Forum Question: Address Book Problems and Spam

Recently, I got a message from a friend that turned out to be spam for fake watches, handbags etc. I emailed him about it expressing my concerns that his address book had been compromised. He told me others on his list had sent him similar messages. They too got the spam. He is asking me what he should do. I sure would like to be able to tell him something. I’d also like to know if there is anything I can do as these people obviously have my address as well. I get 5-10 messages a day from them and then it dies down for a while. Thanks, Ron

Comments: 3 Responses to “Address Book Problems and Spam”

    10/26/11 @ 6:51 am

    So the spam came “from” this person? That’s probably not the case. A common trick used by spammers is to send email “from” an email address — in fact that very rarely every send spam “from” themselves. It is usually a faked from address of a real person that has nothing to do with the spammer.
    But in your case you got email from a friend, and you said other people also in his contacts got the email. That’s too much of a coincidence, so it is most likely the case that his email account was compromised.
    The friend should, of course, run multiple anti-virus checks on his computer (I am assuming he is using Windows?).
    But the most likely cause of this is his email account has been compromised. He is probably using an online system (Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, etc) and his account password was too weak (a dictionary word, date, common password, etc). It was guessed and now spammers can log into his account and send email to all his friends.
    He should change his account password to something strong, but also change his other info — like password recovery info (mother maiden name, etc). And look for anything in his account info that doesn’t belong, like a secondary email address that isn’t his (spammers can use it to “send me my password, I forgot”).
    You can tell him this and also have him check out my guide to online password security.

    10/26/11 @ 8:14 am

    He is running Macintosh, not Windows. I do not know the system he is on if that makes a difference. I would bet Tiger or so given that he does not update that often.

      10/26/11 @ 8:17 am

      OK. Then don’t worry about the anti-virus stuff. This is most certainly a case where his online email account was compromised, so it doesn’t really matter if he is using Mac or Windows.

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