AMSTERDAM, 27th of April 2010. If you received a Viagra advertising message from one of your friends recently, don't worry about him being a spammer. You should very well worry however, about protecting your email accounts' passwords when going online!
Recently, large spamwaves originated from legitimate Gmail accounts, the Google emailing platform. This is because reportedly, passwords were hacked and/or spyed when non-suspecting Gmail users logged-on to their accounts in public places such as cafes or anywhere where you get free internet. Another reason was that Gmail users previously fell trap to phishing spam-emails through which malicious programs were installed on their computer and could search for private login details.
A serious issue
It is reported that Google takes the threat very seriously and asks email users to check the Gmail page on data security at: http://www.google.com/help/security/. Although there does not seem to be any bug in the system, it seems that the larger quantity of sent spam came from the mobile interface of Gmail. Apparently a Serbia-based spammer sent large quantities of Viagra advertisements from a Canadian Health & Care Mall to unsuspecting Gmail address-book contacts.
Secure log-in is a must!
“Whenever you login anywhere and have to enter your password, make sure you do so on secure networks only. When going online in public places, for instance on public wifi or in internet cafes, verify that the URL of the website you're logging into starts with https:// - and that there is a padlock icon in your webbrowser. All data sent from and to the website will be encrypted using SSL/TLS, which will lower the chance of your data being eavesdropped on”, according to SpamExperts security specialist Frank Klaassen. “Whenever your browser warns you that a 'secure connection failed', be extra suspicious as anyone with basic IT-knowledge may be able to see what you type without you even noticing!”.
It is also recommended to use different passwords for the sites and services you use and to make sure it is a “strong” password (containing letters, digits, upper- and lowercase and optionally other characters) and to change it frequently. Gmail provides you with a detailed overview of access to your accounts from the IPs. If you see an IP you do not know and haven't used, chances are your account data has been used by someone else. In that case, you should change your password immediately.
Google used to fall victim to spam sent via fake Gmail accounts in the past but the extension to legitimate accounts now being abused for sending spam, shows the importance of email security and safe web-browsing.
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SpamExperts is the leading provider of email security solutions from Amsterdam. All solutions are inhouse developed and are offered as SaaS.