The spammers are getting slicker

As anybody who’s ever run a blog knows, automated or written-by-African-Chinese-and-Indian-drone comment spam is a plague of blog life. We do a pretty good job of catching it here, and for six months or so had it completely defeated with a couple of automated tools, Akismet and Bad Behavior.

Spammers tend to be criminals promoting websites involved in cybercrime, but occasionally (usually in the guise of “SEO Experts”) they sell their skills to innocent third parties. Generally, though, no firm that is managed with integrity will use spam or spam-like (pop-up/-under, etc.) advertising to sell a legitimate product. If it’s promoted in spam, it’s probably a ripoff at best. The spammers that infest blog comments tend to be clients or spawn of fly-by-night SEO experts (well, are there any other kind? They’re scroungier than the meth-using human skeletons that turn up behind your Tritiums on home-invasion day). These drones think that by packing a lot of blogs with automated links to their junk content, they can drive unwilling clicks to the site, and profit from pay-per-view advertising.

Because their employees are either drone scripts or third world human drones, they don’t need to make much to make what they think is a fortune.

spammerinjailLately, we have had a few of these asshats break the Akismet/Bad Behavior perimeter. Today we actually had one that was two short paragraphs of comment that was grammatically and syntactically correct (an unexpected rarity of black swan scale, indicating that the drone probably lifted it from somewhere) followed at the end by a one line promo for some completely unrelated site, promoting a product commonly associated with spam advertising (and malware-infested pages).

That’s why we have a human check after the robocheck by Akismet and Bad Behavior. We think our smart human can beat the spammers’ dumb Nigerian humans. But we note that evolutionary pressures are pushing them, too, towards improved predation.

Heads up, weapons out, out there.