In SPAM – Part 1, we covered the broad strokes of spamming as it relates to unwanted mail coming into your mailbox.
In this, Part 2 of the series, we’ll look at the more insidious side of SPAM; using your own (compromised) email account, bandwidth and ISPs services to send SPAM for or by the spammers.
SPAMMERS are free loaders. They want to do as little and spend as little money as possible to bombard people’s inboxes with junk email. The way they do this is to use other people’s email addresses to send out their garbage.
Account Compromised – But wait. How do they know your email address and password? Currently the more common methods to gain your details are:
- ‘phishing web sites’ – the SPAM email contains links to a fake banking site or webmail site typically asking you to confirm your log in details. Don’t do this!
- ‘unsubscribe’ link (or similar). You’ve got SPAM, you know it’s SPAM but hey , they provide a handy ‘unsubscribe’ link to click to not receive future emails. Don’t do this!
- you open an attachment from an unknown source, installing malware Don’t do this!
- You chose a weak, easy-to-guess password and/or have been using the same password across multiple sites. Don’t do this!
Malware – Once the bad link is clicked malware can be silently downloaded and installed on your PC. The malware captures your log in details, sends the info to a “ Botnet ” controller server that collects all these addresses. At a predetermined time these Botnets are launched and suddenly your email address is being used to send thousands of SPAM messages to to the world.
This is bad for you, bad for your ISP and bad for every other legitimate email user on the Internet. Your email address will become blacklisted and may lead to your ISPs mail servers being blacklisted as well.
OPQ Reacts – At OPQ we proactively monitor our customers outbound email looking for signs of potential SPAM and compromised PCs. When the alarm is triggered, the errant email users’ mail account is suspended and the password immediately changed. This usually stops the attack within a few minutes with only a brief interruption to email services.
At this point, OPQ will insist that all devices using the problem email account are scanned and cleaned with anti virus tools and a report given before the account suspension is lifted.
In Part 3 of this series we’ll look at ways in which we can spot SPAM more easily and how we may come to stop SPAM altogether.