Don’t make the other predict you… but is uncorfotable… and sometimes useless…
November 8, 2007

Today I wanna explain something about security… and how much being predictable is dangerous for you sometimes… during my bachelor my final paper was a research on Cryptography and I have researched how in history being predictable was a real danger for his own side. Enigma was for example, cracked thank to the strict military rules of the German army… only because every “Enigma” soldier had to send a message to the headquarter about the weather starting the communication with a fixed word.

How this can be of some kind of interest with this post? maybe cause the passwords and their security? No… not really… this is about the antispam methods that are used nowadays on lots of websites. Every webmaster (or anyone of us) puts on his page his mail address to be contacted by the visitors, and they write their address in this way, example(at)yourwebsite(dot)com. I have to say that this can be a good method, but does it really work?

For sure it doesn’t kill the spam from your mail address, and for sure is not very efficient for the person that has to send you an email, cause has to copy and paste the text and also to modify the text in a way to make a valid mail address… but the real question is “Does it protect you address from spam?” the answer is not…

Why? for the same reason that Enigma was cracked, cause the predictability of the system used to secure the information. There are bots that their only purpose is to go on the web and collect mail addresses just to send you spam… right now there is the thought that he is going to look only at the @ character, cause is the one that identify the mail address… but don’t you think that a good coded
bot can find those sequences of letters and symbols (dot) and (at) and understand that it is a web-address? People can think that this is hard to create a bot that can understand that, but think on how many documents you wrote those letter without indicating an email address… is a frequency matter… those letters are only written only when they indicate a mail address, nothing else… if that sequence would have been written in a certain frequency (not referring to the mail) can be considered as a good solution, but is not…

The solution for me? Go back at the old school and make easier to your users to reach you in an easier way, write and link your real email address… is easier and if you want to prevent the spam use rules on your mail or buy a good spam filter…

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