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Know who leaks your data (trick 1. Email and Catch All)

June 6, 2022

We use our email address in different places, online and offline, and the more we use it the more marketing emails we receive. Here is a simple but useful trick to use to understand who leaks your data and maybe boycott these services and shops.

About the trick

When mail server receives an email, it checks if the particular email address exists on the server. If it does not exist, mail server bounces back the message with error. Catch-all is a special setting for the mail server which instructs to receive (catch) all emails, even sent to non-existent accounts and redirect them to another address. This function only available on your self-hosted email accounts but not public mail services, like Gmail, Yahoo, MSN etc.

What is the idea behind the trick. You setup catch-all emails on your server (we will describe how to do it on cPanel below) for your domain. For example, you have domain bitcoinisthefuture.com and you setup catch-all email function for it. Then when you use your email address for the registration somewhere (online or offline shop/service) you simple use email like [email protected], nameofb[email protected], [email protected] Got it? You use the name which then can help you identify who leaked/sold your data.

For example, you bought and airline ticket and used email [email protected] and then you received an email about getting new line of credit to this email from some third-party bank. Now you know that this particular airline or ticketing service does not care about it’s clients privacy. Besides being a useful trick, it’s also fun – you will feel yourself like a genious investigator.

How to setup Catch All Emails (cPanel)

Login to cPanel and find Default Address within Email group of icons.

cPanel catch all emails
Catch All option cPanel

On the next page select the domain name for which you want all unrouted emails to be redirected to the desired email address. Important note, catch all works only for email accounts which does not present on the server. If this particular email address exists, email will be sent to the respective mailbox.

Catch all configuration

Click “Change” and catch all setup complete. You will see the message below.

Catch all emails setup complete

From now on, you can specify any Email address belonging to your domain for shopping/registrations etc. Emails will be redirected to your email. When you receive an unsolicited email, you can check “From” which email it comes and identify the source of Spam.

More articles covering privacy protection technics, you can find in our Privacy category. Feel free to have a look since we have a lot of interesting staff there, like masking IP address, VPN leaks fix, Ubuntu encryption and hosting anonymously.