So, one morning, you log onto your computer, open your email, and find yourself staring at a bunch of undeliverable emails in your Inbox. These emails were created and sent from your computer, or so it seems, and have bounced back from yonder destinations……giving you your first clue that your email account has been compromised.
I have a bunch of weird, spam emails in my Inbox, HELP!!!
Wikipedia says the term spam is derived from the 1970 Spam sketch of the BBC television comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The sketch is set in a cafe where nearly every item on the menu includes Spam canned luncheon (fake) meat and a raucous band of Vikings drowns out the conversation with their “Spam, spam, spam, spam. Spam, spam, spam, spam….wonderful Spam” chant. Hence, fake, worthless, annoying internet messages have quickly become known as Spam. Sending an irritating, large, meaningless block of text in this way is called spamming.
What do you mean compromised? What are they trying to get? Have they hacked my online financial information?
There are a multitude of reasons and techniques used by these individuals/groups in an attempt to damage or acquire whatever information they’re going after. You’ve probably heard of these common techniques, spoofing, spamming, and phishing. Here’s Wikipedia’s little definition for each:
- Spoofing – The word “spoof” means to hoax, trick, or deceive. Therefore, in the IT world, spoofing refers to tricking or deceiving computer systems or other computer users. This is typically done by hiding one’s identity or faking the identity of another user on the Internet.
- Spamming – Unsolicited, usually commercial messages (such as e-mails, text messages, or Internet postings) sent to a large number of recipients or posted in a large number of places.
- Phishing – A type of Internet fraud scam where the scammer sends email messages that appear to be from financial institutions or credit card companies that try to trick recipients into giving private information (i.e., username, password, account number, etc.).
What do I do?
With that being said, because the average user usually isn’t equipped to deal with any of these techniques, here’s a small list of actions to start with when you are seeing weird computer behavior or you find out that you’ve been compromised:
1) Change your email password. Change your system login password. Get into the habit of periodically changing those passwords on your own….and adding a 1 to the end of your previous email is not changing your password from a hacking standpoint. That’s one of the most common password changes and that hackers are aware of it.
2) Run a virus and/or malware scan on your computer. DCNC offers a suite of products in our package with tools from Webroot, Barracuda and Contiuum. Most of the “freebie” apps aren’t very good and can, in some cases, even mess your computer up even more.
3) If it looks like the previous steps aren’t having much affect, stop whatever you’re doing and call DCNC, at 303-920-9472. In most cases, we’ll be able to help you through your issue(s) with minimal, to no damage to your system, data, or information.
To finish this up, we suggest that you be a little more careful with your email and take a moment to really evaluate what’s being asked of you. Whether it’s a request for you to go get the bosses dry cleaning or notification that you’ve been selected as the recipient of $36,000,000 from your long lost uncle in Siberia, know that someone, somewhere is out there trying to get your information. As the old adage goes, if it seems too good to be true, more than likely it is, and it’s more important than ever to be wary. Think twice before clicking once!
Be safe out there!- Gene Essman
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