How clever are email harvesting bots

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by SomebodyElse, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. SomebodyElse

    SomebodyElse Guest

    How clever are email harvesting bots?
    Currently for usenet I use a ficticious email address. If I actually
    wanted people to be able to contact me, is munging my email address
    (probably in a sig) very effective in avoiding these harvesting bots?
    Say I put SomebodyElse at myisp dot co dot nz
    Are the bots being used inteligent enough to recognise this as an email
    address?
    Or do I need something more cryptic? eg myisp at somebodyelse dot co dot
    nz and swap the username with the provider? lol

    Or should I just do what I do now - just plain not put my address online
    in any shape or form.....?

    Cheers
    Scott
     
    SomebodyElse, Nov 14, 2003
    #1
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  2. SomebodyElse

    Jason M Guest

    On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 22:59:25 +1300, SomebodyElse <>
    wrote:

    >How clever are email harvesting bots?
    >Currently for usenet I use a ficticious email address. If I actually
    >wanted people to be able to contact me, is munging my email address
    >(probably in a sig) very effective in avoiding these harvesting bots?
    >Say I put SomebodyElse at myisp dot co dot nz
    >Are the bots being used inteligent enough to recognise this as an email
    >address?
    >Or do I need something more cryptic? eg myisp at somebodyelse dot co dot
    >nz and swap the username with the provider? lol
    >
    >Or should I just do what I do now - just plain not put my address online
    >in any shape or form.....?


    I suspect that in the last few months someone has been manually
    unmunging email addresses from Usenet and adding them to spam lists.
    I used to be immune from spam with my simple munging but am now
    getting lots.
    An unmunged email will get on spam lists in a few days.
    I'd recommend regularly changing your email address.
     
    Jason M, Nov 14, 2003
    #2
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  3. On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 22:59:25 +1300, SomebodyElse <> wrote:

    >How clever are email harvesting bots?
    >Currently for usenet I use a ficticious email address. If I actually
    >wanted people to be able to contact me, is munging my email address
    >(probably in a sig) very effective in avoiding these harvesting bots?
    >Say I put SomebodyElse at myisp dot co dot nz
    >Are the bots being used inteligent enough to recognise this as an email
    >address?
    >Or do I need something more cryptic? eg myisp at somebodyelse dot co dot
    >nz and swap the username with the provider? lol
    >
    >Or should I just do what I do now - just plain not put my address online
    >in any shape or form.....?
    >
    >Cheers
    >Scott


    Spam is not the end of the world, is it..?


    If you are that Paranoid about just don't post a thing..

    And why worry, e a ISP with a Spam filter..
     
    Gregory Parker, Nov 14, 2003
    #3
  4. SomebodyElse

    steve Guest

    SomebodyElse allegedly said:

    > Or should I just do what I do now - just plain not put my address online
    > in any shape or form.....?


    Somewhere in Asia or eastern Europe there will be someone who sits all day
    and de-cyphers "munged" e-mail addresses and sells them to spammers.

    6.3 billion people on Earth.....and I'm sure there has to be at least ONE
    doing it.

    use a totally bogus address. You're better off posting your phone number in
    alt.timewasters or something and such people 'waste their time looking for
    your number'.

    That should be enough for those with an IQ over 100 and a good nights sleep
    to catch on.


    --
    Best Regards,
    Steve Withers
    defenestrate: The act of throwing Windows out the window and replacing it on
    your PC with some other operating system.
     
    steve, Nov 14, 2003
    #4
  5. SomebodyElse

    steve Guest

    Gregory Parker allegedly said:

    >
    > Spam is not the end of the world, is it..?


    It is.

    150 of them / day is not trivial...and it's easy to get that many and more
    if not careful with your address.

    --
    Best Regards,
    Steve Withers
    defenestrate: The act of throwing Windows out the window and replacing it on
    your PC with some other operating system.
     
    steve, Nov 14, 2003
    #5
  6. SomebodyElse

    steve Guest

    Gregory Parker allegedly said:

    > Spam is not the end of the world, is it..?


    I also don't like graphic spam images of anal sex and bondage appearing in
    my kid's email.

    --
    Best Regards,
    Steve Withers
    defenestrate: The act of throwing Windows out the window and replacing it on
    your PC with some other operating system.
     
    steve, Nov 14, 2003
    #6
  7. On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 00:38:08 +1300, steve wrote:

    > Somewhere in Asia or eastern Europe there will be someone who sits all day
    > and de-cyphers "munged" e-mail addresses and sells them to spammers.


    I've watched them in the cafes in downtown Colon (appropriate name), Cebu,
    in the Philippines.

