Spammers in disguise

Security solutions provider Sophos has published a list of 260 words that e-mail spammers try to disguise to get through users’...

Security solutions provider Sophos has published a list of 260 words that e-mail spammers try to disguise to get through users’ e-mail filters.

As more users install filtering systems, the use of "obfuscation" techniques is now more widespread. According to Sophos, 80% of spam is now trying to disguise key words such as "viagara", "valium", "rolex", "orgasm" and "cheap".

Obfuscation techniques range from mis-spelling key words or using a zero instead of the letter "o" to taking advantage of formatting tools in HTML messages.

Sophos confirmed that money, drugs and sex are the key themes of most spam e-mails.

Its systems recently detected that that more than 30% of spam contained URLs relating to healthcare advertisements, such as drug offers, while more than 20% of URLs had potentially offensive content within the message.

Sophos said sexually explicit words make up 14% of the top 50 words on the list.

Users should consider including all the words in the list in their filtering system, and check that their solution is geared towards detecting more complicated obfuscation techniques, Sophos said.

For the full Sophos list click here >>

 

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