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It should be no surprise to anyone reading this that I, like you, receive a lot of spam; one of my e-mail accounts receives 20 to 30 spam messages per day. Personally, I don’t mind receiving spam; I enjoy reading it and seeing what new and creative methods spammers are using. Sadly, the majority of the spam I receive isn’t original, is hard to read, and is highly predictable. Now and again I find a real gem—a great example of professional spam from people who have figured out which elements a filter uses and how to bypass them. I enjoy reading these types of spam because I find them creative and interesting and consider them works of art. This chapter focuses on analyzing spam, to get as much information as possible from the e-mail and to identify the methods the spammer used to either send the message or to evade the filters.
Spammers can be highly predictable in their methods. A spammer often uses similar messages with the same evasion technique in all of their spam. With this in mind, you can easily track a spammer’s activities and find out what spam they sent and build a fingerprint from the spam they send and the techniques they use. Watching spam can provide a world of information, from new product trends to the rise and fall of prolific spammers and worldly impacts.
Florida is well known for harboring some of the largest spammers in the world. During Hurricane Ivan in 2004, anti-spam activists noticed that the amount of spam received was reduced by a noticeable percentage, proving that Florida is the spam state of America.
When spammers are forced to leave their homes and seek other residences, they are unable to send spam. Perhaps Mother Nature is the ultimate spam prevention.
Industry analysis of spam statistics shows that 5 percent of spammers are responsible for sending up to 60 percent of all spam.
These 5 percent are experienced spammers who have the tricks down. The inexperienced spammers tend to be left behind, relying on replicating old, obsolete technologies. Learning from other spammers is a large part of improving your spam technique. Until now, there have not been any books or published writings on how to send spam successfully, so the only way to learn was by studying others. This is why the quality of most spam sent today is very poor. Spammers are stereotyped as lacking in intelligence because of the poor quality of their spam, which isn’t really true; but you can decide for yourself by the end of this book.
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