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Re: Preventing spammers from infiltrating the Red Hat mailing lists

On Wed, 2005-04-13 at 12:36 -0400, William M. Quarles wrote:
> I sent what I thought was a very important request to one of the Fedora
> lists which was quickly beaten down, and I did not receive anything back
> on subsequent replies.  I would appreciate your help in making sure that
> the lists are safe for all of us.  I'm actually going to the trouble of
> subscribing to nearly all of the Red Hat mailing lists just to get the
> word out.
> One thing that I have done recently was to search for my e-mail
> addresses on the Internet web pages to find all of the places that list
> them.  Why bother doing this?  Just like how Google has spiders that
> crawl the Internet to gather general information, spammers have spiders
> that crawl the Internet to gather e-mail addresses to spam people.  I
> have contacted all of the websites who did not modify my e-mail
> addresses (mostly on mailing lists) in such that they cannot be
> collected.  Red Hat has done at least one thing right in that they have
> modified everyone's e-mail address in their web archive, such that it
> reads something like <walrus bellsouth.net> for mine.

Unfortunately google picked up 47 unmunged instances of your address so
for that particular address it's a lost cause. The cat is already out of
the bag and you won't be able to put it back in. If you're going to post
to public mailing lists or otherwise "leak" your address on the
Internet, you need to either have decent spam filtering on your mailbox,
or use a disposable mail address such as a gmail account that you can
afford to discard if the spam load gets too big.

There's little point in pestering Red Hat to change the way that an
external organisation like gmane publishes data; that would be better
addressed to gmane but I still think it's a wasted effort. fedora-list
is mirrored in many different places (e.g. fedoraforum.org,
homelinux.net and no doubt other places too). There is also nothing to
stop spammers joining the list and harvesting addresses posted to them
by the list contributors.

Spam is an unwelcome scourge on the Internet but munging addresses will
only slow down the rate at which you get spammed, it won't stop it.

Paul Howarth <paul city-fan org>

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