Spam, The New Cryptography

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Recently I stumbled upon a very interesting website called SpamMimic, they have created a service that takes free form text as input (this would be your secret message) and encode it into a message that looks like spam. Then the recipient who receives this "spam" will decode it back into the original secret message.

This is very interesting and I predict that it will be the best way to encode private messages in the future. There is already an influx of spam on the internet so a lot of these messages will be ignored. But wait, what if spam messages are deleted? Well this is when the actual algorithm to encode and decode text to spam should be improved and really make it look like some boring blah blah conversation that you actually would do.

The folks at SpamMimic keep a database of spam message to use for the encoding. So if the algorithm is done in such a way that instead of using a DB of spam messages it uses a DB of your personal email archive. So the encoded output will really look like it had originated from you. So anyone who intercepts the message will not think "oh suddenly these 2 people are exchanging spam, looks suspicious"

See the below secret message get encoded to spam. You can go to SpamMimic and enter in the spam text and decode it back to its original form.

Secret Message
SubversiveBytes is a very cool blog, purple monkey dishwasher

Encoded to SPAM

Dear Friend ; We know you are interested in receiving
cutting-edge announcement . If you are not interested
in our publications and wish to be removed from our
lists, simply do NOT respond and ignore this mail .
This mail is being sent in compliance with Senate bill
1626 , Title 8 , Section 309 . Do NOT confuse us with
Internet scam artists ! Why work for somebody else
when you can become rich in 10 days . Have you ever
noticed nearly every commercial on television has a
.com on in it and more people than ever are surfing
the web ! Well, now is your chance to capitalize on
this ! We will help you deliver goods right to the
customer's doorstep and sell more ! You can begin at
absolutely no cost to you ! But don't believe us .
Ms Jones of New York tried us and says "I've been poor
and I've been rich - rich is better" . This offer is
100% legal . We implore you - act now . Sign up a friend
and your friend will be rich too ! Thanks ! Dear Friend
, Thank-you for your interest in our newsletter . We
will comply with all removal requests . This mail is
being sent in compliance with Senate bill 1624 , Title
6 , Section 308 . This is not a get rich scheme ! Why
work for somebody else when you can become rich inside
84 days . Have you ever noticed how long the line-ups
are at bank machines and society seems to be moving
faster and faster ! Well, now is your chance to capitalize
on this . WE will help YOU turn your business into
an E-BUSINESS & increase customer response by 180%
. The best thing about our system is that it is absolutely
risk free for you ! But don't believe us ! Prof Simpson
of Florida tried us and says "My only problem now is
where to park all my cars" . This offer is 100% legal
. If not for you then for your loved ones - act now
. Sign up a friend and you'll get a discount of 10%
. Thank-you for your serious consideration of our offer
. Dear Decision maker , Your email address has been
submitted to us indicating your interest in our letter
. This is a one time mailing there is no need to request
removal if you won't want any more ! This mail is being
sent in compliance with Senate bill 2016 ; Title 5
, Section 303 . This is not a get rich scheme ! Why
work for somebody else when you can become rich in
92 DAYS ! Have you ever noticed nearly every commercial
on television has a .com on in it and most everyone
has a cellphone ! Well, now is your chance to capitalize
on this . WE will help YOU SELL MORE plus process your
orders within seconds . You can begin at absolutely
no cost to you ! But don't believe us . Mr Ames who
resides in Washington tried us and says "I've been
poor and I've been rich - rich is better" ! This offer
is 100% legal ! Do not go to sleep without ordering
! Sign up a friend and your friend will be rich too
. Cheers ! Dear Friend ; This letter was specially
selected to be sent to you . If you are not interested
in our publications and wish to be removed from our
lists, simply do NOT respond and ignore this mail !
This mail is being sent in compliance with Senate bill
2316 ; Title 6 ; Section 304 ! This is not a get rich
scheme . Why work for somebody else when you can become
rich as few as 93 weeks ! Have you ever noticed how
many people you know are on the Internet plus nearly
every commercial on television has a .com on in it
. Well, now is your chance to capitalize on this .
WE will help YOU decrease perceived waiting time by
160% and deliver goods right to the customer's doorstep
. You can begin at absolutely no cost to you . But
don't believe us ! Ms Jones of Georgia tried us and
says "I was skeptical but it worked for me" ! We assure
you that we operate within all applicable laws . You
have no reason not to act now ! Sign up a friend and
your friend will be rich too . Thank-you for your serious
consideration of our offer ! Dear Cybercitizen , Especially
for you - this red-hot announcement . We will comply
with all removal requests . This mail is being sent
in compliance with Senate bill 1622 ; Title 9 , Section
306 . Do NOT confuse us with Internet scam artists
. Why work for somebody else when you can become rich
within 36 days . Have you ever noticed nearly every
commercial on television has a .com on in it and the
baby boomers are more demanding than their parents
. Well, now is your chance to capitalize on this !
WE will help YOU deliver goods right to the customer's
doorstep and deliver goods right to the customer's
doorstep . You can begin at absolutely no cost to you
. But don't believe us ! Prof Jones of Arizona tried
us and says "I was skeptical but it worked for me"
! We are licensed to operate in all states . For the
sake of your family order now ! Sign up a friend and
you get half off ! Thank-you for your serious consideration
of our offer !

