Instant messaging spam

by Volker Weber


This seems to be the latest trick that spammers pull. Someone opens a conversation with "whos this". Of course you do not reply. I can't make up my mind whether the offenders are robots, whether they try to make first contact with a bot and then hand it over to a person or what else is going on there.

Any insights?

Since iChat does not display a second mesage unless you "Accept" this is not too annoying so far. There are a number of things you can do to avoid those spammers but they all lead to a loss in service. The easiest escape route is to ignore anyone not on your buddylist. The software can handle that.

But one could also tie up some of the ressources. How about an Eliza-bot? iChat is scriptable so you could hand over the conversation to the bot. The most simple bot would be a simple echo. What ever you receive you just send back. The next better choice would be like the original Eliza which lets the other side believe they actually found a person.

Again, any insights?


If you answer to this question, you'll receive a short notice from the bot. It says something like "Wanna see my website? Look at .....". No humans, no eliza ;-)

Markus Thielmann, 2003-12-20

use jabber. iChat is pretty cool, but AIM sucks. Jabber only allows messaging after authorization, so you don't get bothered with stupid messages.

Nico, 2003-12-20

Come on. I know you consider yourself a jabber evangelist. It have used jabber myself, ran three servers. Nice product.

But it does not solve my problem. No audio chat, no video chat, no http proxy support in the client, not enough of my contacts on this service.

While the problem may look like a nail, I don't want the hammer. If I wanted only authenticated contacts I could lock down iChat. But I don't want to do this yet.

Volker Weber, 2003-12-20

I have to admit that there are still lots of things missing with jabber, but I guess audio/video will be solved next year.

Nico, 2003-12-21

Surely "authenticated contacts" are essentially "those allowed to talk to me" i.e. those on my buddy list in AIM / Yahoo / iChat / etc. How does this solve the spam issue?

Ben Poole, 2003-12-21

Nico, not holding my breath. Only MS and Apple so far have created "phones" that work through NAT routers without any hassles. And only Apple has done it at a useful quality of service.

Volker Weber, 2003-12-21

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