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Matts (1087)

Matts
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I work for MessageLabs [messagelabs.com] in Toronto, ON, Canada. I write spam filters, MTA software, high performance network software, string matching algorithms, and other cool stuff mostly in Perl and C.

Journal of Matts (1087)

Tuesday September 17, 2002
11:00 AM

Hotmail spam

[ #7775 ]

"Everyone" tells me they have a hotmail account and get loads of spam to it.

They always tell me that they didn't give the email address out to anyone, yet they get upwards of 20 spams a day to the account. They complain about how the junk filters don't work, and how when they go away it won't receive their legitimate email due to inbox size restrictions.

All my efforts at empirically testing this have so far failed. Even when I opt-in to the hotmail white pages. I just get no spam. The account sits there receiving nothing.

Am I doing something wrong? Is there really no mole inside hotmail selling email addresses? Or have these peoplebeen duped into selecting multiple "subscription" services without their knowing?... Inquiring minds want to know.

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  • I get about one spam message every two weeks - they appear to be advertising various German pron sites. Like you I've heard lots of people saying it's unusable because of the spam. But I know at least six other people who use it as their main e-mail without too mnay problems.
  • I found myself typing something I seem to re-type frequently, so I stuck it in my journal [perl.org] for future handy reference.

    If you never use your address, but you tell even one person what it is, then you may get spam. You don't have to tell Sanford Wallace [google.com] to meet this doom. You can tell your dearest friend who would never ever ever want you to get spammed.

    Just tell them once, and your address could spoiled.

    -matt
  • I have a hotmail address that I only use for things like online orders, registering at web sites, and so on. I have a different address at pobox.com that I use for "real" correspondence. Every few days I login to the hotmail account and delete about a dozen spam emails. I figure it got put on spam lists by online merchants, but I don't care.

    Now if I can only figure out how my pobox.com address ended up on Korean spam lists.... (I don't even know what they're trying to sell me. Maybe I should find the

  • The question is how your email address on hotmail looks. I don't know if still works but when I checked last time it was possible to test if certaint email address exists on hotmail servers using SMTP commands MAIL and RCPT (BTW this technique is implemented in my module Mail::CheckUser [cpan.org]). After RCPT hotmail servers answers if recipient exists or not. So I guess it is quite trivial for spammers to find all valid "simple" email addresses using a dictionary. I would expect email address like matt@hotmail.com t
    --

    Ilya Martynov (http://martynov.org/ [martynov.org])