Unless you’ve been hiding in a bunker all day today, you’ve probably heard that Yahoo! has updated the terms and conditions for using Yahoo! Mail. Apparently Yahoo! will now systematically scan the contents of your mail messages in order to better target the ads they place in your mail. The update apparently includes the following statement:
Earlier this week, I received a report that something fishy was going on with one of my websites. The report indicated that some sort of spam had infiltrated the site, informing users about great deals on pharmaceuticals. Needless to say, since we had not recently gone into the business of selling drugs (legal or otherwise), this was a bit suspicious.
Every time I check my Yahoo! Mail account, lately, I have three or four new spam messages from someone with an aim.com e-mail address. Almost all of them have a subject similar to “Private message for you”.
Is anyone else experiencing this issue? It only seems to be happening with my Yahoo! Mail account. None of my other e-mail addresses are receiving these strange messages.
I saw an interesting article on Yahoo! the other day. It appears that someone at Carnegie Mellon came up with the idea to use a CAPTCHA script to mask e-mail addresses. Basically, they provide you with special link code to put in place of your normal mailto link. You can use the link anyway you want, but the script generates some HTML code automatically that looks similar to:
In the example above, the whole e-mail address would actually be email@example.com, but the rest of the username is obscured by the script. Of course, they also supply you with just the address to the CAPTCHA page, so that you can build your own link any way you want.
The link, in turn, leads to a page with a CAPTCHA script. Once you correctly answer the CAPTCHA question, you’re lead to another page with the complete e-mail address. The script is called Mailhide, and it appears to be a completely free utility. It’s such a simple idea that I can’t believe no one thought of this before.
On our sister site CenterNetworks, we use the open source content management system (CMS) Drupal. I’ve used nearly every CMS package, both free and the systems costing large sums of money and Drupal is my favorite.
On CN we get hammered with spam every day. So much spam that I had to turn off comments after three months because every post (some 2000+) gets hit.
One thing I’ve noticed is that within moments of posting some new content, spams begin to come in. Not minutes, hours or days, but moments. And after doing some research into our system and into the way Drupal handles content, I’ve realized why this happens.