Friday, May 1, 2009

Smart Spam

One of the things I love about Gmail is the quality of their spam filters. True spam almost never makes it to my inbox, and I think I've had to rescue a real email from the spam folder maybe twice in the several years I've been using it.

Still, I usually give my spam a glance-over before deletion, just to be sure, and I'm amazed at how well-targeted the subject lines have gotten:

Journalist provokes massacre
Iraq: US citizens arrested
Pentagon spy caught

Some spambot has calculated my interests. My question is, how? They could be reading my blog, but Blogger shouldn't have leaked my email address anywhere. Same with my Facebook, since I don't allow apps. Google analyzes my mail for targeted ads, which I'm used to, but that shouldn't be getting out to spammers. A motivated individual could probably put all the pieces together to trace my blog back to my email address, but I wouldn't have thought a spambot would pull that off. I guess the likeliest culprit is a worm that's reporting my web browsing habits back to the spammers, although I like to think I do a pretty good job with security. Weird. Eerie.


Elephantschild said...

I never assume any privacy when browsing the web. In fact, I have fun sometimes searching for oddball stuff, imagining how my activity is tweaking the profile of me that exists out there somewhere.

BTW, my spam's been showing some of those same topics, and I don't read or follow anywhere close to the mil and pol blogs and news sites that you do.

Maybe you're just paranoid.

Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake said...

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake said...

Speaking of....

Elephantschild said...

Ha, ha. Classic.

Shane said...

Who's to say that the information leak came from YOUR systems or accounts? What if it was a compromised computer of a friend who has your name listed in their address book?

You know, like someone whose IP address resolves to the military installation where you live. Reading about computer security and profiles of malware writers - it's surprising how ingenious the malicious software engineers can be

Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake said...

Oh, right.

Man, the more I learn about this stuff, the more I think I'm going to end up in a cabin in the woods.