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Has my Gmail account been hacked??

Discussion in 'General Security' started by guyshahar, Jun 11, 2009.

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  1. guyshahar

    guyshahar Thread Starter

    Jan 20, 2006

    I logged on to my Gmail account this morning, and found that the vacation setting was on. I thought this was strange, as I hadn't set it, so I opened the settings and found that it was set to send some dodgy mail to anyone who wrote to me, inviting them to meet online and sending a link to some pics (obviously, I didn't click this link).

    Then I checked my sent messages to see how many people it had been sent to, and found that not only had it been sent to people who wrote to me during the night, but also that a different mail had been sent to a whole list of people whose addresses were all very similar:
    pers-(then some letters and numbers)@craigslist.org

    The mail said only "heyy, i think we can fill each others ad :)" - with no link. One person actually replied to this wanting to meet up!!!

    The subjects headings were replies, like "Re: Fun witty guy Looking - 26 (Central Point)" or "Re: anyone real? - 19", suggesting that they might be replies to dating posts.

    I do not look at Craigslist.org, and have not looked at any dating posts anywhere.

    How has this happened from my email address, and how safe am I now? It seems to be back to normal now.....

    Thanks for any advice you can give.

  2. Phantom010

    Phantom010 Trusted Advisor

    Mar 9, 2009
    To read: http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/586...B4eB3JLpcFLZA5

    E-mail spoofing

    A feature of the protocol that email is based upon is that the email message itself has a number of spaces (data fields) for information like the "intended recipient", "sender's email address" and the "return email address", "CC", "BCC", etc etc. within the email datagram (think of email like a picture postcard with spaces for the sender name and address as well as name and address of the person it is being sent to).

    What someone has done (or rather set up a piece of software to do) is send a spam email to so many million email addresses with the sender's FROM email address set to be the same as the "intended recipient's" TO email address. This is done for two main reasons, partly to try to get past email spam filters that filter on known spammer's FROM addresses (or email domains) and partly to hook your interest in getting an email from yourself - which it achieved.

    So the spammer is not sending spam email from your email account (that is - they are not hacking into your account and typing messages), but simply using your email address to send spam email to you. Just as if you had got a picture postcard through the post addressed to you with the offer of cheap Viagra but was signed with your name.

    You can also try a program like MailWasher.
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