Who knew? Besides the guy who’s been wrestling with Sendmail since it shipped with BSD in ’83, I mean:
[Y]ou’ll get a helluva lot more UCE-spam as Aardvark@[domain] than as Zebra@[domain] — and hugely less if your name starts with a number. (Why the numbers? It’s a droid thing, you wouldn’t understand).
Assuming these are the droids I’m looking for:
“At some point, it occurred to the spammers that if email@example.com was a valid email address then perhaps firstname.lastname@example.org was valid as well, so they started to combine local parts (to the left of the @) with other domain names. This method of creating email addresses to attempt delivery to is called a dictionary attack (or sometimes a Rumpelstiltskin attack).”
In other words, with apologies to Zbigniew Brzezinski, there simply aren’t that many Zbigniew’s around, so he is pretty safe.
Here’s the study in PDF format. In the case of the specific ISP being studied, “around half of all the email which is being given to the Demon Internet spam detection system is destined for non-existent mailboxes.” It figures.