Spammers use image file hosting to side-step anti-spam filters

Just as the anti-spam software and email filtering industry is getting to grips with the problem of image-based spam, it looks like the spammers have unleashed their next weapon - image file hosting.

By embedding a series of image-based Web calls within an email body, the spammers can apparently get their unwanted messages past the filtering services and software, as the current crop of anti-spam technology isn't set up to look for files online.

According to Dimitri Alperovich, Secure Computing's chief research scientist, image filters - even in the latest software - don't look at Web-hosted files. Yet.

Speaking with the newswire, Alperovich said that, in addition, by removing images from their spammed email, spammers can send even more unwanted messages than ever before.

To date, Secure Computing claims to have only seen one image hosting site being used by spammers.

Called ImageShack, Alperovich says that users don't even need an account on the service to upload their pictures, although, because the site is used for legitimate purposes, the Secure Computing technologist cautions against entirely blocking Web-based calls from its pages...


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