will spammers early adopt hashcash? (Re: Spam Spotlight on Reputation)

Adam Back adam at cypherspace.org
Tue Sep 7 16:13:13 EDT 2004

On Tue, Sep 07, 2004 at 08:14:51AM -0700, bear wrote:
> I've turned down two job offers, though -- from software companies
> with "bulk mail products", looking for natural-language guys to
> build "paraphrase engines" to bypass spam filters [...] They're
> actually willing to hire engineers at specialist salaries to build
> new ways to bypass filters.

It is just market-led research into showing that the bayesian
anti-spam systems are fatally flawed, someone needs to do it :-).
Only when both sides are fully optimized will we see the true picture
of how spam can be stopped.

(Eg. this is why hashcash has been optimized to death in processor
specific assembly code ... spammers will do it so we must not kid

> We should not be at all surprised, when we offer a way to
> "auto-whitelist" email and therefore bypass filters at a lower
> cost than hiring engineers, that they're leaping onto it at
> a much higher rate than legit senders.

The higher than average SPF adoption rate by spammers confirms they
are early adopters.  I'd like to see them try to early-adopt hashcash
though ;-)

(There are similar incentives to SPF, maybe higher incentives as of
spamassassin 3.0.)

Well we'll see.  If they have lots of CPU from zombies and can get and
maintain more with limited effort maybe even they can, and CAMRAM's
higher cost stamp on introductions only will prevail as the preferred


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