[PLUG] email address obfuscation

Tyrell Jentink tyrell at jentink.net
Tue Jan 20 11:50:09 PST 2015

I'm looking at CSS pseudo elements; It seems like one should be able to put
the email address itself in your CSS rather than your HTML, and use the
::after selector to inject the email address as content.

As an example, my HTML may have:

<p class=email> Contact me at:</p>

And my CSS may have:
.email::after {
   content: url(mailto:example at example.com)

Which should result in a page that displays (I think?  I haven't actually
tested this):
Contact me at Example at example.com

Some caveats: While your email address is NOT in your HTML, it IS still in
plain text in your CSS.  I have no idea how these spam bots work... So it
is possible that they are smart enough to search your CSS just as easily as
it searches your HTML.  I'm also no expert at Apache security, so I also
have no idea if one can block a person (Or a bot) from downloading the CSS
file at all... If that were possible, this would cnompletely remove your
email address from any downloadable content.  However, that's probably not
possible, because the browser itself still needs to be able to dowload the
CSS file.

Anyway, I was just thinking out loud... Like I said, I didn't even test
this idea.

On Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 2:21 PM, Keith Lofstrom <keithl at gate.kl-ic.com>

> On Wed, Jan 07, 2015 at 05:46:44PM -0800, Tim Wescott wrote:
> > Does anyone with recent experience know if this method of obfuscating
> > email addresses on web pages still works to frustrate the spam-bots?
> >
> > <a href='mail&#116;o&#58;J&#37;6Fh&#110;&#46;%
> > 4&#52;oe&#64;exam&#112;&#108;e%&#50;Ec%
> > 6Fm'>&#74;o&#104;n&#46;Doe&#64;&#101;xa&#109;ple&#46;com</a>
> >
> > (It encodes "John.Doe at example.com", if my sources are correct)
> >
> > It's been around forever, it would seem that the slimeballs would have
> > upgraded by now.
> I'm lazy.  I use an image.  If I was less lazy, I would rotate
> the image 20 degrees, and decorate it with roses and garlands.
> This sounds like a good job for our unemployed slacker artist
> friends.  I don't trust any reversable, deterministic algorithm,
> and my slacker friends are annoyingly non-deterministic.
> Keith
> --
> Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com
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