Stu's Techno Geek page

IT Tips,Tricks,News and other neat thoughts to help make life easier for Small Businesses

Friday, July 01, 2005

Novice Series - Address Spoofing

This is the second installment in a series of articles for the more novice of users.

Address Spoofing

Internet viruses are usually spread through e-mail, as we have all seen.

How does it know where to go? One of the things recent viruses have been written to do is use the infected person’s Contact list or Personal Address Book to perpetuate itself. It will go through the list and e-mail itself out “as another person”. It puts the e-mail address found in the Contact List as the sender address. This is called “spoofing”.

The result of this lovely practice is that someone who was not infected is being used to erroneously spread a virus. The infected person may not even know that they have been infected because their address was never used.

On the other hand, the real victim is the person whose address was spoofed. They get a slew of rejection notices, Virus alerts, System Administrator Nasty-grams. Here’s the sad part. There really isn’t a way to find out who was infected. Think of all the people you have in your Contact List. How many people have you? The only thing we can hope for is that the pre-adolescents that are writing these things get grounded from computer use for a while so we can all have a break.

Here is a little story (Think grade school filmstrip):

Bob is a user. Bob doesn’t update his anti-virus software frequently. Bob also does not look very closely at who sends him e-mail and opens everything he gets without paying attention.

Bob opens an e-mail attachment from someone he doesn’t know.

He now has a virus. Poor Bob.

Mr. Virus goes through Bob’s contact list and Finds Julie’s name.

Mr. Virus takes Julie’s address and sends out e-mails as Julie.

Oh, No.

Julie checks her e-mail and has 200 messages saying that she has sent out a virus. Julie is confused, she doesn’t know these people.

Poor Julie.

If only Bob had paid attention to the warning send out by Help Desk.

Receiving those rejected message e-mails doesn't necessarily mean that YOU are infected, so don't despair. Just delete them.


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