Yeah, that’s a huge encoded text. The authors of SpamMimic have kept their algorithm closed source and provide an encoding / decoding service online. They claim to have modified an existing algorithm from the book Disappearing Cryptography – Nothingness Engineering Programming and say that if anyone wants to do the same they can read the book and develop a similar service or software or mail plugin even.

SPAM is the new weapon of the future. There is nothing more secure than having your message in front of someone’s face and having them just ignore it thinking it’s garbage. I actually may just buy the book 🙂

****** UPDATE ******
Looking at the text of spam again; I started to analyze it a bit. I notice that no matter what message it encodes the output has quite a lot of exclamation marks. Not just that they come padded with spaces before and after. So I figure this is how it might be working

  • Each letter of the alphabet (upper and lower) is mapped to an arbitrary length sentence (or more than one sentence) It is important that this mapping is unique and that there are no 2 mappings that are the same
  • Each mapped sentence is delimitted by a period or exclamation mark padded by a space on each end. Example 0x20 0x2E 0x20 or 0x20 0x21 0x20 This is so you know when a mapping value starts and ends
  • Each mapping can be tagged with a keyword describing something meaningful about it. So certain mapped sentences, when appended together, will make sense. This might involve having several sentence mapping for the same character. If so then there needs to be special verb words or something that glues these mappings together

This is at least my take on it. I am eager to find free time in order to code my own version. I’ll open source it because it will only make it stronger.

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2 thoughts on “Spam, The New Cryptography

    zuzZ said:
    September 23, 2012 at 11:33 am

    messing around with spammimic i noticed a few things..

    – The first letter of the decoded text specifies the spam form. Apparently they have a database of spam text and each letter is mapped to a specific form.

    “ab”

    Dear Professional , Your email address has been submitted
    to us indicating your interest in our briefing ! If
    you no longer wish to receive our publications simply
    reply with a Subject: of “REMOVE” and you will immediately
    be removed from our club ! This mail is being
    sent in compliance with Senate bill 2316 , Title 3
    ; Section 307 . This is a ligitimate business proposal
    ! Why work for somebody else when you can become rich
    as few as 98 DAYS . Have you ever noticed most everyone
    has a cellphone and more people than ever are surfing
    the web . Well, now is your chance to capitalize on
    this ! WE will help YOU decrease perceived waiting
    time by 200% and turn your business into an E-BUSINESS
    ! The best thing about our system is that it is absolutely
    risk free for you ! But don’t believe us . Mr Ames
    of Massachusetts tried us and says “My only problem
    now is where to park all my cars” ! We are licensed
    to operate in all states ! We beseech you – act now
    . Sign up a friend and your friend will be rich too
    ! Thank-you for your serious consideration of our offer !

    “ac”

    Dear Professional , Your email address has been submitted
    to us indicating your interest in our briefing ! If
    you no longer wish to receive our publications simply
    reply with a Subject: of “REMOVE” and you will immediately
    be removed from our mailing list ! This mail is being
    sent in compliance with Senate bill 1624 , Title 3
    ; Section 307 . This is a ligitimate business proposal
    ! Why work for somebody else when you can become rich
    as few as 98 DAYS . Have you ever noticed most everyone
    has a cellphone and more people than ever are surfing
    the web . Well, now is your chance to capitalize on
    this ! WE will help YOU decrease perceived waiting
    time by 200% and turn your business into an E-BUSINESS
    ! The best thing about our system is that it is absolutely
    risk free for you ! But don’t believe us . Mr Ames
    of Massachusetts tried us and says “My only problem
    now is where to park all my cars” ! We are licensed
    to operate in all states ! We beseech you – act now
    . Sign up a friend and your friend will be rich too
    ! Thank-you for your serious consideration of our offer !

    the only difference between the 2 texts is “mailing list / club” and the Senate bill “1624 / 2316”.

    encoding “bb” gives out a totally different form.

      georgedma responded:
      September 23, 2012 at 10:56 pm

      Yeah, I’ve tried comparing the output of a, b, c ..etc. and then I saw the encoding of “abc” and its not just the output of all three letters smooshed together. There are similarities at work here, I have a hunch there is something to do with character mapping just as with Base64 but instead of 1 byte mapped to 1 character it’s mapped to sentences.

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