Giorgio Fumera, Ignazio Pillai, Fabio Roli.
Year: 2006, Volume: 7, Issue: 98, Pages: 2699−2720
In recent years anti-spam filters have become necessary tools for Internet service providers to face up to the continuously growing spam phenomenon. Current server-side anti-spam filters are made up of several modules aimed at detecting different features of spam e-mails. In particular, text categorisation techniques have been investigated by researchers for the design of modules for the analysis of the semantic content of e-mails, due to their potentially higher generalisation capability with respect to manually derived classification rules used in current server-side filters. However, very recently spammers introduced a new trick consisting of embedding the spam message into attached images, which can make all current techniques based on the analysis of digital text in the subject and body fields of e-mails ineffective. In this paper we propose an approach to anti-spam filtering which exploits the text information embedded into images sent as attachments. Our approach is based on the application of state-of-the-art text categorisation techniques to the analysis of text extracted by OCR tools from images attached to e-mails. The effectiveness of the proposed approach is experimentally evaluated on two large corpora of spam e-mails.