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Making Web Sites Less Useful to Email Address Harvesters

A couple of weblogs have re-published links to a WebTechniques article from August 2001 that describes how to make web sites less useful to email address harvesting programs. These so-called Spambots traverse web sites like search engine robots looking for email addresses. The lists of email addresses produced are then used to send spam to the addresses.

The article focuses on explaining how Spambots work and explaining how to combat Spambots by using mod_rewrite, an optional module for Apache.

This is yet another example of why everyone who is hosting web sites ought to consider using Apache. Tools like mod_rewrite generally come out first for that web server, they are widely used, and therefore they are extremely well-tested and well understood by a large percentage of the community.

(Idea for this story came from Camworld.)

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