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Spam created using exotic, and foreign character sets

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Contributor

Spam created using exotic, and foreign character sets

I have been creating and using spam filters for years.   It seems to me that someone, I believe a Comcast employee, is working to find a way to circumvent my filters and still get spam to my  inbox.   Spam arrives with exotic characters which are not recognized by the filter, so they get through.    For instance, these two examples:

 Ṣkin Taǧ Rɛmoval

Save Thoúsands on Èxpensìve Medícal Treàtment

Nobody I have spoken to has seen anything like these examples.   Comcast has a financial incentive to let these through.  

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Problem Solver

Re: Spam created using exotic, and foreign character sets


@jabelt wrote:

I have been creating and using spam filters for years.   It seems to me that someone, I believe a Comcast employee, is working to find a way to circumvent my filters and still get spam to my  inbox.   Spam arrives with exotic characters which are not recognized by the filter, so they get through.    For instance, these two examples:

 Ṣkin Taǧ Rɛmoval

Save Thoúsands on Èxpensìve Medícal Treàtment

Nobody I have spoken to has seen anything like these examples.   Comcast has a financial incentive to let these through.  


More likely the spammers are figuring out ways to circumvent filters.  What financial incentive do you think Comcast is receiving for these emails?

Joe V
(not a Comcast employee, just another paying customer)
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Contributor

Re: Spam created using exotic, and foreign character sets

What financial incentive?   These are ads.    Don't you believe that Facebook, Yahoo, Google and yes Comcast get paid to have ads run on their services?   It's just the fact that after I have been successful stopping spam for a week or so, suddenly one will get through with an "a" with two tiny dots above it.   Then it's a "D", then, whatever.  I have attached a list of these characters to this note.  There are 30-some characters.   It has taken me a month to accumulate these, one or two at a time.

222d.JPG
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Regular Contributor

Re: Spam created using exotic, and foreign character sets

I remember writing rules to catch spams back in the 80s and 90s, but even then, the trick of using accented characters, other replaced characters (like zero instead of the letter o), punctuation and spaces within words, misspelled but readable words, were well-known tricks.

 

Currently I use the Thunderbird email client with its built-in Bayesian junk filtering.  It's about 99.5% accurate and extremely easy to use.  (ie: if I see a junk mail in my inbox, I press j and it goes to the junk mail box and the filtering is automatically updated to find more emails "like" that.)  It works so well, that I couldn't even tell you if I'm currently getting spams like that.  These days, using manual filters for spam is something you only need to do if you enjoy that sort of thing.  If can be a fun exercise if you have the time and interest.

 

By the way, most email these days are sent in Unicode and Unicode defines tens of thousands of characters so you could be collecting for some time. 

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Contributor

Re: Spam created using exotic, and foreign character sets

Yessir, you got me.   I'm a 42 year government IT specialist, retired now.   I have the time and I'm doing this.   I did not know the number of options.   But you must know that paranoia is a job skill in this business.    I still find it somewhat personal when two get through.  Then two get caught and things go quiet for a couple days.  Then two more get through with totally different characters.  Then two more get caught and it goes quiet.   Someone is watching my filters.   I know it can be done.   I was system administrator.    I could find anything you sent to anybody if necessary.   There is no such thing as privacy on the internet.   You're a user of these services.   I wrote my first "app" in 1968.

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Regular Contributor

Re: Spam created using exotic, and foreign character sets

If someone is watching your filters on a server, then I would suggest writing your filters on an email client on your own computer.  (I don’t mean to say that I necessarily believe that anyone from Comcast is trying to work around your filters, but that would prevent them whether I believe it or not.)

 

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Contributor

Re: Spam created using exotic, and foreign character sets

I think your suggestion is correct.   I might find more security moving my email to my machine.   But the tradeoff is more work on this end.

 

The primary reason that I started this thread was to (hopefully) hear from a user that yes, they too have seen this happening.   If not, then I say again, this is aimed at me and I have more work to do.  Thank you for your help.