Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Do spammers take Christmas off?

My e-mail passes through several layers of spam filtration, kind of like a Brita pitcher. The first line of defense is a massive array of known spamhausen who are not permitted to talk to my server at all. After winding through a few more layers, we finally reach the last hurdle, the anti-spam software on my home computer. Less than 1% of spam attempts make it that far; although they are fiercely determined, spammers are also mostly too stoopid to get legitimate work.

I've noticed the last few days, though, that my spam has dropped to almost unprecedented levels. Going back through my server logs, though, the raw spam volume spiked about 3 weeks before Christmas, and is still running well above pre-Thanksgiving levels. All I've seen in the last week are a couple of "phishing" attempts against non-existent EBay and PayPal accounts, a couple of indecipherable ads in Russian (Я не говорю по Русский!), an unusually up-front plea from a Nigerian woman to help smuggle her husband's illegal slush fund out of the country before the police find it, two penny-stock pump-and-dump scams, and a partridge in a pear tree, but the spammers keep running at my front gate like tortured lemmings into a Cuisinart.

It leads me to suspect that the spammers who are better at evading the front-line defenses have taken a holiday. I'd be happy to sponsor them on a permanent holiday at "Club Fed" (Mmm-BOP, indeed!), but they probably wouldn't fall for that unless I disguised it as a vacation timeshare. "Come sail through the Love Canal!" Yeah, that's the ticket!