How Image Spamming Works

Although a lot of software has been developed in recent years to block spam from your email client, there is a new form of spam that is designed to get around spam blockers and into your Inbox. The new form of spamming is known as image spamming and uses images instead of text to bypass spam blocking software.

How Image Spamming Works

Spam is usually sent in the form of a text message in which specific words in the message can be used by spam blocking software to prevent the message from reaching your Inbox. With image spamming, the text is placed inside the image in an effort to bypass the spam blocking software.

Since images are considered a normal part of a recipient's email message and the spam blocking software is mainly designed for text, the spammer is successful in getting the message to reach your Inbox. Spam filters are designed to read specific words that determine whether or not the spam should be filtered out. The messages are then forwarded to a spam folder where the recipient can choose to view them or not.

More recent spam filters have tightened security by eliminating the spam messages altogether and improving the criteria that determines a message as spam. As a result, spammers came up with a way to combine text with images to get around the tightened security of spam filters.

How to Block Image Spam

Although there is software currently being designed to block image spam, there are a few ways that you can help to block image spam from reaching your Inbox.

  • OCR Programs: An Optical Character Recognition program is software that is designed to scan and read text and analyze images. This type of program is sometimes used to identify image spam. The only drawback is that OCR programs require a lot of bandwidth and can max out your central processing unit. OCR programs are also incapable of reading handwritten messages so some spammers get around the program by creating a handwritten message to send as spam.
  • Delete the Messages: The only other way to prevent image spam at this point is to carefully monitor the messages that come into your Inbox and then delete them from your email client. Keep in mind that this requires very careful monitoring because a lot of spam can be made to look like it came from someone you know or another legitimate source. If you are unsure, it is best to contact the person or source that you know to find out if they actually sent you the email message.
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