A Geek’s Delight

It’s probably a sign that you’re a hopeless geek pathetically in need of a life if you’re the happy recipient of email that says:

Regardless of how the rest of your day goes, here’s something to be happy about — today a honey pot you installed successfully identified a previously unknown email harvester…

Don’t forget to tell your friends you made the Internet a little better today. Thanks from the entire Project Honey Pot team and, we’re sure if they knew, from the Internet community as a whole.

Actually, maybe there’s some hope for me in the fact that I decided that posting it here might be a more reasonable (or possibly even geekier) alternative than telling all my friends. So what does this mean?

Loyal readers may remember that a while ago, I wrote that this site was participating in Project Honeypot. In a nutshell, this is a scheme to identify spambots that crawl the web harvesting any email addresses they can find to add to their spam mailing lists. A honeypot is a page which displays a unique email address to each visitor, and is linked in such a way that it’s likely to be visited only by spambots. Each time it’s hit, the IP address of the visitor is logged along with the email address that was shown for that visit. If that email address, which routes back to HoneyPot, receives spam, they know the address of the bot that collected it.

Since I installed a honeypot, their statistics show that it’s been visited by a few spammers. Most of them have been previously identified as spammers. Recently, I caught one that had not been previously identified, although its address was in a range close to addresses of previously identified spammers.

So what does this really mean. Have I really made the Internet a little better? Are you going to get less spam now? Probably not. This is just one more small shot in the never-ending war between spammers and spam-fighters. This address will be added to various blacklists. Some attempt may be made to identify the service provider, but since it’s apparently in South Africa any enforcement is probably hopeless. But it’s still a nice feeling to know that maybe I helped just a little.

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