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A Whole Lot Of Spam Comments

May 20th, 2006 at 12:53am

Praise the lord for spam filters!

In the last few hours, one of those unscrupulous spambots bombarded this blog with 415 spam comments about hotels, credit card rates and mortgages amongst other things.

The first comment came in a few hours ago and hit the moderation queue (technically it was misuse of the “trackback” feature found on most blogs, and I have all trackbacks and pingbacks set to hit the moderation queue, as they tend to just be notifications that other websites are linking here), and since then, the nearly 400 bits of spam have been picked up by the spam filter.

All of the comments contained a bit of bold text outlining what the link was about (eg. “Free Credit Cards”), and then some raondom gibberish text to try and fool the spam filter into thinking it is a legitimate comment (eg. “chestnuts Donovan subscribing gleamed.clattered punished anthems scroll”), followed by some more text which explains the link (eg. “Amercan Express”), followed by a link to one of their many websites.

The spam attack is still going, and I have just received my second email telling me that a comment has hit the moderation queue, with the comment being a spam comment that hasn’t been picked up by the spam filter. This time around Gmail decided that the email was spam, although I have corrected it.

A few weeks ago I was thinking about finding a way for the spam filter to email me when spam comments get caught, as it was catching legitimate comments, but now I’m glad it doesn’t notify me, as having Gmail’s spam filters start declaring that my website is spamming me with emails containing spam comments would be really annoying.

If you’ve posted a comment in the last few hours and it hasn’t appeared, could you send me an email so that I can track it down and make it appear. I’d rather not delve into the spam filter list if I can avoid it, but if it has falsely recognised legitimate comments as spam, then I would like to know so that I can inform it, and therefore improve the adpative spam filtering rules.

Incidentally, one of the really exciting things about this spam filter is that it is built in to WordPress 2.x, which means that almost every installation of WordPress is using it, and by making use of some central resources, it is a mass adaptive spam filter. So if one website gets spam, the others can learn from that and block that spam when the spambot hits them, and even learn what tricks spambots are attempting to use, and block them as well.

This is similar to what Gmail does, just Gmail does it with the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of Gmail users, and therefore has millions, and possibly billions of emails to learn from each day. For the record, I have received 1165 spam emails in the last 30 days, with all but two (from memory) being correctly identified as spam by the Gmail spam filters.

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