Are you getting a lot of stock-related spam on Gmail lately?
April 13, 2005 4:35 AM   Subscribe

In the last couple of weeks Gmail's normally-astute spam filtering has totally given up the ghost in one specific area: stock spam. It seems like every single stock spam slips past the filter and ends up in my inbox. At the moment every other time I get a new email it comes with a subject like "Leading auth0rity On l0w priced st0cks". Anyone else having the same issue? Has Gmail's spam filter started to show cracks?
posted by LondonYank to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
It's not just Gmail. I've been flooded with these bloody stock spams on all my email accounts over the past couple of weeks (including my work account which is "protected" by two different filters). Maybe some spammer has discovered a new method of bypassing filters...
posted by NeonSurge at 4:45 AM on April 13, 2005

Yeah, all these 'An exciting cOmpany f0r investOrs' emails are invading my work email as well. It is kind of hard to filter out I assume. They mention a lot of business buzz words like VoIP, which are very valid terms in a lot of my emails.
posted by sebas at 5:25 AM on April 13, 2005

Seeing it here too. Today it's nine copies of: "Stock Watch Alert" this morning are Wysak Petroleum (WYSK), Key Energy Services, Inc. (Pink Sheets: KEGS), Medify So|utions (MFYS), Sequoia Interests Corporation (SQNC).
posted by smackfu at 7:15 AM on April 13, 2005

Count me in also. It's been getting by my SpamAssassin install something fierce lately. I figured I had just screwed up the configuration... I guess not.
posted by sbutler at 7:21 AM on April 13, 2005

I think it's because they're sending multi-part mime emails, with the plain-text part being something benign, most likely copied from a news site, and the html part being the actual ad. The spam filter passes the email based on the plain-text part but your mail client displays the html part.
posted by gi_wrighty at 7:28 AM on April 13, 2005

Yes, same here. In fairness, I can imagine that it would be difficult to spot these via heuristic scanning - they're very long and don't contain any of the normal 'red flag' attributes - embedded images, URLs with strings of digits etc. Gmail's spam filter is doing better than SpamAssassin, though - any ideas why?

I guess the purpose of these is to artificially inflate stock value - is there not a remedy under SEC (?) regulations?

On preview: gi_wrighty: aaah. clever. sortof.
posted by blag at 7:30 AM on April 13, 2005

There's no HTML in any of the spams I've received. They all seem to follow the same basic pattern in replacing some (but not all) lowercase "L"s with the pipe symbol:

The Oi| and Gas Advisory Now that Oi| and Gas has entered a |ong-term bu|| market, our specia|ty in pinpointing the hottest companies of the few remaining underva|ued energy plays has produced soaring returns. Emerson Oi| and Gas (EOGI) is an energy developer in the US "Oi| Be|t"
and in Canada's most high|y coveted reservoirs with generating potential of Mi||ions per week.

posted by NeonSurge at 7:42 AM on April 13, 2005

I just started getting these within the last week, at an email address where I've never gotten spam before. Now I'm getting a dozen or more per day. They're pretty obviously all from the same source, even though the return addresses are forged. Spam Assassin is marking most of them, but some still get through.

I kind of wonder what the actual purpose is, aside from harassing random people. Does anyone actually pay attention to these, other than to delete them?
posted by tdismukes at 9:50 AM on April 13, 2005
posted by suitcase at 10:18 AM on April 13, 2005

I use Mutt and Spam Assassin for my email and have been getting 5-10 stock spams a day. Most of them haven't even altered their spellings to include numbers in the words, and everything seems to get through. I assume that Gmail and Spam Assassin alike are working on this.
posted by scazza at 3:40 PM on April 13, 2005

Best answer: This type of thing is extremely common. The smarter spammers (thankfully there aren't many) tune their messages to avoid detection by common spam filters. Once they succeed, you'll tend to get a large number of these particular messages until the spam filters then adapt.

Gmail really doesn't do anything revolutionary when it comes to spam filtering, at least is as detectable in a black box analysis of the service. It's good work, but the fact remains that stopping spam is not a simple matter, and that real messages flagged as spam are a far more serious problem than one or two spams a day, flagged as real.

Now if only I could stop the stock scam faxes, I'd be a happy man.
posted by mosch at 10:23 PM on April 13, 2005

Response by poster: I kind of wonder what the actual purpose is, aside from harassing random people. Does anyone actually pay attention to these, other than to delete them?

Can't that be said of pretty much all spam? I mean, who actually goes for the P3n1s enlargement offers or 0nl1ne Ph@arm@cy links?
posted by LondonYank at 1:56 AM on April 14, 2005

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