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Hidden Messages In Email Images

Posted by on Jul 22, 2009

What would your reaction be if you received spam email that began with something like this:

“I believe the Ku Klux Klan has been badly maligned in the history of the United States.”

What about:

“The Tyrians whom Pharaoh Necho sent down the Red Sea more than six hundred years before Christ, brought back after three years a story of their finding Africa an island,…”

Or even:

“To figure in drawing-rooms with the reflected lustre of her husband’s fame, and to find other women envious of her, was to Augustine a new harvest of pleasures; but it was the last gleam of conjugal happiness.”

I hear you now saying “I don’t receive any junk like that.” Well, I’m here to tell you that you do. Want to know how?

Any time you open up a spam email, or receive one, and it’s got a template image over it, you can bet that someone has written or posted something like that underneath it. You may never see it because the image template covers it all up, but it’s almost always there. I know this because I use Mailwasher to check my email before it gets downloaded to my computer, while it’s still sitting on the server.

Sometimes it’s amazing just how much stuff from a junk message is there. For instance, all three of these examples came with more than 2,000 word articles, though, if you ever deign to read any of them, most make no sense whatsoever.

Why do they do this? Because it makes it easier to get these messages through most spam filters, that’s why. Using a lot of text can sometimes overwhelm normal spam filters, which explains why these things sometimes get through to your inbox. Many of them look at the text, and the thing is that if they post a lot of stuff that at least, to a spam filter, looks just like a long email, it’ll go through. These people don’t care about SEO, and they’re not worried about repeating words over and over, which would trip a filter. They just want to get this stuff through to you in any way possible.

Of course, the other side of this is that sometimes this stuff brings malware and spyware to your computer also. It’s hard to hide a real virus in an image, though it’s been done, but the other stuff is pretty easy. Both of the emails my wife got contained malware scripts in them, and if she’d downloaded it, thought it was interesting and clicked on it, she’d have definitely had malware on her computer, and I’d be in there fixing the sucker right now.

I alert you to this if you’re wondering why you might keep getting this junk in your email. Meanwhile, the company that makes Mailwasher, Firetrust, also has an affiliate program to market their products, which I just learned about, and since this is a product I talk about all the time, I’ve signed up, and now can market their products. Guess which one I’m starting with? šŸ™‚


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8 Comments »

Thanks, Mitch, for this alert.

Can you imagine having so much time on your hands, sending messages with garbage attached?

Of course, I understand that Internet good also comes with Internet bad. It just makes no sense.
.-= Shirley @ Solo Business MarketingĀ“s last blog ..How to Capitalize on Local Networks =-.

July 22nd, 2009 | 2:39 PM
Mitch:

Hi Shirley. I think what they do is pop a long passage of something into a program, and it populates these emails with all this garbage. If I thought someone was sitting there doing it for every individual email it would make little sense. I hate these people with a passion, and yet, you have to admit there are some fairly smart crooks out there.

July 22nd, 2009 | 4:11 PM
Bob@Free Online Speed Reading:

People used to do this as a way to post to craigslist as well. They write one ad, and post to multiple cities by grabbing large blocks of unique text from a site like wikipedia and setting the font color to white. Then, it looks like a pretty unique ad being posted to multiple cities and categories, even though it’s the same one.

July 22nd, 2009 | 3:50 PM
Mitch:

I didn’t know that, Bob. Did Craigslist figure it out?

July 22nd, 2009 | 4:12 PM
Mirjam:

hey Mitch…
I just couldnĀ“t stop thinking, while reading this post, why on earth people would even open spam mail in the first place … Curiosity killed the cat … or in this case, curiosity installs malware…
.-= MirjamĀ“s last blog ..Making Money with Infobarrel =-.

July 22nd, 2009 | 5:09 PM
Mitch:

My wife is a good example of this, Mirjam. She’s not all that computer literate, and these folks have figured out the types of things she’s interested in, so a lot of email that comes her way is geared towards her. And, unfortunately for me, she just can’t stop herself.

July 22nd, 2009 | 5:24 PM
Jules:

Wow i had no idea spammers were using such methods to get their mails through the spam filters. I have never heard of Mailwasher before and I’m going to read more about it.

July 23rd, 2009 | 7:39 AM
Mitch:

It’s a great program, Jules. I’ve used it for almost 4 years by now.

July 23rd, 2009 | 9:10 AM