The Daily Ping

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July 15th, 2008

Today’s odd spam tactic

A lot of spam has been slipping by Gmail recently and almost all of it is using this odd technique of grabbing the reader’s attention using a bogus news headline that sounds like it *could* be true because it’s topical and relevant. For instance, this morning I got one that read “Barack Obama Drops Out of Presidential Race.” Obviously not true, but it would certainly grab some attention.

Another read “Angelina Jolie Dies In Miscarriage.” Others:

  • Pope killed by assasin in Vatican City
  • Nicole Kidman loses baby in miscarriage
  • Michael Jackson Dies in Bed
  • Muhammad Ali dies at 71
  • Local waiter caught spitting in food
  • American prisoners beheaded in Iran
  • Ninja attack in New York Times Square

(Love that last one.) And, of course, if you open any of these up, you’ll see an ad for a discounting iPod or any other standard spam nonsense.

The technique’s not really completely new, as spammers have often ripped real headlines in order to get past spam filters. My question is: why is this still working? Why are Gmail’s filters missing so many of these?

Posted in Technology

jk July 15, 2008, 4:21 pm

Gmail loves gossip!

Rob July 15, 2008, 5:34 pm

I got one of these last night, though it wasn’t on my Gmail account. Mine was about Britney slipping into a coma. The horrors!

Steve A July 16, 2008, 12:54 am

You need to save all those headlines and sell them to National Enquirer. Y’know… Enquiring Minds Wanna Know!

Slainte,
S

Ryan July 16, 2008, 2:46 am

Got a great one tonight: “Elton John Dies In Rocket Ship.”

Steve A July 17, 2008, 10:59 pm

That’s why he’s the “RocketMan,” Ryan.

S

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