One of the favorite tactics of spammers lately has been to take phrases from books, movies, or legitimate web sites and use them to disguise their messages. Part of the idea behind this is that if the phrasing is sensible (as opposed to random text) people will at least open the email. A second reason for using sensible phrases is that if the SPAM filters learn to recognize sensible phrases as SPAM, they’ll start to misdiagnose legitimate mail as SPAM with the result that people will stop using them, thus making it easier for the spammers to run their various scams.
One of today’s SPAM messages had this for the subject line:
And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.
It’s been nearly 25 years since I first ran across The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s a wholly remarkable book, from MegaDodo publications, one of the great publishing houses of Ursa Minor. That particular entry talks about why so many humans (even the ones with digital watches) are unhappy and explains how nearly 2,000 years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be if everyone just started being nice to one another, a girl sitting on her own in a small café in Rickmansworth finally figured out a way to make it work. And then the Earth was destroyed to make way for a new hyperspace bypass.
That’s one of my favorite books and I’m appalled at this abuse of the text. The spammers have now officially gone too far. OK, they went too far a long time ago, but books like The Guide don’t come along very often.
I have a solution. It’s drastic, but it’ll definitely work and I don’t see any good alternatives.
From now on, anyone caught sending SPAM gets forced to listen to some old fashioned Vogon Poetry.