Slamming Scamming Spammers - How To Identify Anonymous Email Authors

Nobody likes a spammer. If you happen to be a spammer and you're reading this, let me repeat: nobody likes a spammer.

But you're probably not reading this, because you're either a) sending out bulk emails promising me a bazillion dollars if I just send you my bank account details, or b) making up stupid email addresses like, in an effort to cover your tracks.

Well, watch out, buster, because we're coming for you, and since you've wasted the time of every single one of  us, and stolen money from some of us, and messed up plenty of our computers with tedious viruses and spyware, this lynch mob is pretty big. In fact, if there's one thing this divided world agrees on, it's that your ass is grass.

You see, a team from Montreal's Concordia University has found a way to determine just who it is that's writing these emails. Up until now, law enforcement officials have been able to determine where these emails are coming from, but not who is sending them - which leaves them in a bit of an evidential bind.

But it turns out that every email comes with a 'fingerprint', and that is the writing style of the author. Researchers Farkhund Iqbal, Rachid Hadjidj, Benjamin C.M. Fung, and Mourad Debbabi have developed a "novel approach of mining write-prints for authorship attribution in e-mail forensics," that can provide presentable evidence in courts of law.

Utilizing techniques used in speech recognition and data mining, their process identifies regular patterns that appear in emails, and then compares these patterns to those of other potential 'suspects', thus eliminating any false positives. From there, it's a relatively simple matter of turning up at the spammer's door, showing him the warrant, and telling him, "We've got you by the short and curlies, mister. You've got nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide."

And we can all have a slightly less polluted inbox. And the world will be a less aggravated place.

Meanwhile, we can all have a bit of fun at their expense, and waste their time for a change:

Mar 9, 2011
by Anonymous

they will find a way around this.

really. you think these people are smart enough to come up with and operate scams, but are not capable of writing in different styles. wow. no wonder they were able to con you. also, i have a cousin in Nigeria that could use your help, you would like him, he is royalty....

Mar 9, 2011
by Jamie Reygle
Jamie Reygle's picture

I think you may be

I think you may be overestimating the abilities of people who can't write very well, and the intelligence of the kind of person who would choose to be a spammer.

Jamie Reygle
Great Idea Blogger


Aug 9, 2011
by cole

I guess it's better if the

I guess it's better if the scammers don't hear about this, they wouldn't be easily tricked if the do. I am sure she's not the only one doing this though, I've seen there are plenty site's out there specialized on detecting this kind of scams and doing anything to waste these guys time. Too bad you can't deal with them just like you would deal with a virus, we need something like a virus removal software to keep them out of business.