Trai Tries to Make It Harder for Spammers to Copy the Email Addresses It Leaked

In a damage control move, the telecom regulator Trai on Wednesday altered email IDs of all stakeholders who responded to its consultation paper on framework for over-the-top players like Viber, WhatsApp and net neutrality.After facing flak for making public 1 million email IDs on its website, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Wednesday resorted to ‘munging’ of all addresses to check spammers from automatically copying these IDs.

The address munging is done to make it tedious for spammers or cybercriminals from copying email ID for automatically sending e-mails.

In address munging, the email IDs are changed by replacing symbols like @ to (at) and a ‘.’ to (dot). However, it would be relatively easy for anyone to copy these email addresses and simply replace the ‘dot’ and ‘at’ with the actual characters, given the scripts already know exactly where to look for the email address. Not to mention the email addresses have already been out in the wild long enough that there would be enough copies by now.

Trai faced huge criticism after it made public over 1 million email addresses of people commented on its paper. This move of Trai was seen as forage for cybercriminals specially spammers.

The website of Trai remained inaccessible for several hours for two days after it released all comments on its websites on Monday.

A Twitter account claimed that it has brought down website of Trai through a cyber-attack known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) in which huge amount of Internet traffic is directed towards a website that disables its access.

Trai official, however, has said that the website was down following a technical error in system provided by National Informatics Centre.