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E-mail address being hijacked

Question : For the past year, I have been getting virus-laden messages that purport to be undeliverable mail being returned to me. I recently decided to change my account password, and these bounced e-mail messages suddenly stopped. It seems that someone was logging in to my account and using my address to send this e-mail. Have you heard of this kind of spamming?

Answer : It is possible that your computer was hijacked by someone on the Internet and added to a botnet. A botnet, also called a zombie army, is a group of computers that have been compromised without their owners' awareness and then used to forward spam and viruses.

Computers without adequate firewall protection to shield them from intruders are at risk for induction into one of these zombie armies, as are machines without antivirus and antispyware protection. Intruders can get into unprotected computers and install software that allows them to remotely control the machines to do specific tasks like sending spam.

If you haven't already, you may want to install a firewall program, (Windows XP and Mac OS X include firewalls; ZoneLabs offers its free Zone Alarm firewall for Windows at www.zonelabs.com) and get antivirus and antispyware programs. You may also want to change any other passwords you use with the computer in case those have been exposed, too. IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of nonregistered contributors.


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