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Image Spam on the Rise

Image Spam on the Rise

In an ever growing arms race to make our inboxes useless, a different kind of spam is on the rise — image spam. According to, image spam has jumped from just 2% to 30% of all spam. What’s the big deal? Apparently anti-spam software has a blindspot when it comes to images. Ironically, they’re invisible to them.

That’s because most anti-spam programs work off the presumption that e-mails only contain simple text. The programs scan messages for certain key phrases (like “Viagra” or “must sell now”) and block messages with the flagged content. The programs don’t analyze pictures, so the same words saved as an image file go undetected. “The image spammers are really working a blind spot,” says Secure Computing Chief Technology Officer Paul Judge.

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I wonder whether or not there’s a difference in the image-spam detecting abilities of on-line vs. offline email readers. Personally I’ve found Gmail’s spam filters to work pretty well against all sorts of spam, including the image-related ones. What’s everyone else’s experience been like?

View Comments (2)
  • I just switched completely over to GMail from my own domain name in Apple Mail, because of the image spam. In the last few weeks I’ve seen more and more junk come my way, and it’s all images. GMail has hit the bulk of it.

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