Canadian researchers have figured out a way to create spam that could bypass the best filters and trick even the most savvy computer users into opening messages they would normally delete.
Mischief-makers would use this kind of spam -- which employs hijacked computers to make sophisticated e-mail messages that appear to be from people known to computer users -- to release viruses, worms or spyware on unsuspecting users or expose them to theft of personal information.
Spam is always evolving, but the kind of high-tech stuff once thought to be too much work for spammers was easily demonstrated by Prof. Aycock and student-researcher Nathan Friess in their study "Spam Zombies from Outer Space."
The study, which was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and has been peer reviewed, will be presented next week at the European Institute for Computer Anti-Virus Research conference.
Spam of the future could be sent from the e-mail accounts of friends or colleagues, the Alberta researchers say. The spam could be so sophisticated that messages may contain abbreviations, personal signatures or misspellings that people would expect to see in e-mail from people they know.
Those tricks would make sure people are more apt to visit a Web link or download an attachment, allowing the spammers to peek into hard drives, grab personal data or infect the computer.
Our posterity will curse these men and their deeds as among the greatest villainy ever to be seen on this earth.
Source: Globe and Mail