Mindless Chatter

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Ron, what about forwarded email ?

I got a question today about forwarded email, you know the ones that say please forward this to 10 friends or you get bad luck or some such other foolishness. The question was do these forwarded emails track who gets them and report the email back to the spammer ?

Never heard of an forwarded email doing this…. unless your system is infected with something that does this or the email that you are forwarding has an attachment that is infected. If there are no attachments being forwarded I think you are safe.

Now let’s talk about what can happen, if at some point you opened an .exe .gif .jpg or other file attached to an email and it played some music or some other silly stuff, you might have gotten a little gift that you did not expect. These are call Trojans some can be real nasty, they can phone home all of you key strokes (bank accounts, passwords, anything you type), they can scan your hard drive for your personal information (SSN’s, tax returns and the like) and phone this home. They can get into your email and forward the Trojan to other computers. They can take over you computer free cycles, to be under command of the person who wrote it, turning your computer into a bod. There are some bot networks that numbers in the 100’s of thousands. The person in control of the bod network sells time on this network to other dubious persons. Some of these Trojans will install what is called a root kit, which normal virus program may not detect.  So the virus program cleans the Trojan but the root kit is left behind to do it nasty stuff. A couple of years ago, a large recording company, added a root kit to their CD’s. A person who bought the CD and they ripped it so that they could enjoy the music on their MP3 player, unknowingly installed a root kit on their Hard Drive. There was quite an uproar when this hit the news.

It is a good practice to remove other peoples address before you forward, a lot of spammers have access to servers that relay emails. They can strip active addresses from these servers.  In the world of spammers its all about active email accounts they  can sell.

Anyway, the best defense is to install a good virus checker, install a firewall and use a web based email and never download attachments unless you know who its from and that it is safe. Always run a scan on something you downloaded, every time….

Ron

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment