendations, to name only a few of the favorites. While antispam vendors mobilize to keep up with this new trend, the spammers infiltrate your Inbox.

The most frustrating thing is that these messages all look pretty much the same when reading them in your email. However, they are very different in the raw, which is why it makes the creation of effective filters much more difficult. Some of the techniques being employed by spammers to get these image-based ads into your Inbox are so subtle they are virtually imperceptible to the naked eye. These include, but are in no way limited to slight changes in text size and color, as well as image placement from one message to the next. The spammers keep utilizing more and more elaborate avoidance techniques to get their ads to your Inbox and it ends up being the classic cat and mouse game.

On the bright side, image spam is still a very minor percentage of all spam. What can you do to address this nuisance? If possible, you should utilize custom filters to combat the unwanted messages in your Inbox. At Symantec, we are working hard to gain visibility into the new variants of image spam. This visibility enables us to create effective rules and develop new techniques to combat this annoying class of spam.