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Risk

5/9/2008
10:56 AM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
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Backscatter Spam Spreading, Bouncemail Battle Heats Up

Have you been backscatter or bounceback spammed yet? No? Be patient -- if your e-mail address has ever been published on the Web, the odds may be against you.

Have you been backscatter or bounceback spammed yet? No? Be patient -- if your e-mail address has ever been published on the Web, the odds may be against you.Backscatter or bounceback spam is the latest tool the spammers are using to get around increasingly effective spam filters.

Works like this: the spammer grabs your e-mail address, using it in the from-line of a mass-spam. The subj. lines tend to stay on pretty typically tacky spamtrack: drugs, enhancements, etc.

That from-line, though, looks legit and, more seriously, looks legit to the filters standing watch over the recipients' mailboxes.

And when the spam hits a dead address, guess who the mail bounces back to?

You -- that's who.

While not an immense problem at the moment -- unless of course you're the one being bouncebacked or backscattered, the effectiveness of the tactic (messages that look more legitimate to filters are likely to look more legitimate to users, too, resulting in higher open/read rates) all but insures that it will become more common.

Needless to say, the security/filter industry is gearing up to do backscatter-battle.

Security firm Astaro's just-announced approach to the problem involves embedding hidden code in your e-mail headers, scanning for that code when any bounced message with your address comes your way.

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