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Email harvesting?
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2006 15:16:01 -0500

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bruce R Koball <bkoball () well com>
Date: November 24, 2006 2:32:56 PM EST
To: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Subject: Email harvesting?

Hi Dave,

Hope you and the rest of IP had a happy turkey day.

I have an odd question for the IP brain trust, if you think it's

For some time now, in the flood of spam that seems to be getting worse by
the day, I've seen messages with subject lines containing words and
phrases that appear very familiar, almost as if they had somehow been
harvested from my legitimate email.

I think I understand the perils of assigning significance to that which
can be explained by probability (e.g., how many kids in a class of 30
share the same birthday, etc.), but recently I've seen spam containing
combinations of very unusual words, names and phrases that have appeared
in my recent legit email and seem quite unlikely to be the result of
random dictionary look-ups.

Am I crazy to think that spammers may be using some mechanism (packet
sniffing?) to perform a sort of key-word harvesting to get around filters
and induce recipients to read their messages.



Bruce R. Koball         Motion West          (direct)   510 845-1350
bkoball () well com        2210 Sixth St        (studio)   510 845-3946
bkoball () motionwest com  Berkeley, CA 94710   (office)   510 540-7503

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin, 1759

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