Akismet Confirms They See Increased Blog Comments Spam, Suggests Spammers Try to Attack Existing Defenses
November 19, 2008 |
As some of you may remember, over the weekend I published some of my thoughts about very visible increase in spam volumes that arrives in comments to blogs. I was not the only person noticing that and my idea was that spammers were trying to compensate for loss of email channel for spam after McColo hosting company responsible for three quarters of the total worldwide spam volume was disconnected from the internet.
Now that we are starting to see the number of spam emails hitting our inboxes slowly resuming, I am also seeing the number of spam comments caught by Akismet getting back to normal again. And it looks like spammers are really working hard to attack all distribution channels they can with their ads (probably getting ready for the holiday season and trying to compensate for less sales due to financial crisis).
I have just received a confirmation from Akismet about the situation and wanted to share it here so that anyone could dig deeper into the problem. Basically, the guys over at Akismet think that spammers are trying to overwhelm anti-spam systems (Akismet included) with the increased volumes of spam and cause their outage to be able to post all the spam they want without further obstacles. Here is the text of the email:
Yes there is a lot more spam around right now. There is always an increase around now anyway as they try to push Christmas spam / drive people to their websites. But this increase is much higher and consists of nonsense spam.
As for why I think it is an attempt to overwhelm existing defences. Last year there was really only Akismet as a centralised service. This year we have Typepad antispam and Mollom. So my guess is that they have to work harder to get the same result and one way they could try and win is to simply overwhelm them with nonsense.
That approach will not work, certainly with Akismet. It is scaling up to cope with the demand. But when people see more spam maybe they think Akismet (and others) is no good and they stop using Akismet. That could open them up to other spam. It definitely seems like spam aimed at Akismet though.
Akismet is learning fast as usual and we are doing what we can when we see different patterns.
Yet I’m afraid spammers will not be willing to share their real motives and plans with us and we will have to stick to our guesses probably until security experts discover certain patterns in these changes of spamming behavior. But it really is intriguing to watch spammers growing more and more aggressive in their dubious activities given both holiday season emerging and the financial crisis we are in.