You might have already read elsewhere that it is possible to reveal the real name of any Gmail user by sharing a calendar in Google Calendar with him. Let me explain how this is done. Google Calendar can be loaded in the header area of Gmail after logging in. A click on settings will load the settings where users can change all sorts of information like the date format and time zone.
A click on the Calendars tab loads the calendars that are currently active. A click on the Calendar loads the details of that calendar with information about the calendar timezone and addresses. There is also another tab in that view that lets the user share the calender with other users.
A click on the Share This Calendar tab displays a list of all users who have access to this calendar with the option to add new users by pasting their email address into the form field.
The problem arises if a Gmail email address is pasted into that field. Nothing happens until the changes have been saved and the question if the user should be invited if he does not use Google Calendar is denied.
The full name of the user is disclosed int he Share This Calendar tab even if that user has chosen a gmail address that is not made up of his first and last username.
This might not seem like a big deal for many users but this is a honeypot for spammers. All they need to do is enter email addresses to find out the real name of the user to send out personalized spam. You probably would not react to a phishing mail asking you to login to your eBay account if the name would be missing or be wrong but what about if the real name would be there ?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.