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Cyren Security Blog

ASCII Art spam makes a comeback

It’s been a while since we’ve seen these – but they are so pretty and creative that we feel obliged to write about them. We are referring to ASCII art spam emails. ASCII art (for those who don’t know how to open nfo files) uses cleverly arranged standard keyboard characters as well as extended character sets to create pictures or messages in a kind-of low-resolution graphic. See example below:
Spammers have used this technique in the past to evade content-based anti-spam filters – the jumble of characters that is used is simply not detected as spam. This newer version includes a clickable link (previous generations simply spelled out the name of the advertised website).
The downside (for the spammer) – it’s not always legible (depending on the zoom level and system fonts).

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