September 20, 2014

Mission-centered Web Strategies

E-mail security

Have you ever wondered how some spammer got your e-mail address? One of the easiest ways for you to get on a spamming list is for your e-mail address to appear on a Web site that is open to the public.

The spam masters of the world constantly send out software robots whose sole function in life is to “crawl” Web sites looking for e-mail addresses. When they find one on a Web page, software robots, or “bots,” save the address to a database. The database is then sold or it is used directly by the person who harvested the address. Now you are on another spam list.

The cure is simple: Hide e-mail addresses.

There are two ways to do this in a Web site. The safer way is to create a carefully validated form for people to send e-mail to you. The only use of an e-mail address is hidden in a script that resides only on the Web server and does not get delivered directly to the public. A person fills out a form in your Web site, giving their name and stating their interest. When they click the submit button, mail is sent to you. Forms can be set up so that the Web site visitor selects which department  s/he wants the message to reach. The form script does the rest.

The second way to hide e-mail addresses is to hid them in a data table so that they are delivered to a Web page only as a result of a direct query. In this way, someone (usually a human being, not a bot) has to fill out a form asking for specific information – such as “Customer Relations.”

Message: You should not place an e-mail address in the text of any Web page or post. Instead, you should route e-mail requests through self-validating forms or through database queries.