Email Sub-Address Spam Frequency

My email server is configured such that email to ry4an-anything@ry4an.org gets correctly delivered to me. The dash and whatever is after it are retained but ignored completely.

When I give an email address to a company, say Northwest Airlines,I'll give them an email address that shows to whom it was given, say ry4an``-nwa``@ry4an.org. By doing this I'm able to check which companies are giving/selling/leaking my email address to spammers. Some of the leaks are surprising -- just a few weeks after giving out ry4an-philmont for the first time, giving it to the Boy Scouts, I started getting porn spam on it. When I called to let them know about the leak they assured me it was impossible.

Last month I decided to save all of my inbound spam and run some totals to see which sub-addresses got the most spam. Here are the counts:

  • 6427 total spam messages to ry4an.org in 34 days
  • 679 spam messages to plain ry4an*@*ry4an.org
  • the 10 most spammed sub-addresses were
Received Address Given to
2542 ry4an-slashdot Posted to http://slashdot.org
252 ry4an-dip Used in the Diplomacy community
159 ry4an-resume On my resume
141 ry4an-yahoo Given to yahoo.com
125 ry4an-cnet Byline for some articles I wrote
98 ry4an-oldenburg Defunct Oldenburg project
88 ry4an-poker Used at http://ry4an.org/poker/
84 ry4an-tclug Given to the Twin Cities Linux Users' Group
62 ry4an-dns Used for all my domain registrations
44 ry4an-keysigning Posted at http://ry4an.org/keysigning/

So it looks like the worst offenders aren't comanies to whom I've given my email address, but rather letting them get posted to the internet for automated crawlers to harvest.

Gmail users: You can do the same thing using the plus sign.

Comments


Yeah, the one I gave to United actually garners me the most spam. I emailed them to complain but was brushed off relatively quickly. -- Anonymous