Crime, Justice, Law & Order, Media

Securing Email Account: No I don’t sell viagra

In my email account, I recently noted unusual activities. Mails were being ‘sent’ by ‘me’ to ‘me’ (and also to my contacts). Therefore. I took it up with my mail service operator.

Their response … ufff … was  surprising. They said this is normal these days. According to them, my email account (or your mail account in like manner) is not compromised under such circumstances. Neither the account is (actually)  hacked.

As per my email client, the frauds have become smarter. They have now devised ways to ‘forge messages’ which look like having been sent from genuine senders.

A Sept.2008 post on Greater Voice. Click to enlarge.

The modus operandi is such that they forge your e-mail address as the “From” field on the unsolicited e-mail.

This doesn’t require the person to log in to the account.

Sometimes, individuals forge message headers to suggest that the e-mail originated from your mail account.

Then, the spammers also send unsolicited e-mails using bulk e-mail programs that forge headers in the e-mail message. 

Some of these programs combine the sender’s account name or e-mail address with another domain name to try and make it appear more authentic.

The above methods clearly bypass your mail filters because the message appears to originate from the recipient’s own account. This is becoming very difficult practice to guard against.

How secure is net, you can well guess.

Many of my friends have also discussed with me some surprising mails that they keep getting, other than the now infamous ones … that you have won some lottery or jackpot worth millions … or promotion of viagra etc.

Such mails are undoubtedly from frauds, though with suggestive and tempting subject lines. Some examples are: “This is pretty interesting”, “This is amazing”, “You will certainly like this”.

I expect you not to open such mails, and as far as possible to report such mails to your service providers or to the police if it requires their intervention. Three years back when my mail account was indeed compromised, the hacker mailed my contacts soliciting money on my behalf, telling them that I was stuck in London and needed money urgently. 

On Facebook walls also, I find many of you trying to see ‘who visited your profile’ etc. Please do not visit such links as they are seductively created to fool you. Similarly, you must be receiving direct messages from Twitter which prima facie look suspicious. And have you forgotten the twitter messages that promised top journalists a quick boost in their followers and many indeed fooled themselves dreaming to become twitter avatars.

Also, never give your (any) account details in response to any mail, how genuine it may appear. Remember, no (no) service provider … in any situation … asks for such details. Mails seeking private information are absolutely bogus and must be dealt with properly. 

Sometimes, and quite shockingly, a user falls victim to some type of phishing scheme – when either they reply to an email that threatens to close their account if they don’t provide their password, or they go to a website that looks like their mail sign-in page and provide their password.

According to senior journalist Anil Maheshwari, “hacking is not a new development. It has been prevalent since the World Wide Web (www) became popular. Hackers are now reinventing themselves to gain access to confidential information.”

A circular issued by India’s Department of Science and Technology also seems handy wherein the government has issued IT security guidelines. It can be accessed here in a pdf file.

Hope you will take adequate care. And do not forget to regularly change your password, which is still a good practice.

I also expect you to add if I have missed something that you might have experienced at your end.

About Greater Voice

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Securing Email Account: No I don’t sell viagra

  1. Quite informative and useful!

    Posted by Vinod Behl | March 27, 2011, 9:26 am

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  1. Pingback: The Osamas of Internet « GREATER VOICE™ - November 27, 2012

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