Email scraping is a method of obtaining email information by automatically extracting the necessary data from another source.
The information that you receive can be either publicly available or private, depending on authorization settings and how it’s stored.
How to prevent email scraping on your website/blog
Since it can be difficult to prevent email scraping on your website, you should use a service that will make sure any information of an intrusive nature is removed before being shared or used publicly. This way, your information will stay private and you’ll protect yourself from unpleasant consequences down the line. One such service is DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance).
In fact, if you’re serious about preventing email scraping on your website/blog then DMARC should be one of the first things you consider implementing since it allows senders to explicitly tell others how they are expected to address messages claiming to originate from their domains.
It’s worth noting, however, that enforcing DMARC policies is a relatively new practice. This means that you should probably expect to see increased rates of false positives and even legitimate messages being flagged as spam until the practice becomes more widespread.
Prevent email scraping with the right software
A powerful way of preventing email scraping is by using a Web Application Firewall in conjunction with bot management. The WAF’s job will be to analyze each request that comes in and decide whether or not the current user is allowed to carry out the requested action. If they are, then the request is allowed through; if not, it’s blocked.
In order for this method to work properly, you’ll need an advanced bot protection tool like Netacea Bot Management which can detect and prevent any automated requests designed to extract private data from your website/blog without adequate authorization.
Steps to take if your emails were scraped
If you find that your email address has been scraped, there are some steps you can take to reduce the possibility of spam:
- Add your email address to the “Do not contact” list
- Add a rule in Gmail to delete messages from senders who are not in your contacts
- Use advanced filters to sort the emails you don’t want into a separate folder and label that so you can review them at your own convenience.
You can also sign up for an SPF service that will protect your messages by making sure they only come from IP addresses authorized by you. Google Apps is one such provider, but there are many more out there.
If you find that your inbox has been flooded with unwanted messages then remember that it’s better to act quickly before things get worse. By implementing these changes, you’ll be able to reclaim control of your inbox without delaying important communications.
Ways to find out who is scraping your emails
It can be difficult to determine who is email scraping your account, but there are some steps you can take:
- Review your email reports – check the headers of any messages that have been flagged as spam or junk mail to see what server they were sent from and whether they’ve been categorized or not.
- Look at your email providers’ website – some companies provide more information than others.
- Add the server to a blacklist – this is often the only way to make absolutely sure that an IP address or domain is prevented from accessing your account. If it belongs to a respected provider then you should check with them before adding it.
Tips for preventing future email scrapers from accessing your information
- Change your email address – while this isn’t something most people want to do, it may be necessary in some circumstances. Just make sure that the new address is as private as possible.
- Never give out personal information unless absolutely required – even if you’re sure that the person on the other end is genuine, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Review past communications and delete any unneeded ones – for security purposes, this is something that you should be doing on a regular basis anyway but it’s even more important to do after a breach like this.
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