Harvesting of email addresses by spammers

By veenitha

Computer Science


Rs 18,500

Rs 30,000
Campaign Expired

About This Project

 Almost everyday billions of people see their mails flooded with spam emails. But do you know how do spammers find you? Through this project we seek to understand and explain how spammers source email addresses of people they spam.

What is the purpose of the research project?

 Being an experienced ex-blogger and an avid internet marketer, I can firmly state that everyone who uses the Internet with an email address is no stranger to the nuisance of spam mails. Apart from being unsolicited, unapproved contact by a stranger, spam is sometimes also responsible for huge financial loss, not to forget, also a theft of identity. Nowadays, spammers have gotten so sophisticated and good at what they do, that it has become difficult for people to differentiate between spam and genuine emails. This phenomenon has caused companies across the globe, irrespective of their size, market, and location, to incur huge loss of money, resources, as well as human power. Tech giants such as Google and Yahoo use about 30 billion watts of electricity - enough to power 3 million houses for a year - to keep the problem of spam at bay. It is indeed shocking to think how much energy and money companies could save if there were no spam.

What is the significance of this project?

 A strong reason to support this project is the sole fact that spam mails are outright annoying and frustrating! Furthermore, companies suffering huge losses every year due to spam and people like you and me investing a lot of time reviewing spam, speaks for itself as to why it is important to get to the root of this nuisance and prevent it from happening. Even after employing strong spam filters, people still have to keep a track of their spam folder for misclassified emails, as sometimes important mails make their way into the spam folder. 

What are the main research goals of the project

In this research project, our team will post email addresses to the Web - blogs, websites, newsgroups, social networking sites, forums, web services, databases, chat rooms, mailing lists, and microblogging sites (twitter, tumblr) - to identify which emails are harvested by spammers. Also, we will forward the created email addresses for e-greeting cards, insurance quotes, free ipad sites, and so on. The goal is to investigate multiple forms of obscuring the email (via image, using [at], html escaping, javascript, etc.) to see which approach works best for preventing spammers from harvesting emails. After the experiment is complete, we’ll integrate the results of the study into a final paper.


Target Amount: 30000

 I intend to spend my budget on a hired research assistant (either an undergraduate or a Master’s) to help me administer the experiment. We hope to collect samples of 1000+ unique email addresses posted on a diverse range of websites/forums/listservs/blogs/, etc. In addition to that, we will be generating email addresses to sign up for e-greeting cards, insurance quotes, etc. to monitor which spammers send us off-topic spam.

Rs. 30000 in Research Interns -2

Meet the Team