Yeah… And I’m not talking about those who eat the potted meat products either.
I looked at my email today and noticed that I got an email from me, with the subject of: “Red.”
Weird, I don’t remember sending an email to me at all.
And if I had, I would have sent myself something WAY more fun than the stupid stuff this email had in it.
So… Just what’s going on here?
Looks like some spammer forged my email address and put it in the “From” field of the spam’s return address…again.
They say, and I’m sure you’ve heard similar numbers, that over 80% of all email is spam. So when we talk about spammers, we’re not talking about some pimple faced, snot nosed kid, down the block with nerdy glasses, we are talking about BILLION dollar black hat companies. (Mostly originating from foreign countries.)
Of course I didn’t open that email from me as I am aware of the fact that many…actually most, spammers put a link to a little tiny graphic (usually a one pixel by one pixel, white or transparent one) back on their server. So when you open the spam email and look inside your email program, whether it’s something like Outlook or online like gmail, Yay-Hoo, or pretty much any of the others, it sends a request back to the spammer’s server with a special code tied to your email address.
This link, which is executed when the email is opened, adds a record to a log file on their server. The spammer routinely runs programs against their logs and all the “hits” to the graphics they link to in the email gets put into their database of active email addresses. This marks the email address as a “live one” that they both sell to others and reuse for themselves.
Putting someone an email in the return address is simply a configuration change in most any email program and is easy to do. And unlike a manual configuration like what we would do, this operation is completely automated from databases in the spammers software.
WHY DO THEY WANT TO DO THIS?
There are blacklists that help curb email spam. By using other peoples return address, it helps spammers sidestep the blacklist for a while. But, just like being able to put in anything in the return email address, spammers can also forge the IP addresses in the email as well. IP addresses are the little address numbers assigned to anything that talks on the Internet. This helps them sidestep the blacklists as well. When forging both return addresses and IP addresses, spammers can send massive amounts of their spam looking for anyone gullible enough to open and worse, buy, their crap. Are there people gullible enough to buy this crap? Like I said, This is a BILLION dollar enterprise. I guess that answers the question.
So…if you don’t know me and you get an email from me, DON’T OPEN IT! DELETE IT IMMEDIATELY! More than likely, I didn’t send it. It probably didn’t come from that pimply faced, snot nosed kid, down the block with nerdy glasses either.