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spam email
spam email

We all know that the vast majority of email is spam or UCE (unsolicited commercial email) and that there are people out there whose sole aim in life is to harvest your email address.

I'm sure that you are very careful about placing your email address online, ensuring that it is protected by javascript, or using contact forms with hidden email addresses.

But when you add your email address to a newsletter or service do you consider the security of that list?

If I am visiting a site that requires an email address for access I only ever use a throwaway temporary address from a service like mailinator or guerrillamail. but if it's a site I trust I use my real address.

When signing up for a newsletter etc I consider if the site is trustworthy, are they likely to pass on my address etc, and if they are then I happily hand over my precious email address.

If they weren't trustworthy I'm unlikely to be interested in receiving regular emails from them anyway.

I trust then that the provider will protect my email address and ensure that it stays in safe hands.

Some sites, especially the popular ones with large mailing lists, chose to use a third party service to despatch all their emails. Of course they have carefully selected the provider for the quality of their service and trustworthyness (is that even a word?).

This is where the problem lies

Hacking one server that might hold a few thousand email addresses is interesting but hacking an email list processor's server that might contain millions of email addresses is both profitable and far more efficient.


In December the servers of one of the large email processors aweber was breached and email addresses were compromised. Read more about it here

OOps they did it again

In January the servers of one of the large email processors iContact was breached and email addresses were compromised. Read more about it here

What does that mean to you

Your preciously guarded email address "might" now be in the hands of the spam farms. Sure your anti-spam software/service might do an excellent job but some will still get through. And if you are really unlucky you might receive so much spam email that your email address is rendered useless.

One option for the future, if you own your own domain, is to create new email addresses for each signup that clearly identify the service you are signing up for eg This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and ensure that all the email is forwarded to your main account.

Then if that account is ever compromised, and it will be easy to tell as no one other than videoreviewscom should be sending you anything at that address, you simply forward all emails to that address to the great trash can of the internet "dev null".


J o o m l a !

Brian Teeman

Brian Teeman

Who is Brian?

As a co-founder of Joomla! and OpenSourceMatters Inc I've never been known to be lacking an opinion or being too afraid to express it.

Despite what some people might think I'm a shy and modest man who doesn't like to blow his own trumpet or boast about achievements.

Where is Brian?