The Norman Transcript

Business

July 21, 2013

Are you spamming friends?

NORMAN — You are sending me spam email,” I recently wrote to one of my customers. Of course, he had no idea he had sent me an email promoting assorted “enhancement” products, but, nonetheless, that’s what happened.

He also had no idea he had sent the same email to everyone in his contacts list.

I knew that he had, though, because right there in the “To” field of the message were the email addresses of everyone in his contacts list.

I’ve seen the same thing happen to three other customers during the past month.

The messages were different, but the symptoms were the same. Unbeknownst to them, they were sending spam email messages to everyone in their contacts list.

There are three ways this can happen to you: Your email account has been hacked, your computer is infected with a virus known as a “spambot” or your email address has gotten on some bad guys’ list and he is sending out spam email masquerading as you.

Spambots (as in, “spam-sending robots”) are nothing new; they’ve been around for years.

They enter your computer the same ways as other viruses, either through infected emails or attachments, infected instant messages, infected “apps” found on social networking sites like Facebook, infected fake programs that you download and install or infected links and ads found on websites.

You can even get what’s known as a “drive-by infection,” where your computer gets infected merely by looking at an infected website.

Spambots can be dealt with like any other virus, with anti-virus products and scans being the most popular solutions.

It is also important to update your computer’s operating system.

This applies to Apple Macintosh computers as well as Windows PCs. Anyone who tells you that Apple Macs can’t get viruses should be slapped.

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