Today I got an email, which was send to a total of 383 receivers (and was itself only little more than Spam by the way). The author of the mail - apparently someone not so familiar with all this computer things - added all the addresses - including mine - to the normal "Send to:"-field, the field were everyone always adds all the receivers of the mail. So why am i complaining about all this?
Because by that, all the Email addresses are written to the mail, to be more precise to the so called "header" of the mail, a part that contains some meta information about the mail and is therefore mostly hidden by most email programs. But if you take a closer look, they are there none the less. I could easily read them. And so could you any Virus, Trojan and so on which has managed to infect my computer. And of course, all the other 382 receivers of the mail could see them, too. And so could any Virus, Trojan and so on that has managed to infect any of the about 382 computers belonging to the other receivers.
If there actually is some kind of malware running on any of these computers and it is looking for email addresses, there are now 383 people out there who will receive tons of exiting news about pen enlargements, unbelievable cheap drugs, stunning opportunities to make easy money in Nigeria,important .pdfs and .docs to look at and links to update your online banking account - for the rest of their life (or at least the life of their email address).
There are estimates - i pray they are wrong - that up to 50% of all the computers on this planet are infected with malware. Even if we are a bit more optimistic about that - very very optimistic indeed - and assume that only 1% of all computers are infected with malware that is looking for email addresses, the probability that i miss all this opportunities to enlarge my pen is only about 2.13% (0.99 to the power of 383*). Thanks.
There is an easy way how you can keep on spamming all the email address you somehow managed to get - without becoming the right hand of some ugly looking botnet owner:
Just add all the address to the "Blind Copy"("BCC:")-field instead of the normal "To:". No email address (other than yours) will be included in the Mail. Therefor no one can read them. No man, no computer, no virus. (And no one will write you an angry "THANKS FOR ALL THE SPAM I WILL NOW RECEIVE"-Email like i did in this case...)
* I'm quite sure when it comes to my computer, but the mail author could of course be infected as well... so 383 instead of 382.