address harvester

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A program used by spammers in order to find and store email addresses which can then be used to send spam mail. These harvesters are bots which wander over Web sites, newsgroups, bulletin boards, profiles, chat rooms, and member directory areas that are used by Internet service providers. They function in a simple way, in that they read text and look for strings which match the format of an email address. A common way to defeat such software programs is somehow to disguise an email address, at the same time making it obvious to the reader that it is an address, for example by inserting the word ‘dot’ for full stops in the domain and separating the name of the recipient from the address of the domain name by some intervening text. This technique is known as a spamblock.

Subjects: Computing.

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