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Preventing Email Spoof

Updated on April 27, 2008

What is email spoof


What is a spoof email and how can you stop yourself becoming a victim? a spoof email is one that looks as if its comes from one email address but actually comes from another address altogether. The address given in the from box is false. How can this happen?

There are two main causes of you receiving spoof emails:

1) Emails sent by a mass mailing worm. The only purpose of these worms seems to be to show of the technical wizardry of their writer. They clog up the internet by sending out thousands of unwanted emails. The worm works by accessing the address book of the computer that it has infected. When the computer is turned on, the worm will send emails (and a copy of itself) to everyone in the address book. It uses one address to send the email to and then picks another address from the book to enter as the sender. If you receive one of theseworm-ridden emails, all you can tell by looking at it is that it from a computer where the address book of a computer that has both your email address and the address of the fake sender.

These worms are what cause you to receive those undeliverable messages for emails you don't remember sending and to people you've never heard of. You didn't send them of course, the worm on someone elses computer was the sender.

They tell you that the owner of the computer they were sent from:

a) hasn't been keeping their address book up to date, and

b) Is using out of date anti-virus software

2) So called Phishing emails form another kind of spoof. Many tell that your bank has suffered a software failure or is updating their security measures. Often they threaten closure of your online banking facility if you don't comply. All they ask you confirm all your security details please. In the email there will be a link which will take you to an imitation of the bank's website. Don't be fooled. Take a look at the real link that appears in the address bar at the top of your web browser. Does it really look like the genuine web address of your bank? Of course not. onlineservices/ is one example I've no idea who were, but they certainly weren't anything to do with natwest bank.

You might also find that several widows/orphans/accountants have vast sums of money which they are willing to share with you if you give them a few details about yourself. Don't. Giving them details lays you open to identity fraud, and giving them your bank account details is the equivalent of sending them a blank cheque. These type of spoof emails are hard to prevent, but an effective spam filter should remove most of them. The kind of spoof that is spread by worms is easily prevented by making sure you, your friends and your workplace have effective antivirus software installed and that it is updataing itself regularly. Make sure you renew your subscription when if falls due - a virus database that hasn't been updated for weeks is useless. New items of malware appear daily.

Prevention of Phishing emails is hard for the average user. Use an up to date web browser with a built in phishing filter. Then, even if you make the mistake of clicking on the links in the email your browser will warn you that it is a suspicious site. If you are suspicious of an email that appears to come from your own bank, phone them. They wont mind.


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