Using "email AT domain Dot com" Makes Spammers Job Easier
By on January 13th, 2010

We are all afraid of our email addresses being harvested and being used to send us spam. To overcome that fear, some bright person (who I don’t know) came up with an idea to use “email AT domain DOT com”, this essentially thwarted a spammer’s regex attack to harvest email address which were written as email@domain.com.

email_spam

However, spammers have gotten smarter, and using the above idea has gotten to be more dangerous than using your actual email address. Here is a very startling reason why, thanks to chris@localhost.

Search engines don’t index special characters, so an email of the form email@domain.comis protected from this sort of discovery.   The basic trouble is email AT domain DOT comis completely indexed by search engines, and its unique enough that whenever you see at domain dot com, you know its part of an email address.

So, rest assured if you continue to use this method to “protect” your email address, you might very well be saying hello to new spammers. Why? A simple Google query can give spammers access to at-least 1000 or more email addresses, and most spammers are usually good at writing decent regex to harvest emails.

How to Avoid Spammers and Still Share Your Email Address

Well, if you are already afraid of sharing your email address in public, let me tell you that there are several more ways in which you can actually share your email id online without having to worry about spammers.

Here are few ways in which you can safely share your email address online.

  1. Share your email address with reCAPTCHA Mailhide – One of the most effective ways (yet not foolproof) to put a halt to spamming is using a CAPTCHA. With the help of reCAPTCHA Mailhide, users will have to fill in a CAPTCHA before they can see your email address.
  2. Using Anonymous or Temporary Email IDs – Another efficient way of keeping away from spammers is to make the use of anon or temporary email IDs which cannot be linked back to your original account. If you think an anon ID is being spammed, simply delete it and your email will remain safe from spam.
  3. Email Obscurification – A good way to hide your email address on webpages is to obscure the actual email address and hide it behind a set of illegible code. This service provides a good way to obscure your email address using JavaScript.
  4. Using Images to Share Email – Another good way (yet not foolproof) of sharing your email address is to create an image with your email address and share it with others. You will find several online services to create images with your email address, Safe Mail is a good place to start out at.

Summarizing

The problem with technology is that everyone has access to it, including the spammers. It is always good to mix and match your security measures, rather than create a pattern.

Email spam filters are also getting powerful day by day, however, I must admit that they are too not always accurate and might let through spam or throw up false-positives.

Thanks for the tip Nischal Shetty

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Author: Keith Dsouza Google Profile for Keith Dsouza
I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website. I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.

Keith Dsouza has written and can be contacted at keith@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://razzil.com RRH

    Thanks Buddy, I share my email address in @gmail.com only on twitter, facebook, Next time I will aware of this.

    Thanks for sharing

 
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