Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Image Spams Trends

A Wish To All

This is my first post in 2011. As the only way I communicate through posts though I Am Wishing You All Happy New Year! May This Year Brings You Billions Of Happiness And Comforts in your life. Love You All

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Views Expressed In this Article/Post/Entry are generally accumulated from Published Entries on Internet. Specially from Wikipedia. But This Article is much more improved. And Is written more Informative.

Introduction To Spam

Spam is a Abusein Electronic Messaging System.To send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately. While the most widely recognized form of spam is E-Mail Spam, The Term is applied to similar abuses in other Media: Instant Messaging Spam, Search Engine Spam, Forum Spam, Social Networking Spam, File Sharing Spam etc.
Spamming remains economically viable because advertisers have no operting costs beyond the management of their mailing liss, and it is difficult to hold senders accountable for their mass mailings. Because the barrier to entry is so low, Spammers are numeous and the volume of unsolicited mail has become very high. The costs, such as lost productivity and fraud, are borne by the public and by Internet Service Providers, which have been the force to add extra capacity to cope with the deluge. Spamming is widely reviled, and has been the subject of legislation in many jurdictions. People who create electronic spam are called Spammers.It is believed that majority of spammers are using Home PCsfor this purpose.

What Is Image Spamming ?

Before We Start To Discuss Trends, We Should Put Some Light on Image Spam.
Image Spamming is a new method of E-Mail Spamming. The Text Is Embedded In Image or Picture files, which most anti-spam software ignore. They are not detected as spam simply because they are pictures and not text. Blocking Image Spam is proving difficult, as images and pictures (whether as attachments or embedded in the body of the message) are an expected part of a person's daily E-Mail intake - for business reasons (e.g, company logos, product shots, electronic newsletters, etc.) or personal purposes (family photos, vacation shots and so on)
I think we have got enough information about Image Spam, so now we should proceed to its latest trends.

The Latest Trends In Image Spamming

Although Spammers Registered considerable success with image spam (picture, right) the anti-spam software industry had not lost the battle and quickly came out with new counter measures to stop image spam. Realizing that filters had a problem with images, the answer was to hit spammers at source- that is where the E-Mail originated from. This new approach had an immediate positive result and considerably decreased the eddectiveness of image spam and gave back to E-Mail users some control over their mailbox. As with every cat and mouse game, spammers had to respond and in June 2007, they came up with a new technique that is not only ingenious but even more problematic than image spam. Instead of Embedding the image with in E-Mail Itself, they "repackaged" it with in an attachment using one of the most common file formats in use today - A PDF File. This move is clever for a number of reasons described below:

  • E-Mail users 'Expect' spam to be an image or text within the body of the E-Mail and not an attachment.

  • Since most Business today transfer documents using the PDF format, E-Mail users will have to check each PDF document otherwise they risk losing important documentation.

  • With most Anti-Spam Software Products on the market geared towards filtering the E-Mail itself and not attachments, spam has a longer shelf life within a network.

  • An Attachment that is a PDF file has a greater credibility in an E-Mail thus making Social Engineering attacks much easier.

  • The ability to send large PDF files could result in a single spam attack causing huge bottlenecks on a company's E-Mail Server, reducing the quality and amount of bandwidth available.

  • By sending PDF attachments, Spammers can also resort to phising by attaching supposedly authentic documents from a Bank or Service Provider.

  • To use of PDF spam was short lived as anti-spam software vendors quickly came out with updates and filters that analyzed the body of every PDF file. Not tto be defeated, spammers took less then a month to come out with a new option. Microsoft Excel files for push and dump scams. This moves were clever for reasons similar to those above for PDFs.

  • Excel is another extremely common file type in use and users are very familiar with this format.

  • Since many Business use Micrsoft's Excel for spreadsheets, databases and so on, E-Mail users will have to check each document otherwise they risk losing important documentation.

  • Companies that do not use Anti-Spam or Anti-Virus Software on their Network could be easy target for this type of spam.

  • The Damage that Spam can cause any Business should never be underestimate. Efficiency, Productivity, and Profitability can all take a serious hit if electronic junk E-Mail gains access to inboxes, with valuable time and effort eaten up in identifying and deleting unwanted messages. Spam currently accounts for a staggering 84%approx. for all E-Mails heading to corporate gateways. As Spam filters become more effective Spammers have to adobt new techniques to attempt to out with Anti-Spam defenses and ensure their unsolicited E-Mailsare delivered to their targets. By encoding their messages as an image rather than as plain text, Spammers hope to hide the content of the spam from spam filters. Their reasoning is that only the recipient will be able to view and read the image, spam filters will not be able to understand the content and let the E-Mail pass. Neverthless there are subtle clues hidden within the images which identify them as spam.
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