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Question about viruses taking over email account

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Fear The Spear

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I'm not sure what the name for it is, but when you get those spam emails that are initiated from a friend's email, and they are auto-generated and sent to everyone in their address book, and contains some shady link in it ?

I've gotten those from friend's emails before, but for the first time, it's happened to me, where it's sent from my email address, to all my friends.

My question is, whether this is also an infection to my PC itself, or is it just confined to that email account ? If it's just the email, is it like being hacked, where I would change my password, and that should fix it, and keep it from happening again ?
 

Nobody

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It's called hijacking. These are excessively more and more common within gmail, because their attempts at security are pathetic. If it's happening on a gmail account, just get rid of gmail. If it's happening with a different email service, change your password. 99.99% of the time, it doesn't have anything to do with your PC, unless you click the link.

Edit: Microsoft Outlook also sucks horrifically for security. Don't get me wrong, there is an outside chance you could have a virus, it just isn't common with these types of problems. Worst case scenario would be a spoofer sending out spam emails and using a program to list you as the sender, in which case there is nothing you can do.
 
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Nobody

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I'm sure that somewhere in a distant galaxy there's a way to tell if it's a spoofer, but none that I've ever heard of. Since you changed your password, just give it a few days and see what happens. It's a lot better to take the easiest step first (password change), especially since it usually solves the problem.
 

Lanky Livingston

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Step one: sign up for gmail.

Step two: delete yahoo account.

You're welcome. :)
 

Fear The Spear

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Step one: sign up for gmail.

Step two: delete yahoo account.

You're welcome. :)
Didn't Extreme say that Gmail is notorious for this because of their poor security ?

And I can't really delete my yahoo, at least not without a lot of trouble, because it's associated with a website I own, that hosted by Yahoo Web Services.
 

Lanky Livingston

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Didn't Extreme say that Gmail is notorious for this because of their poor security ?

And I can't really delete my yahoo, at least not without a lot of trouble, because it's associated with a website I own, that hosted by Yahoo Web Services.
Almost exactly 7 years of gmail for me and not one problem with security. Of course, I have had text verification set up for the past year, but the previous 6 years were no problem at all.

Just FYI: Yahoo Web Services doesn't care what email you use.


EDIT: And as far as security problems, I get about 20x more spam emails from my friends with old Yahoo accounts than gmail accounts. I think I've maybe gotten one from a gmail account...
 

Nobody

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Almost exactly 7 years of gmail for me and not one problem with security. Of course, I have had text verification set up for the past year, but the previous 6 years were no problem at all.

Just FYI: Yahoo Web Services doesn't care what email you use.


EDIT: And as far as security problems, I get about 20x more spam emails from my friends with old Yahoo accounts than gmail accounts. I think I've maybe gotten one from a gmail account...
As with most things, everyone has their own opinions. I don't have Yahoo or Gmail, so I'm not being biased. I based my statements entirely on the fact that every time there is a major story about email hacking and vulnerability, Gmail and Outlook Express are the two that always come up. My mom has Gmail, and she said up until about last Summer, she got alerts on a pretty regular basis about security problems and what to do to reduce your vulnerability. Oh, and every single celebrity email you have ever heard of being hacked (other than Palin) was gmail.

Nothing is entirely safe, it's all preference. I have 2 emails - hotmail and verizon. I get dogged about hotmail all the time, but i've had the account since the first year hotmail existed, and never once have I had even a minor issue. Then again, that's the one I use only for BS like signing up for offers and such, so even if it went down the crapper, I wouldn't be too upset over it. I had a yahoo email several years ago, but my inbox stayed flooded with hundreds of spam messages a day, so I just deleted it.

Don't take anyone's opinion on what service to use, use what works for you. There are many among us who hate PCs or Macs, IE or Firefox, and it can be debated to no resolution all day long. It's whatever you like for your needs.

One thing Lanky mentioned though that is very important to do for security is text verification. It's the smartest security feature you can activate, regardless of provider.
 
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Nobody

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If you go in to change your password, most email services generally have a whole section of features for added security. With text verification, it sets it up so that if anyone ever tries to change your password, or if someone tries to hack into your account in any way, the only way they can gain access is if they have your phone. The reason being, is to do anything, you will have to punch in the verification code that they text to the phone number you provide for them. As long as nobody else has your phone, they can never circumvent the text verification feature.
 

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Since I have had my gmail account i have encountere 85% less spam and have not had a single security problem. I don't like Google, they are the evil empire trying to take over the world! But gmail was better than yahoo which was better than hotmail.

Just my two cents. And I do change my password about once a month.
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Fear The Spear

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If you go in to change your password, most email services generally have a whole section of features for added security. With text verification, it sets it up so that if anyone ever tries to change your password, or if someone tries to hack into your account in any way, the only way they can gain access is if they have your phone. The reason being, is to do anything, you will have to punch in the verification code that they text to the phone number you provide for them. As long as nobody else has your phone, they can never circumvent the text verification feature.
But if your phone number changes, and you forget to modify it on your email account, are you screwed if you ever try to change your password.

Also, if changing my password fixes this problem, then how did this person or program get my password to begin with ? I never give it out.
 

Nobody

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But if your phone number changes, and you forget to modify it on your email account, are you screwed if you ever try to change your password.

Also, if changing my password fixes this problem, then how did this person or program get my password to begin with ? I never give it out.
If you have it set for text verification and switch phones, just go in, verify your old number and your new one, it shouldn't be an issue at all.

As far as someone getting your password, it's fairly easy. They could have guessed if it's an easy one, they could have run a keylog program, or they could have sent you a fake email that looked official, asking you to update your info for something you actually use, and stole your password from that. Fake emails that look like legit paypal emails are famous for this. Some hackers are so good, the return address will even be a legit address.

Good rule of thumb is if you get contacted by email from ANYTHING wanting you to update any info through an email link, never do it. Instead, to check if it's legit, go directly to the website from the address bar and see if you get the same message on the site. If not, it's a phisher trying to steal your info.
 

Lanky Livingston

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But if your phone number changes, and you forget to modify it on your email account, are you screwed if you ever try to change your password.

Also, if changing my password fixes this problem, then how did this person or program get my password to begin with ? I never give it out.
Yahoo!'s security is terrible. :)

Alternately, you may have clicked a phishing link that someone else sent you. They can be pretty devious.
 

Fear The Spear

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Pardon my constant dumbness, but how do those "keylog programs" work ?
Is that where a hacker can see everything you're typing all the time ?
How do you end up with those - the same way as the phishing ?
 

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