New Internationalist

Obfuscating email addresses

I guess this probably gets me the prize for being first to blog on New Internationalist's new tech blog. And its a post about making life difficult for spammers. Yay!

I was just doing some work on the Clean Start pages, part of which was to add a mailto: link. Spammers are always scraping pages for mailtos, so I had a think about how one might obfuscate an email reasonably effectively. The traditional way is name [at] site [dot] com. Or you could do like riseup and have a button in the way of any email addresses. But a quite cute technique (though not totally unbreakable) is to use html entities to encode your email address. For example, for the Clean Start email, I would do:

<a href='&#109;&#97;&#105;&#108;&#116;&#111;&#58;&#99;&#108;&#101;&#97;&#110;&#115;&#116;&#97;&#114;&#116;&#64;&#110;&#101;&#119;&#105;&#110;&#116;&#46;&#111;&#114;&#103;'>Clean Start</a>

There's an online tool which lets us do this. In the future it would be nice to add a filter to our CMS, Bricolage, that did this automatically when it hit a mailto link.

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