It’s A War

Despite being scum,  spammers are some clever bastards.

Someone told me about an ingenious way that spammers were cracking “captchas”—the distorted graphic words that a human being has to key into a box before Yahoo and Hotmail and similar services will give her a free email account. The idea is to require a human being and so prevent spammers from automatically generating millions of free email accounts.

The ingenious crack is to offer a free porn site which requires that you key in the solution to a captcha—which has been inlined from Yahoo or Hotmail—before you can gain access. Free porn sites attract lots of users around the clock, and the spammers were able to generate captcha solutions fast enough to create as many throw-away email accounts as they wanted.

The link to Boing Boing is from Slashdot, where I found this in the comments.

They’ve harnessed the power of horniness, but for evil. If only that unlimited power could be harnessed for good—it would be like having controlable fusion and all of the heavy water we’d ever need.

Amazingly clever, those evil spamming bastards.

To borrow a phrase, “Heh.”


  1. Rodney says:

    That’s gonna be the new signature line on all of my emails…“Harness the power of horniness for good, not evil.”

  2. Kevin White says:

    But the question remains: WHO BUYS THAT STUFF?? I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever in my life known someone who’s known someone who would ever buy something because of a spam email. Topical banner ads on forums, sure, but surely not unsolicited, malignant spam email.

    If only it took time and money to send an unsolicted email, I could save spammers a little time and money by letting them know I will NEVER buy anything this way.

  3. It’s funny you should ask that…  I did a post back in August on that very topic.  It turns out there are a lot of gullible people out there.

  4. Kevin White says:

    Wow, that’s very interesting! And surprising, of course. You know, every time I run Ad-Aware, I’ve got several tracking cookies to get rid of, as well as an occasional program. I’m not sure how this works, but I remember the Doubleclick controversy a few years ago.

    Well, if I’m being watched—if my surfing habits are being logged—then why can’t I get more topical spam? I go to news sites, motorcycle sites, gaming sites, sometimes sports sites, and blogs. Maybe I’d be marginally more inclined to open a spam email if it was advertising a product I might have an interest in. (Not that I like the idea of being tracked or getting spam in the first place.)