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Don't Open That Email!

Thu, 04/07/2011 - 19:21 -- admin

Several people I know have recently had their email addresses hijacked in the theft of addresses from Epsilon.  I’ve gotten emails now that appeared to be from these people and were clearly spam. They were unopened by me and I quickly, dispassionately and with no regrets hit the delete button for them.

Of course, the most prominent characteristics of spam emails are:

1) An email with a blank subject line
2) Any email that pitches something that will enhance your health or performance, or will be the secret to instant wealth, or promises incredible discounts on business mailing lists (Hmmm...where did THOSE addresses come from?!).

If you get a message that fits into one of these categories, delete it without opening the email.  Once the email has been opened, your address will have been confirmed as a valid address to the spammers and you will receive a flood of emails.  

Here is a relevant snippet from a recent MSNBC article:

“Spam is more than just annoying ads for cut-rate Viagra. Scammers use hijacked email addresses to create email based on your interests or email that appears to be from your bank or other company you know and trust. Clicking the malicious link within an email can hijack your computer and turn it into a spam bot without your knowledge or worse, install malware that can record your passwords and credit card info.”

If you have opened any of the spam emails that came as a result of this security breach, then clicked on links in the email or attachments, you may well have installed malware on your computer that accessed your passwords.

Here's an incredibly important tip:

Do you allow the computer to save your password when you are logging into an account on the internet?  Let’s say, for instance, you are going to your Gmail account over the internet and your computer asks you if you want it to save your password.  What do you say? ALWAYS SAY NO!  These passwords are instantly available to malware that can get installed on your computer as a result of opening malware spam.

Another important tip is that you should change your password regularly and run anti-virus and anti-malware (anti-rootkit) scans on your computer.  Many people don't realize that their computer has been hijacked until they discover that their emails are no longer being received by their friends and business associates because their email address has been blacklisted.  

If your scans ever come up with malware, then you should definitely consider changing any passwords that you might have saved on your computer, especially to bank accounts or ecommerce sites.

Be careful with your email address, passwords and in opening suspicious emails.  Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is almost impossible to put the genie back in.
 


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