    They get NZ$10/day and think it's a fortune.

    They also get paid the same rate to stuff webforms by hand.

    I've also watched the same thing happening in Sandakan (Eastern Malaysia),
    in cafes with larger-than-life-size pictures of Osama Bin Liner smiling
    down from the walls, but the spammers were being paid slightly more there
    and their output was lower.
     
    Uncle StoatWarbler, Nov 14, 2003
    #7
  8. On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 00:39:00 +1300, steve wrote:

    > 150 of them / day is not trivial...and it's easy to get that many and more
    > if not careful with your address.


    Spam is on the verge of being legalised in the USA and UK.

    This means that mainstream companies are likely to start spamming and the
    rules are opt out in both instances

    There are 23 million businesses in the USA. They won't bother targetting
    as it costs more than just boradtcasting to everyone.


    If 1% of those businesses send you 1 message per year, (and assuming noone
    cheats), that works out to aound 750 extra messages/day in your inbox,
    which you'll have to reply to with remove requests.
     
    Uncle StoatWarbler, Nov 14, 2003
    #8
  9. SomebodyElse

    Ralph Fox Guest

    On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 00:38:08 +1300, in article
    <A83tb.7074$>, steve wrote:

    > SomebodyElse allegedly said:
    >
    > > Or should I just do what I do now - just plain not put my address online
    > > in any shape or form.....?

    >
    > Somewhere in Asia or eastern Europe there will be someone who sits all day
    > and de-cyphers "munged" e-mail addresses and sells them to spammers.
    >
    > 6.3 billion people on Earth.....and I'm sure there has to be at least ONE
    > doing it.



    It would seem that spammers will pay for this, from this spam I got a few months ago.

    | Date: Sun, 20 Jul 2003 07:01:04 +0100
    | Subject: Earn $10 for each email address you collect!!
    | From: [...SNIP...]
    |
    | Hi, [...SNIP...]
    |
    | Get money deposited directly and immediately to YOUR account.
    |
    | Earn a steady stream of $10 bills for each email addresses you collect.
    |
    | Have your very own fully automated, money making home business.
    |
    | Get $287 in FREE ebooks about making money online just for requesting information!
    |
    | [...SNIP...]


    --
    Cheers,
    Ralph

    "There is only one boss, the customer. And he can fire everybody in
    the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money
    somewhere else." -- Sam Walton
     
    Ralph Fox, Nov 14, 2003
    #9
  10. SomebodyElse

    Peter Guest

    Uncle StoatWarbler wrote:
    > Spam is on the verge of being legalised in the USA and UK.
    > This means that mainstream companies are likely to start spamming and the
    > rules are opt out in both instances


    and those little "opt out" links don't work.
    Either it's a dead link that does nothing, or it leads to a spammer who
    notes your email address as confirmed (ie a real address that is read by a
    human) and puts it on a priority spam list.


    Peter
     
    Peter, Nov 14, 2003
    #10
  11. SomebodyElse

    Peter Guest

    Jason M wrote:
    > I suspect that in the last few months someone has been manually
    > unmunging email addresses from Usenet and adding them to spam lists.
    > I used to be immune from spam with my simple munging but am now
    > getting lots.
    > An unmunged email will get on spam lists in a few days.
    > I'd recommend regularly changing your email address.


    Changing email address is a pain, and inconvenient for your friends who want
    to send you email. Another option is to have a webmail address (like
    yahoo) for posting in public arenas. Yahoo has a fairly good spam filter
    and works ok for me.
    That way, if your webmail address gets too loaded with spam, change that
    one, but keep your real address just for friends and family.


    Peter
     
    Peter, Nov 14, 2003
    #11
  12. SomebodyElse

    Peter Guest

    Uncle StoatWarbler wrote:
    <snip>
    > They also get paid the same rate to stuff webforms by hand.


    true
    I use a web mailform on my web site to avoid spam, and was amazed this week
    to get the first spam message via the form. Someone must have manually
    filled in the form. (Maybe they'll get bots to do it one day - yuk.)


    Peter
     
    Peter, Nov 14, 2003
    #12
  13. SomebodyElse

    Jason M Guest

    On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 08:00:11 +1300, Peter <>
    wrote:

    >Jason M wrote:
    >> I suspect that in the last few months someone has been manually
    >> unmunging email addresses from Usenet and adding them to spam lists.
    >> I used to be immune from spam with my simple munging but am now
    >> getting lots.
    >> An unmunged email will get on spam lists in a few days.
    >> I'd recommend regularly changing your email address.

    >
    >Changing email address is a pain, and inconvenient for your friends who want
    >to send you email. Another option is to have a webmail address (like
    >yahoo) for posting in public arenas. Yahoo has a fairly good spam filter
    >and works ok for me.
    >That way, if your webmail address gets too loaded with spam, change that
    >one, but keep your real address just for friends and family.


    Yes I was talking only about changing the email address that I use for
    posting in public arenas such as Usenet. You will observe that I use
    Hotmail for that purpose.
     
    Jason M, Nov 14, 2003
    #13
  14. SomebodyElse

    Gavin Tunney Guest

    On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 22:59:25 +1300, SomebodyElse <>
    wrote:

    >How clever are email harvesting bots?
    >Currently for usenet I use a ficticious email address. If I actually
    >wanted people to be able to contact me, is munging my email address
    >(probably in a sig) very effective in avoiding these harvesting bots?
    >Say I put SomebodyElse at myisp dot co dot nz
    >Are the bots being used inteligent enough to recognise this as an email
    >address?
    >Or do I need something more cryptic? eg myisp at somebodyelse dot co dot
    >nz and swap the username with the provider? lol
    >
    >Or should I just do what I do now - just plain not put my address online
    >in any shape or form.....?
    >
    >Cheers
    >Scott


    I get about 30-40 (normal) spams a day, and I've been posting using my
    own email addy for years. I think much depends on what newsgroups you
    subscribe to, the *.nz groups don't appear to get harvested that much.

    I've noticed a pattern to spam over the years, and most of my spam is
    almost certainly due to my addy getting on a spammers list & then been
    resold to other spammers over time....rather than continually being
    harvested. I use different addys for different purposes & I've had
    quite a few spams addressed to one addy & CCed to another so the
    spammers are quite smart at collating their lists & obviously harvest
    from many different sources.

    I think the most common method of harvesting is spidering websites,
    the people I know who get the most spam have their email addy on their
    website....it's a serious problem for those in business or at work.

    A lot of spammers also use tracking in their spam, and a good way to
    reduce existing spam is not to view or preview spam with embedded
    links to external sites as it tells the spammer their email has been
    received & the addy is valid.

    One of the interesting aspects of spam is that the fraudulent spam
    like the Westpac & Paypal scams I get frequently are from a spammers
    list I'm on somewhere.. can tell by the addys they're sent to. That
    ties spam into criminal activity, but no doubt the powers-that-be will
    find that a little too subtle to comprehend.

    Basically if you don't want to get any spam then don't use your real
    email addy in public communications. That alone probably isn't enough
    however, just cuts it down to manageable proportions. Some of the
    worms that do the rounds are email addy harvesters, of that I have no
    doubt.

    The ISP who hosts my domain has spam filtering that rates spam by
    probability so I can filter it as it arrives.... about 3-5 per hundred
    get thru the filters so spam affects me not in the slightest.

    Cheers

    Gavin
     
    Gavin Tunney, Nov 15, 2003
    #14
  15. Hi there,

    Jason M wrote:
    > On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 22:59:25 +1300, SomebodyElse <>
    > wrote:
    >
    >>How clever are email harvesting bots?

    >
    > I suspect that in the last few months someone has been manually
    > unmunging email addresses from Usenet and adding them to spam lists.
    > I used to be immune from spam with my simple munging but am now
    > getting lots.


    I agree. How about a quick questionnaire? I'd like to get a picture
    of the demographics behind those who receive lots of spam etc...

    For those who get gobs of spam and MS Patch crap...

    Mark your 'yes' answers with a 'x' between the [] like this [x]

    A: Are you a linux user who debates Lin vs.Win heatedly? []
    B: Have you replied argumentatively to a Woger post? []
    C: Do you munge your reply-to and from address fields? []
    D: Do you use an incarnation of MS outlook/express? []
    E: Do you use monotype to display messages? []

    ;-)

    I could ask a gazillion more questions, but that will do in the
    meantime! BTW, the one about monotype is a red herring...all it
    means is that the check boxes will not line up if you use other
    than a mono font...

    --
    Kind regards,

    Chris Wilkinson, Christchurch, New Zealand.
    Remove spamblocker to send replies direct to my email...
     
    Chris Wilkinson, Nov 15, 2003
    #15
  16. SomebodyElse

    Invisible Guest

    On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 23:28:40 +1300, Gregory Parker
    <> wrote:

    >On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 22:59:25 +1300, SomebodyElse <> wrote:
    >
    >>How clever are email harvesting bots?
    >>Currently for usenet I use a ficticious email address. If I actually
    >>wanted people to be able to contact me, is munging my email address
    >>(probably in a sig) very effective in avoiding these harvesting bots?
    >>Say I put SomebodyElse at myisp dot co dot nz
    >>Are the bots being used inteligent enough to recognise this as an email
    >>address?
    >>Or do I need something more cryptic? eg myisp at somebodyelse dot co dot
    >>nz and swap the username with the provider? lol
    >>
    >>Or should I just do what I do now - just plain not put my address online
    >>in any shape or form.....?
    >>
    >>Cheers
    >>Scott

    >
    >Spam is not the end of the world, is it..?


    You just love all that Penis Enlargement spam, don't you Woger?
     
    Invisible, Nov 15, 2003
    #16
  17. On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 19:46:31 +1300, Invisible <> wrote:

    >On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 23:28:40 +1300, Gregory Parker
    ><> wrote:
    >
    >>On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 22:59:25 +1300, SomebodyElse <> wrote:
    >>
    >>>How clever are email harvesting bots?
    >>>Currently for usenet I use a ficticious email address. If I actually
    >>>wanted people to be able to contact me, is munging my email address
    >>>(probably in a sig) very effective in avoiding these harvesting bots?
    >>>Say I put SomebodyElse at myisp dot co dot nz
    >>>Are the bots being used inteligent enough to recognise this as an email
    >>>address?
    >>>Or do I need something more cryptic? eg myisp at somebodyelse dot co dot
    >>>nz and swap the username with the provider? lol
    >>>
    >>>Or should I just do what I do now - just plain not put my address online
    >>>in any shape or form.....?
    >>>
    >>>Cheers
    >>>Scott

    >>
    >>Spam is not the end of the world, is it..?

    >
    >You just love all that Penis Enlargement spam, don't you Woger?
    >
    >




    No as its mostly remove by Paradise and before that I was running a Host
    server Spam filter, that killed most on them..
     
    Gregory Parker, Nov 15, 2003
    #17
  18. SomebodyElse

    steve Guest

    Uncle StoatWarbler allegedly said:

    >
    > If 1% of those businesses send you 1 message per year, (and assuming noone
    > cheats), that works out to aound 750 extra messages/day in your inbox,
    > which you'll have to reply to with remove requests.


    I suppose eventually it will be illegal to block it asa that will be
    interfering with the mail.

    At that point, we go back to writing letters and buying stamps. :)

    --
    Best Regards,
    Steve Withers
    defenestrate: The act of throwing Windows out the window and replacing it on
    your PC with some other operating system.
     
    steve, Nov 15, 2003
    #18
  19. SomebodyElse

    Jerry Guest

    On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 21:59:06 +1300, Gregory Parker
    <> wrote:

    >On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 19:46:31 +1300, Invisible <> wrote:
    >
    >>On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 23:28:40 +1300, Gregory Parker
    >><> wrote:
    >>
    >>>On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 22:59:25 +1300, SomebodyElse <> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>>How clever are email harvesting bots?
    >>>>Currently for usenet I use a ficticious email address. If I actually
    >>>>wanted people to be able to contact me, is munging my email address
    >>>>(probably in a sig) very effective in avoiding these harvesting bots?
    >>>>Say I put SomebodyElse at myisp dot co dot nz
    >>>>Are the bots being used inteligent enough to recognise this as an email
    >>>>address?
    >>>>Or do I need something more cryptic? eg myisp at somebodyelse dot co dot
    >>>>nz and swap the username with the provider? lol
    >>>>
    >>>>Or should I just do what I do now - just plain not put my address online
    >>>>in any shape or form.....?
    >>>>
    >>>>Cheers
    >>>>Scott
    >>>
    >>>Spam is not the end of the world, is it..?

    >>
    >>You just love all that Penis Enlargement spam, don't you Woger?
    >>
    >>

    >
    >
    >
    >No as its mostly remove by Paradise and before that I was running a Host
    >server Spam filter, that killed most on them..
    >


    What, killed most of your teenagers with large penises? You must have
    been devastated.

    Jerry
     
    Jerry, Nov 15, 2003
    #19
  20. SomebodyElse

    Petrushka Guest

    Peter wrote:
    > Uncle StoatWarbler wrote:
    > <snip>
    >
    >>They also get paid the same rate to stuff webforms by hand.

    >
    >
    > true
    > I use a web mailform on my web site to avoid spam, and was amazed this week
    > to get the first spam message via the form. Someone must have manually
    > filled in the form. (Maybe they'll get bots to do it one day - yuk.)
    >
    >
    > Peter


    It sounds like it's already happened -
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/technology/3210623.stm

    --
    de_meun at yahoo d0t com
    Wellington, NZ
     
    Petrushka, Nov 17, 2003
    #20
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