Spammers mine everything, Github edition

July 27, 2015

It's not news that spammers will trawl everything they can easily get their hands on for anything that looks like email addresses. But every so often I get another illustration of this effect and it strikes me as interesting. This time around it's with the email address I use for Github.

This email address is of course an expendable address, since it's exposed in git commits that I push to Github. It's also exposed to Github itself, but I don't think Github leaks it (at least not trivially. Certainly the address remained untouched by spam for years. Then back in late May the address appeared in the plain text of a commit message. Last week, the spam started showing up.

(The actual spam was one offer from an email spam service provider, one student loan repayment scam, and one relatively incomprehensive one. All came from Chinese IPs; the second and the third came from the same /24 subnet, and the first one came from a SBL CSS listed IP.)

I find the couple of months time delay interesting but probably not too surprising. It's also probably not surprising that spammers mine Github in some way; there's a lot of email addresses exposed there. I'd like to say that spammers probably only mine web pages on Github instead of looking at Git repositories themselves, but that may not be the case; although I'm on Github, my repos are nowhere near as visible as the project where this address appeared.

Still, I found the whole thing kind of interesting (and kind of irritating, too, because now I will probably have to enact increasingly strong defenses on this address until I abandon it).

Written on 27 July 2015.
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Last modified: Mon Jul 27 01:54:27 2015
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