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my computer is generating spam e-mails


guidoa 13 1.4k United Kingdom
10 Feb 2012 10:25PM
It certainly is not one of the contacts who are all family and close friends. I have not disclosed the password to anyone nor is it wrtitten down. My sister who alerted me to the problem said the e-mail even had the pic which is on MSN.

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Jestertheclown 6 6.6k 242 England
10 Feb 2012 10:34PM
I don't for a moment think that this was carried out by one of your contacts, guidoa.
Even if one of them had surreptitiously acquired your password; it's easy to look over a friend's shoulder, it's unlikely that they'd know how to send out spoof emails.
I doubt that this has even been directly carried out by a person. It's more likely that it's has been done by a piece of anonymous malware that's somehow found a way in.
robthecamman 3 1.4k United Kingdom
10 Feb 2012 10:39PM
im on a mac book i gotta a guy ask me to add him on msn i refused but then a trojan turned up hes blocked but name still in block list in msn some prat from usa i think
robthecamman 3 1.4k United Kingdom
10 Feb 2012 11:11PM
just takeing this one step further could it be one of ur contacts has a security problem that gives it access to your hotmail
User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
10 Feb 2012 11:43PM

Quote:For the hacker to have used the password, they'd have to have seen it or been told what it was. Which could be the case, of course.


Or they could have guessed it with a brute force attack...

Advice about AVG etc is a bit meaningless as it looks after your local files and can't do much about stuff on Hotmail's servers.


Quote:get a 'gmail' account. Their SPAM controls are excellent.


Irrelevant Mike, it's got nothing to do with incoming spam. It's about hijacking, which also happens to gmail accounts, and has been on the rise for a while.

http://www.itproportal.com/2011/10/07/spam-email-sent-hacked-gmail-hotmail-accounts-rise/
11 Feb 2012 3:04AM
One of the faults is when you sign up to a new web site it will ask you to use your email address as a username then it asks you for a password, I would say most users use their current mail password so to keep them the same and easy for them to remember.
User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
11 Feb 2012 11:10AM
The problem with any webmail system (Hotmail, gmail, Yahoo, etc,., etc.) is that all your data is held on an external server over which you have no ultimate control.

I would thoroughly recommend ditching them all (certainly for serious e-mail use) and use a Pop3 e-mail account using a client such as Thunderbird, whereby all your data is held on your own computer. That way, as long as your computer is adequately protected against trojans, viruses, etc., then you should be relatively safe. (Although nothing is absolute in this game).
User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2012 2:02PM
Your thread title "my computer is generating spam emails" indicates that you misunderstand the situation.

It's not your computer that's doing it. Spammers are logging into Hotmail as you. Your computer doesn't even need to be on. Anti-Virus on your computer won't help.
guidoa 13 1.4k United Kingdom
12 Feb 2012 12:51PM
Thanks Chris, after all the useful comments I now understand, so following on from some of the advice I have removed all contacts from hotmail and changed password to a very strong 10 letter one, so hopefully spammers wont be able to log in as me.
66tricky 8 742 Scotland
12 Feb 2012 3:14PM

Quote:The problem with any webmail system (Hotmail, gmail, Yahoo, etc,., etc.) is that all your data is held on an external server over which you have no ultimate control.

I would thoroughly recommend ditching them all (certainly for serious e-mail use) and use a Pop3 e-mail account using a client such as Thunderbird, whereby all your data is held on your own computer. That way, as long as your computer is adequately protected against trojans, viruses, etc., then you should be relatively safe. (Although nothing is absolute in this game).



Conversely, the problem with using pop3 and a client side mail program is that all your data is client side and at risk from viruses, trojans, disk crashes and a plethora of other risks that most people are either unaware of or ill equipped to protect against or deal with. Big email providers such as Yahoo, Google and Hotmail are highly experienced with any layers of redundancy to protect your data from loss. I have been using Yahoo for circa 8 years now. My business domains are routed through it. Re3cently I had a first ever issue with Yahoo where emails with attachments from Dec 2011 were not accessible. I raised a ticket, giving them the details and they investigated and resolved within 24 hours. I make a living from IT systems, developing trading software for large banks. I would say that I am a "serious" email user. I don't think that means I need to manage my data client side though as that is riskier. Plus, I can access my email from anywhere in the world without having to lug the same computer around.

I have an old pop3 account with BT that after some 6 years since cancellation, remains active. I can draw down the emails to Yahoo. Every one of them is some kind of phishing scam or virus. With Yahoo spam is superbly controlled server side.

Search for "thunderbird lost email" (or outlook = 93 million hits) and see how many people are looking for someone to help them recover a corrupt email system. Googling "thunderbird hijack" shows that a local pop3 client is as likely to be compromised... One of the easiest way to ensure your email is compromised is to open up the address book to the likes of Facebook apps...many people make this Elementary School Boy Error. I reckon most of the "hijackers" are invited in by unwitting users or those, as noted before, who use the same password when registering on sites with an email address.
peterjones 12 4.0k 1 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2012 5:39PM
I suggest use a password that cannot be found in any known dictionary; there is software about that spammers use to try every word in the English language to obtain a password.
macroman 11 15.3k England
12 Feb 2012 6:23PM

Quote:One of the faults is when you sign up to a new web site it will ask you to use your email address as a username then it asks you for a password,


I always use Yahoo's disposable E-mail Accs, for online shopping/websites etc, one for each company, if there is a spam problem just delete it and create another.
brian1208 e2
11 10.6k 12 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2012 7:16PM
thanks for this thread, I was having this problem with my ntlworld account but have now sorted it by resetting my password (for the moment at least)

Looking on both the Virgin and gmail forums it appears that there has been a very large increase in this problem recently
User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2012 10:21PM

Quote:I suggest use a password that cannot be found in any known dictionary; there is software about that spammers use to try every word in the English language to obtain a password.


Whilst that's good advice and should be followed the attackers only get a few attempts to log-in before the account is locked. So rather than target one account with the whole dictionary they target a million accounts with a couple of common passwords. The words they've chosen might not even be a dictionary word, it could be a child's name (people choose their kids' names as passwords).

They can also run a script which upon entering an account changes the security question (or just the answer) which enables them to get back into the account again even after you change the password.
Jestertheclown 6 6.6k 242 England
12 Feb 2012 10:34PM

Quote:I suggest use a password that cannot be found in any known dictionary;

I was reading an article about this just the other day.
There's also a school of thought that says that it's a good idea to incorporate a few foreign language characters with accents attached. None of which makes much difference, evidently.
Apparently, as well as using the script that Chris mentions, which renders just about any password useless, hackers are also "opening" the encrypted versions of your password as it travels from your machine to Hotmail (or whoever) for verification.

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