Is your email sending out mass-mail spam messages? Have you ever received a complaint about sending unsolicited ads or obvious spam messages? Have you ever received bounced emails by the boatload that look like they have been sent from your own account, even though you know you didn't send them?
If you are in the above situation, it is likely your email is being spoofed. Email spoofing is where spammers try to trick spam filters by making spam look like it comes from a legitimate address. They do this by manipulating the email header to display your email in the "from" address, hence why you get bounces back and others believe the junk mail is coming from you. We've seen this situation a few times recently and it appears to be more and more common. The problem for you is that this hijacking of your email address renders your mailbox useless because it get flooded with thousands of messages. Plus angry people send emails to your address asking you to take them off the mailing list.
This isn't the same as having your email compromised, which is where spammers can actually get into your email account with your password and create havoc. While it's a good practice to change your email password if you notice something fishy, spoofing doesn't need access to your account to get in. Spammers do this because an email is much more likely to get attention if it's from a recognized sender.
Fortunatly the fix is relatively easy and is better to perform before your address is used for this trick, not after.
In some cases, an experienced IT technician can investigate the header of the email and determine the true origin. This won't typically catch the spammer, but it will point the technician to the Internet service provider. At that point, the next course of action is to reach out to that ISP and have that IP blocked. This doesn't mean you won't be targeted again; the spammer could simply re-initiate the spoofing process from a computer on a different IP, and you'd need to hunt them down all over again.
It's very difficult to stop spoofing attacks permanently - businesses need to take action to prevent them. Be aware of phishing attacks (spam emails that link to fake pages meant to look like legitimate website login pages) and ensure you are keeping your anti-malware and antivirus software up-to-date. Unfortunately, it actually doesn't take any negligence to open yourself up to email spoofing, spammers just need to know your email address.Using throwaway email addresses for signing up for accounts is a good way to keep this in check. Use your main email only for correspondence with people, and have a couple email accounts specifically for different accounts on the web. For example, setting up a social@ email for social networks like Facebook and Twitter, or create throwaway accounts for signing up for sites that you don't completely trust. It isn't to say that the websites you sign up for are spoofing your email, but if hackers gain access to your login data for that site, or if the site shares your personal information, it's possible your email could get into the wrong hands.If you suspect that your email is compromised or spamming others, contact us at BrightWire Networks at 360-528-6017.
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