Spamming takes a new twist

Spam lovely spam

Ah, those spammers. Not content with selling everything from generic Viagra and to todger enlarging solutions (they know about your little problem Steve, you know - Ed), they're now using extracts from a classic Russian novel to try and get round anti-spam software.

The unsolicited email messages reportedly contain sections of Mikhail Bulgakov's book "The Master and Margarita," which Sophos says is considered to be one of the greatest Russian novels of the 20th Century, but has embedded graphics promoting Web sites which sell goods to enhance sexual performance.

According to Sophos, modern spammers now include news stories, jokes and even text from novels in an attempt to fool anti-spam software into thinking the email is legitimate.

In the case of this campaign, the IT security vendor says that the spammers are not even including a clickable link to their Web site, but instead invite punters to tap it in by hand.

Sophos senior technology consultant, Graham Cluley (for it is he - doffs cap in deference), reckons it is a safe bet that Russkie writer Bulgakov never anticipated his book would be used to flog sexual enhancement drugs.

"People are bored to the back teeth with junk email, and should ensure the goods peddled by the spammers do not become bestsellers by never purchasing items marketed in this way," he said.

He's right too...