Snowshoeing

What is it?

What is it?

Snowshoeing is a deceptive email marketing technique spammers use to evade spam filters and distribute unsolicited commercial emails (UCE) across many IP addresses and domains. The term "snowshoeing" alludes to distributing weight evenly over a wide surface to avoid sinking in snow, reflecting the strategy of spreading spam across multiple sources to avoid detection.

Key points to remember

Key points to remember

  • Distribution Strategy: Snowshoeing involves spreading spam campaigns across a broad range of IP addresses and domains and sending entities to distribute the spam load evenly and reduce the likelihood of triggering spam filters or blocklisting.

  • IP Reputation Evasion: By distributing spam messages across numerous IP addresses and domains, snowshoers attempt to prevent the accumulation of negative reputation signals associated with any single source, making it challenging for spam filters to identify and block their messages based on sender reputation alone.


  • Low Volume Per Source: Snowshoeing campaigns typically send relatively small volumes of spam from each source to avoid arousing suspicion or triggering rate-based spam detection mechanisms that flag high-volume senders.


  • Dynamic Sender Identities: Snowshoers frequently employ rotating sender names, email addresses, domains, and message content variations to obfuscate their identity further and evade pattern-based spam detection algorithms.


  • Detection Challenges: Snowshoeing presents challenges for traditional spam filtering approaches, as it relies on distributed and decentralized spamming tactics that can bypass reputation-based filtering and require more sophisticated detection techniques to identify and mitigate effectively.

Example of Use

Example of Use

  1. Spam Campaigns: A spammer orchestrates a snowshoeing campaign by distributing unsolicited emails promoting various products or services across many IP addresses and domains, with each source sending a relatively small volume of spam to avoid detection.


  2. Malicious Phishing: Cybercriminals may use snowshoeing techniques to propagate phishing emails impersonating legitimate organizations, distributing phishing links or malware-laden attachments across multiple sources to increase the chances of successful email delivery and deception.

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