Reducing spam from newsgroups

Unfortunately, the swen ("news" spelled backwards) worm has hit hard - I've received over 100,000 spam messages in the period 9/15/2003 to 10/12/2003. Swen is particularly obnoxious in that it doesn't just spam those in the infected Windows machine's address book, but goes out to the newsgroups and harvests addresses there.

Since I got my address, I'd received very little spam - the system administrator is VERY good at spam filtering. However, when they're receiving hundreds of spams a second, some are bound to go through, so I've taken to occasionally spam-proofing my address again.

One way to do this is to put in a spam-trap. Most spambots are not sophisticated enough to figure out how to get around this. Simply set up your newsreader to add some text that is immediately recognizable by humans as not belonging, but looks like a valid address to the bots. For instance:

Since bots will probably get smarter in the not too distant future, I prefer ROT-13. ROT-13 encoding simply shifts each letter of the alphabet 13 places, wrapping around, so "a" becomes "n", "z" becomes "m", etc. The beauty of this is that performing ROT-13 again returns the text to normal. Many newsreaders can decode ROT-13 with a menu command (for Entourage, use the ROT13 Encode/Decode applescript by Allen Watson, which you can find at MacScripter.Net). As an example, my email address, above, without the spam trap, codes as

If you don't have a ROT-13 capable newsreader, you can encode/decode at

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