Spammer data mining and

Bill Moran wmoran at
Thu Nov 26 14:44:03 UTC 2009

"Ronald F. Guilmette" <rfg at> wrote:
> I just got a spam from some numbnuts spammer who said (in the spam), and I
> quote:
> >Why would anyone still pay recruitment agency fees? Wouldn't you prefer to
> >RECRUIT AS MANY PEOPLE</strong> per campaign for $499?
> >
> >Your contact details were on
> > ''
> >and we thought you should know that, during Nove>mber, you can RECRUIT
> >AS MANY PEOPLE per campaign...
> Jeezze Louise!
> In the first place, I didn't even know that my name or e-mail address were
> listed on that page, and I was really rather surprised to find that they
> were.  Why the bleep am _I_ on there?  Yea, I've hacked free software
> from time to time in my career... more than just a little... but I really
> can't recall having ever ``contributed'' to FreeBSD in any significant or
> meaningful way.  I mean I'm honored to be listed in with such illustrious
> company, but in all modesty, I don't deserve to be.
> But anyway, regardless of that, I have to ask: (1) Why the bleep are so
> many e-mail addresses listed on that page in plain text, and without any
> sort of spammer harvesting protection whatsoever?  And (2) who should I
> gripe to about this sorry state of affairs?  webmaster(at)
> I don't expect the email addresses to be protected by captchas or anything
> that convoluted, but the webmaster certainly could have at least replaced
> `@' with `(at)' or some such thing.

You do realize that this email is being archived on any number of online
archives that the FreeBSD project has no control over, and that any of
them may list your email address unobfuscated.

While I can't speak for the project, I feel that obfuscating email
addresses is a weak and obsolete protection from harvesting.  It's trivial
to make a screen-scraper translate "at" to "@", and even if the method
of obfuscating is more clever than that, if it's consistent and a larger
number of email addresses are available after breaking it, well ... you
get the idea.

Far better to complain to the ISP where the email originated.  That's
someone who can actually do something about the problem.

Bill Moran

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