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Email virus?

By floofy ·
I have been using a hotmail account for about six years, now and am just now having problems. The SPAM and junk mail have been taken care of due to the filters added by Hotmail. My most recent problem is that I have become the SPAMmer. Each day Ireceive at least thirty emails of "undeliverable" mail with the body of the message regarding how to become debt free, or reduce mortgage addressed to recipients I have never heard of, apparently the domains haven't either.

How did this happen and is there ANYTHING I can do to fix or prevent it? I have downloaded the program AdAware and that helped for the first stint of my spamming, but now I am lost. At my house, we have a LAN set up between three PCs and I am afraid if a virus is in my mail, it may get into the other computers. A cable connection keeps up connected 24/7.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Lindsay

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The barn doors are wide open

by timwalsh In reply to Email virus?

Pardon me if I sound callous, but I'm assuming you don't go on vacation and leave all your doors and windows wide open. Why would you do this with your computers?

Since you are questioning the possibility of a virus, this tells me you probablyaren't running any anti-virus software. You don't mention any firewall, so I'll also assume you don't have one.

If I understand you correctly, you are getting undeliverable (bounce) messages which report that email purportedly initiated by you can reach its intended recipient. Is this the case?

It is more likely that a Spammer has hijacked your email address and is using it as the return address, than it is that you are actually sending out all these emails. You can probably verify through Hotmail whether or not the original messages were initiated by your computer.

Having said that, if you have have a 24/7 Internet connection, and you leave your computers on all the time, and you have neither a firewall nor anti-virus software, there is nothing protecting your computers from the undesirables that skul around the Internet looking for easy prey, and anything could be possible. A hacker may be using your computers without your knowledge to send these emails. Any personal information that exists on these computers is free for the taking by these same undesireables.

First, get anti-virus software for all your computers. Run an immediate scan. Keep the virus signature updated. The anti-virus software will prevent your computers from becoming infected.

Next, get a hardware firewall. These are available (in the form of a DSL/Cable Router/Firewall) from many vendors and can be found for less than $75. The firewall will put a lock back on the doors and prevent your systems from even being seen from the Internet.

Good luck, and please practice "safe Internet!"

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by mrafrohead In reply to The barn doors are wide o ...

I would follow everything that Tim Walsh stated to the T if you have not already done so. He is right on the money there

Another thing though... Unless you are using a forwarding feature on your hotmail or are using your e-mail client that isphysically installed on your computer (ex: Outlook, Eudora, Outlook Express, etc...) the odds of you sending those e-mails is very slim. I would be more inclined to say that your account is either being used or the servers that your account resideon is actually infected.

The reason that is, since you are using an internet e-mail program for e-mail, you usually don't have any software installed on your machine and you are using a web based interface. Therefore if you aren't connected to apop3 server with your pc, then you probably aren't sending out those e-mails. Also, a virus usually looks for your pop3 information that is locally stored on your machine before it hijacks your e-mail software or loads it's own pop3 server and usesyour information. And if you don't have those things installed, the virii won't have anything to work with.

On the safe side though, if you are NOT using any AV software or a Firewall, stop reading this message after this sentence. Please turn off your computer and go to teh store and buy one. Remember, if you are infected, then you can infect us all and that isn't very nice computing

Once you have the AV/FW taken care of, then you should be good.

Again, I doubt that you are infected since you are using Internet e-mail, but you should not go blind. Think of the internet as sex with a stranger. YOu don't want to do that without protection for fear of catching something right??? Exactly...

Mrafrohead

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Change Password

by TheChas In reply to

As soon as you install the AV and firewall, I recommend that you change your Hotmail password.

That will reduce the likelihood of someone using your Hotmail account to send e-mails.

If you are on a tight budget, and this is a home system, there are 'freeware' choices for both AV and firewall.

For AV, go to www.grisoft.com
and download their AV program.

For the firewall, try www.zonelabs.com
Even the free version of Zone Alarm is an effective firewall.

Chas

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Thank You

by floofy In reply to The barn doors are wide o ...

Tim,

First of all, I would like to thank you for your advice. Next, I would like to add that my Norton AntiVirus is no longer on the pc. I have to either renew the subscription or get a new verson. I have one on a disc from college, but it expired last semester...maybe if I change the pc date, it may work? ...No clue.

Also, you suggested I get a hardware firewall "(in the form of a DSL/Cable Router/Firewall)" - we have a cable router. I don't know if this is exactly what you are speaking of, but it's here and working.

I know I'm not the one sending these messages from my account and no one else has access to my password. I have changed it every now and then over the years for security. So it would more than likely be a Spammer hijacking.

I am going to download an AV program suggested by another response and look into the firewall issue. Maybe even buy a cheap copy of Norton AV from school...

Once again, thanks for your help and time and if you have anything to add, feel free.

Lindsay

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