You check your e-mail one morning and realize that there are dozens of bounced messages and e-mails from contacts asking you if the link that you sent them is legitimate. You didn’t send a link to anyone, so what happened and how do you fix it?
What is spamming? Spamming is the distribution of unsolicited bulk e-mail. Intentional spam is delivered by individuals who are soliciting a product or business, while unintentional spam is bulk e-mail distribution from within an infected or compromised computer. This can be generated from a virus or worm that activates e-mail distribution, or from someone actually hacking into your account, effectively hijacking your e-mail account.
What is spoofing? E-mail spoofing is the forgery of an e-mail header so that the message appears to have originated from someone or somewhere other than the actual source. To find out if the e-mail in question originated from your account, check your Sent Mail folder.
What to do if your email account has been compromised:
- Change the password to your email account and any accounts linked to it, such as Facebook or Paypal. It’s best to use a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols, and don’t keep a universal password for all of your accounts.
- Create a sign-in seal. This is linked to your computer, not your email account, so someone attempting to access your email account through a different computer will need to answer security questions.
- Change your security settings. Log in to your account settings, and change your password hints, reset information, and linked accounts.
- Make sure that your virus scan program is up-to-date. AVG is my personal favorite. Not only should you run a virus scan on a regular basis, you should also have a malware program, such as Malwarebytes to scan for malicious adware.
- Create a second email account and use it for online registration and ordering. Don’t use your personal e-mail account for online registrations or purchases, forms, or mailing lists. Keep a spam account solely for this purpose.