Monday, July 28, 2008

The crawlies have found my hooks

The seeded address that I lost back in March (Lost in the ether) turned out to be hidden in the most straightforward place - on my home page for the first domain I ever registered.

It has turned out to be one the most successful spamtrap seeds, considerably out-doing the dynamically generated email address present on the same page.

The dynamic address includes a static component as well as the day and IP address of the computer that accessed the page encrypted with a simple Caesar cipher to make it look like a long english address. Enough information to find the all related accesses in the web server logs. Every different host getting a different email address must make it look too fishy for the spammers as I've only recieved one spam on that type of address, while the static address has been getting progressively more emails as the months go on.

Since starting this adventure, only 4 of 50 seeded addresses have given any results at all and only one has received multiple messages. The email addresses I have actually used in the past to subscribe to published mailing lists, bug trackers, and forums have been a consistently strong source of spamtraps. The best ones have always been on well indexed on a number of sites, or included in the source code.

There are a number of other locations I have considered planting seed addresses that I haven't had the opportunity to explore yet, but I expect to play with them in the coming months. They should provide a significantly better success rate.