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Weird email spam experience


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For all you tech gurus out there, I have. question.  Suddenly my inbox is getting bombarded with spam, thanking me for signing up for all sorts to newsletters and other sites. My spam filter catches many of them and sends them directly to my spam inbox, but a huge number are getting through to my regular inbox.  Lots of them are also in foreign languages.

I'd estimate I'm getting 100+ in my inbox daily, plus 300 - 500 in my spam inbox.  I dutifully empty the spam inbox several times a day now. I also mark the ones in my inbox as "spam", and I think the volume in my inbox is decreasing slightly as a result.  

I changed my password just as a precaution, although this seems to be an "Incoming" problem as opposed to my email or contacts list being hacked.  As expected, changing the password didn't affect anything new way or the other.  Does anyone have any insight on what's happening here? Anything else I should be doing or should been the lookout for?

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Be alert, your contact information may have been sold some where in the hacker universe. You may end up having the same issues on your cell phone.

 

You should probably check your credit information and be actively monitoring your financial accounts for awhile.

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It sounds like your email was hacked or harvested, and I agree with cbslee about monitoring credit and financial related accounts for any unusual activity.

Other than that, the only bit of advice is if you can filter your emails to exclude any in foreign languages, or filter them if they have a common theme where you could filter by that subject somehow. Can you tell if they are coming from the same IP address with different sender names?

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Thanks for the suggestions.  I monitor my credit regularly, but will step up the intensity. I'll start paying attention to IP address on some of them. I've wondered if they are bombarding my inbox in hopes I'll accidentally open an attachment.  Not all the emails have attachments but many do.  But I never open an attachment unless it's expected.

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Your address can be randomly spammed, it can be grabbed from someone's address book, and so on.  (AOL was notorious for having their address books compromised.)

For business use, there really is no perfect filtering, other than manually setting up filters, and reviewing your spam folder.

If you need the easiest solution, gmail likely has the best filters (you can wash your mail through them via forwarding if you do not normally use their system).  I used to use mailwasher, and it is a decent product.  Caveat, gmail, and other online filters, do read your messages, and use the content to make money (serve ads).

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Last month my brother in law's email account was hacked. Everyone in his contact list received an email requesting a personal favor.

My wife replied and asked what he wanted. She received another email asking her to help him by buying a gift card as a present for a relative,

which she didn't do.

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I have myself listed as two other people with different email addresses in my contacts list.  Those in turn forward to my primary email account.  (I've been told that's a good way to get a heads up if someone hacks into your contact list.) Nothing like that has happened and nobody has told me they're getting unusual emails from me. So I don't think anyone has hacked into my account, although I did change my password just as a precaution.  Since posting that question this morning I've shunted 30-40 emails from my inbox into Spam, and dumped about 400-500 out of Spam over the course of about 6 hours. The good thing is that the Inbox spam seems to be decreasing.

It's just a matter of someone having tons of emails sent to me, but for what purpose? If I knew what they were up to I might figure out another way to thwart them, or at least what to be on guard for. 

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This used to happen to me about once a year (but not quite so much volume).  It was the email address itself that got sold (or whatever) rather than any compromise of my systems.  Good grief it was a royal pain in the hindquarters.  I was able to get most of it using filters; a large number came from specific countries (India?  Bulgaria? - don't recall at this point) and eventually when I never bit any of the solicitations they petered out.

 

 

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I think I may have found the answer to what's going on.  If you don't mind clicking on a link, here's the article I just now read:

https://www.howtogeek.com/412316/how-email-bombing-uses-spam-to-hide-an-attack/

If you don't want to click on the link, I'll try to summarize what "email bombing" is all about.  The attacker has likely gained access to one of my online accounts (especially one with stored payment info), and they want to try and order from that account.  They're hoping that if I get a notification about a transaction I'll miss it, or even delete it along with a group of known booming emails, and the transaction will go through.  They might make the effort at the outset in hopes that I'm overwhelmed, or they might try it after a little time has passed, in hopes that they will have exhausted me and I've given up.  

The article also suggests a few ways to mount a defense, but it's clear that this type of attack is difficult to deal with. 

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Some years back when I was the "producer" of our church newsletter (typed in all the articles the editor gave me to make a pretty booklet out of it each month, because she didn't use a computer) I went to a Christian clip-art site to get some free clip-art for our booklets. I got the clip-art and hundreds of emails. This was back when we in the country had dial-up, so anything was slow to do. It took a LONG time for my mail to load each day with all the extra spam. Hundreds and hundreds a day for days. Mostly porn sites of one type or another. Our computer was in the living room for our children to use for their homework. I never opened, never clicked links, just kept deleting for days and days. It slowed down quickly and eventually stopped. Porn sites?!

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No, there have been surprisingly few porn sites in the mix, as far as I can tell.  Maybe more among the ones in foreign languages,  but I wouldn't likely recognize them unless they're in Italian, Spanish, etc.  

But the mention makes me think of a friend who was presenting a power point to a group of executives a few years back.  His email would pop up a message on the screen occasionally, but suddenly there were several Viagra and Cialis ads in a row.  After 5 or 6 had popped up, he just turned to the group and said "I wonder how they know?". 

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