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Spam gussies up its image
Published: 2007-01-12

Unsolicited junk e-mail has quickly converted to image-based advertising, nixing messages that rely on pure text or HTML, security firm McAfee stated on Friday.

About two-thirds of all spam now uses some form of image to convey the message rather than text, the firm said in a posting to its research blog. Image spam typically requires three or four times as much data per message as normal, text-based spam.

"At the start of the year image spam consisted primarily of ‘pump and dump’ stock spam," McAfee stated. "This was more suited to image spam as it did not require recipients to click on a link. By the end of the year image spam was advertising ‘pump and dump’ stock, pharmaceuticals, fake degrees, counterfeit software, loans, mortgages and other kinds of junk usually associated with text based spam."

Other companies have corroborated the data to some degree. Spam touting stock as part of a "pump and dump" securities scheme makes up nearly a third of all spam, according to e-mail service provider MessageLabs. Other firms have also noted a general increase in spam during the autumn of 2006, SecurityFocus reported.

McAfee noted that image spam continues to use a number of techniques to foil antispam recognition software and other methods of blocking the messages.

Posted by: Robert Lemos
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Spam gussies up its image 2007-01-16


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