Spammers have a lot of tricks up their sleeves lately, and I almost fell for one of them a few weeks ago. I got this German email that looked like I was being sued for something. Now I don’t master the German language, but it’s close enough to Dutch to get the general idea that someone thought that I was some vile spamming bastard, and they where going to get my ass for it too.
This is kinda scary really, because the text itself seemed to be legit. Not that funny Ingrish style stuff you know is spam, but that typical lawyers style incomprehensible lecture.
What triggered a little alarmbell in my head however was that there where some odd looking email addresses in there, and none of them where from the same domain.
First of all it was sent to the info@ address of my domain, which I don’t use or publicise, but since emails are automatically forwarded to my general account I get them anyway. The domain the email came from was also not the domain who had been receiving the spam, which doesn’t make much sense. Last, the lawyer to contact concerning the matter had an odd looking address as well.
So instead of replying to the email telling them they probably made a mistake, which was my initial intention, I forwarded it to someone who actually speaks German and could help figure out if this was for real or not.
He got suspicious as well about the email addresses, and he also knew that the domain the email was coming from was known for it’s free email accounts, which where frequently used by spammers to spread their junk. That, together with some Google searches on phrases from the email made it clear this was just a bait email.
It turns out the content of the email was actually put online by a real lawyer, to be used as a template for anyone who had been targeted by a spammer. But now spammers are baiting domain admins with this, by randomly mailing general email addresses hoping they will reply anything, which will give the spammers yet another active email address.
Here’s the full email in cause you’re interested.
Don’t let these bastards fool you!
Since I switched from Blogger to WordPress I have been getting more comment spam. Blogger used a captcha technique which seemed to be blocking the spam, or maybe just because my blog wasn’t quite that visible to spammers on Blogger. But now that it’s on WordPress things are different.
In fact, I’m guessing that those handy blog-ping update services are used by vile spammers to detect new blogs using blogging software like WordPress that their spamming scripts are written for.
Early this week I was getting hit by another spamming round and I was getting unintended notifications of these crap posts in my GMail because of emails bouncing from the invalid auto-generated emails.
I cleaned up the spam comments asap, cause I hate to see them pollute my blog, but I wanted to find a more permanent solution for the problem.
I didn’t quite think of it but WP already has a plugin ready for spam control called Akismet. I didn’t activate it before because I had to go through the trouble of getting a WordPress API key from the WP site. This time the spammers annoyed me enough to do so.
Posts now get automatically scanned by the Akismet engine, and right now it has trapped 37 comments, all spam, and I didn’t have to do jack for it.
So for anyone out there with a WordPress blog and a spam problem. Get that plugin registered and relax. It’s sweet.
A new tactic seems to be that in order to have their emails passed the spam detection filters, they start writing pretty damn normal emails. I mean like, seriously, who would have thought. It’s back to square one I guess, and with emails like this, it’s even becoming harder to detect the rotten apples in your own inbox on sight.
You might even start replying to the spammer in question, because you think he somehow send you a message that wasn’t intended for you?
> —–Original Message—–
> From: Greg [mailto:AlfredaKimball@notreallytheaddressitwas.de]
> Sent: maandag 15 mei 2006 10:02
> Subject: Erections are still possible Garry
> There are 100’s of websites to buy medication for Erectile
> Difficulties, but not for 1.56 cents a pill. We have some of
> the lowest pricing on the internet.
> If you are already paying hundreds of dollars, then you should visit:
> Customer Service Team
> cloudburst you bellicose me, bask coed abe . adhere you
> irrespective me, cyprus . zombie you berg me, iconoclast
> vagary divert cupid .
> baylor you bart me, merrill . deposition you manor me, aware
> . noaa you ouch me, devise .
I think you have to wrong guy here.
First of all, my name isn’t Garry. I don’t know the poor sod, but judging from your email he definitely needs some help. Second I don’t have erectile difficulties, thank God (and I’m not even religious). Where did you pick up the word “erectile” btw, it’s kinda funny.
Anyway, I don’t have those kind of issues. Oh and by the way, I don’t want my “hotrod” to be larger than it is either, in case you have pills to fix that as well. I got a bunch of emails about that too, but I can’t remember who those where from. Oh, and don’t get me started on the increase your jizz kinda pill. What the hell is up with that? Which girl is going to be pleased with that I wonder? You’ve been watching too much porn if you think every girl wants a double pearl necklace my friend. Too much porn can give you funny ideas like that. Like thinking that a girl hasn’t had a good day until she has some tripple penetration and her fair share of ooh yeah babies or oh my Gods (yep, on the religious tip again). So turn off that BitTorrent client of yours and stop wasting so much damn bandwith on smut!
But I degress.
I do have one more tip for you however Greg. You should really try and get a more intuitive domain name for your website. There’s no way I’ll ever remember going to http://regcntq3efe1d2c4vv0qq1d88jd8bq.defacerjl.com/ if I would end up having those manly problems at some point. Can you even remember that name? I think not!
An URL like that will not turn up in any Google searches relevant to you business either, which isn’t good for your return on investment.
ps: I think there’s something wrong with your email software as well. There’s some weird jibberish in your email footer. Maybe check out Thunderbird oslt, cause it rawks.
Well, my blog seems to be picking up on popularity… with spam bots.
Today I got hit a number of times with comment spam for drug prescriptions dammit, and due to invalid email addresses I got accidental warnings in my email, so I noticed them right away.
Time to check in on the spam protection of WordPress I guess. I remember my Blogger account used a CAPTCHA form to make sure humans are entering the actual data and I never did get any spam there, so that might be a good option here as well.
For now I’ve added that specific URL I keep getting spammed with today to the spam word list in the options et voila! Since then all comments of that evil spambot is marked for moderation and doesn’t appear anymore.
It feels good to hit the delete button on those mofo’s really, whoehahaha!