[extropy-chat] META: Anti-Bayesian spam

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Dec 6 14:28:39 UTC 2006

On Wed, Dec 06, 2006 at 09:01:58AM -0500, MB wrote:

> > Well, the following got through the gmail filters this morning.  I've
> > converted it to text and removed the GIF attachment (which was

You could have blocked anything with a .gif|.png|.jpeg attachment
at MTA level, or at least assign that a higher spam score. Which 
brings us back to the old evergreen: people who years ago claimed
rich content was safe and had no unanticipated side effects now
get a reality check.

It is still possible to generate personalized spam by AI, but it's
much harder, and you still can penalize by a realtime list of the
origin (address diversity of all zombies on this planet is low).

> > presumably the real message).  Interesting how it seems to be
> > generating relatively coherent text.  I wonder if they are picking out
> > phrases from popular news items or simply generating semi-proper text
> > using phrases that score low on Bayesian filtering methods.

The idea is to poison Bayesian spam filters. It's working. The only
reliable measure is to penalize by origin.

> > At any rate the battle continues...
> >
> [snip]
> I have occasionally checked out what my spam says, and I'm amazed. Sometimes I
> wonder if the spammers are reading my email, or at least the subject lines. I find

There's a big problem with reflexively shedding a mature communication medium
for its less mature but bearing a lower parasite load alternatives: abuse
resistance has to be designed-in, or evolved slowly. IM and VoIP don't have
any abuse immunity whatsoever, and VoIP spam is like clubbing baby seals.

> keywords that are frequently used on my various email lists - and names, not
> necessarily ordinary names like Jim or Bob.
> It's rather uncanny and somewhat unsettling.  I am very greateful to have a filter!
> And I'm becomming more impressed with it as time goes on.
> No, I never ever look at any of the attachments! :)))

It would be even better if you didn't even receive the attachments.
And it would be even better if your MTA was a veritable tarbaby for
anyone with the temerity to spam you.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820            http://www.ativel.com
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE
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