off topic -- spam assassin

Thorsten Kampe thorsten at
Thu Oct 10 22:26:18 CEST 2002

* Jacob Hallen
>> The tension between spammers and the people who develop
>> spam-fighting software can be likened to an arms race.

It's a race they cannot win. Spammers are really, really incredible
dumb - otherwise they weren't spammer. And even those that write the
spammers' programs can't be that clever because their dumb clients are
not those with the money. It's a constant fraud: selling fake or
invalid email addresses to monkeys that are to braindead to actually
work for a living.

And if it gets worse - and it /will/ get worse - no one will be
accepting mail from - for example - Korean servers.

> There is actually one big difference between the spam race and an
> arms race. In an arms race, the attacker creates bigger, smarter and
> more powerful weapons in order to overcome the defenses of the
> defender.
> In the spam race, the attackers will have to become more subtle and
> low- keyed in order to overcome the defenses. An equilibrium will be
> reached when it is no longer possible for a computer to distinguish
> between spam and ordinary mail. However, it will be interesting to
> see what porn sites, Nigeria letters, chain letter scams and work at
> home schemes will look like without using the familiar phrases.

They *cannot* change. Spam will be always be spam. There will never be
such a thing as "sophisticated", "clever" spam, because the spam's
purpose is not clever. It's intent is to advertise useless and
valueless things to naive people. "Clever" spam would perhaps go
through to your inbox with by a higher percentage but it wouldn't sell

It takes /you/ about half a second to distinguish spam from non-spam
because of the spam's inherent patterns, so all you have to do to
filter spam is to write semi-intelligent code that has the same
ability to recognize spam as your brain.


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