BP has finally stoppered the Macondo well with a plug of mud and cement, but the gusher of spam continues to pollute inboxes everywhere. Maybe we need a relief well?
It’s been six months since my last spam update. The good news, I suppose, is that last summer’s huge spurt of spam has subsided. But I’m still getting 2,000 inanities a month. That’s six or seven times the rate I was seeing when I first started monitoring my spam intake in 2003. For the two years covered by the graph above, the cumulative total is 111,945 unwanted emails received.
Needless to say, most of those messages are utterly unremarkable. But as I reviewed the most recent batch of dreck, one series of emails caught my eye. In the past 24 hours I’ve received five copies of a spam with the subject line: “Solve this if you could…!!!!”:
For all Math’s champs, Accounting Experts & Number Numbssss… (including future champs too)
Find the 6th Number
1, 2, 6, 42, 1806, ____?
6th number is the password of the attachment.
The attachment mentioned in the last line is a zip archive that unpacks to reveal an .exe file, which I would not run even if I could. But I confess that I did stop to solve the little puzzle sequence. It’s not difficult, although it is a little harder than any of the series I use in the spambot filter on the bit-player comment form. Maybe I should add it to my repertory.