Finally, there’s some technology that automatically gets spammers about as quickly as they get us. I’m extremely fascinated by Project Honey Pot as detailed by the Detroit Free Press’s Mike Wendland in Sweet new weapon enters war on spam (Published Jan. 28).
One of the easiest ways that spammers can harvest e-mail addresses is by skimming Web sites looking for fully formed e-mail addresses (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org). The easiest way to avoid that is to not use the atmark (@), but a lot of people still write out their e-mail address. (I don’t, BTW. My address on this site is formatted as ryan -at- rtomedia.com.)
Well, Wendland describes as project that will include some dummy code that the automated e-mail harvesters would trip over. As I understand it, an automated harvester who tries to send an e-mail to the fake address in the code will get their computer knocked off the e-mail network. It doesn’t necessarily stop them, but it makes things harder for them.
Wendland’s tripped up a dozen harvesters so far. It sounds really good, but I wonder how quickly the savvy spammers will come up with a workaround (as they almost always do). It’s a “war” out there.