The method takes advantage of the users' naiveteSpammers are using now more elaborate methods to find e-mail addresses and the new sources are P2P networks.
Harvesting e-mails is a method based on the innocence of P2P network users who share their entire hard disk, despite the warnings that this practice is unsafe.
Harvesting from P2P networks, like eDonkey or Gnutella, is based on the fact that all messages sent through Outlook are stored in the file Outlook.pst
Users who share all the hard disk will provide spammers with this file and all they have to do is search it and download it. Afterwards, the e-mail addresses will be used for sending spam messages.
Experts from Blue Security, who discovered harvesting, have carried out an experiment to evaluate the efficiency of method.
The experiment consisted in creating a list with 500 e-mail accounts, real but not used, that was saved in such file, Outlook.pst, and shared in a P2P network.
In the first day, these addresses received 100 spam messages, next day the number had reached 300. Even after two weeks, the addresses continued to receive 100 spam messages a day.
Blue Security considers that using P2P networks to harvest e-mail addresses is convenient to spammers because the chances of finding such a file are very high. You can find out more details at Blue Security site
Blue Security has also warned that the spammers are also using P2P networks to exchange e-mail lists and spam generating programs.
So next time think twice before using a P2P network.