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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

How do spammers harvest email addresses ?



There are many ways in which spammers can get your email address. The ones I know of are :

  1. From posts to UseNet with your email address.

    Spammers regularily scan UseNet for email address, using ready made programs designed to do so. Some programs just look at articles headers which contain email address (From:, Reply-To:, etc), while other programs check the articles' bodies, starting with programs that look at signatures, through programs that take everything that contain a '@' character and attempt to demunge munged email addresses.

    There have been reports of spammers demunging email addresses on occasions, ranging from demunging a single address for purposes of revenge spamming to automatic methods that try to unmunge email addresses that were munged in some common ways, e.g. remove such strings as 'nospam' from email addresses.

    As people who where spammed frequently report that spam frequency to their mailbox dropped sharply after a period in which they did not post to UseNet, as well as evidence to spammers' chase after 'fresh' and 'live' addresses, this technique seems to be the primary source of email addresses for spammers.

(See the link for more nefarious ways spammers ask to get killed in Russia...)

(IRC'd from cynical-c)
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