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Plague of bogus e-mails

Discussion in 'General Security' started by Riverglen, Jul 4, 2018.

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  1. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Messages:
    506
    First Name:
    Larry
    Over the past several weeks, I have been receiving numerous e-mail messages that are clearly some sort of attempt to scam me or install some sort of maleware. Unremarkable, except that they all share the same characteristics:

    Purported sender is always someone I recognize, or at least seems familiar

    Subject line is always blank

    If you open the message, the entire content is a clickable link, followed by the name of the "sender". (I almost never open one of these things, but I frequently use an available function in Thunderbird to view the raw content, including the entire header information.)

    As far as I can remember, I've never seen the same clickable link more than once. They seem completely random, and meaningless.

    Purported sender is always or nearly always a participant in any of several e-mail list groups that I follow. Most of which are fairly obscure (seismology, a couple of specific dog breed lists, the roster for my wife's golf league, etc.).

    The message was addressed to multiple recipients, all within a limited alphabetical range. Very occasionally, I may see another recipient in the list that I recognize as a member of one of the lists I follow.

    As far as I know, nobody is receiving any of these messages from "me". And very few, if any, of the other recipients that I see in the raw headers are people that are in my own address book, although the listserve addresses do. So it doesn't seem that anybody has hacked my address book.

    So, a couple of questions. Is this particular scam a commonplace? Is there anything I can do to put a stop to this? Does anyone know what the consequences would be of taking the bait?
     
  2. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    52,935
    First Name:
    Rob
    Yes, this is all standard spam email. It's likely that someone in one of your groups has their account compromised and email addresses stolen to be used for this.

    Definitely don't click on the link or your computer or account could be the next one compromised. Or worse your computer gets infected, identity stolen, or your banking accounts get cleaned out.

    Best thing to do is either ignore and delete the emails or increase your spam filtering settings.
     
  3. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Messages:
    506
    First Name:
    Larry
    Well, I'm confident that I can keep myself out of trouble. The most aggressive spam filters are inside of my skull. I've been playing with toy computers for a VERY long time, and I'd be hard pressed to recall an instance of any software spam filter tripping on an incoming message (other than Thunderbird's junk filter, which depends on being "trained" by the user, and works fairly well). But, I know very well that I'm no more immune to maleware attacks that anyone else.

    But the number of messages that I've been receiving, and the unvarying consistency of their attributes got me curious. And the fact that the populations that the "senders" seem to be drawn form are completely disjoint argues against the theory that one of the theory that one of the lists got hacked. There is no commonality whatsoever between the members of the seismology interest list and the Kerry Blue Terrier list, for example. But I have received this junk from members of both lists, among several others. I'd like to know what the "common denominator" is. It seems like somebody has come up with a scheme to attack list servers and harvest the addresses of the users.

    In the mean time, I agree that there isn't much that can be done to avoid getting this junk. I already have established a policy of never opening a message that doesn't have a subject line, regardless of who the "sender" is, until I have inspected the raw content.
     
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