Why are your friends filling your inbox with junk mail?

You open an e-mail from your co-worker only to find it’s junk mail: an ad for a new herbal supplement, as well as a link to that supplement’s Web site. Believe in instincts if you’re suspicious. Chances are your co-worker’s e-mail account has been hacked or her e-mail address spoofed.

Spamming and spoofing

As the New York Times explained in its Gadgetwise column, this is a constant threat. Often, hackers infect people’s computers with malicious software that tries to spread itself by sending messages to the e-mail accounts in their address books.

Spoofing

Other times, hackers will attempt to forge e-mail addresses to trick recipients into opening them. And then there are those advanced hackers who gain control of other people’s computers then use them to send out tons of spam messages.

Protection

You can keep your PC safe by using up-to-date anti-virus software and by never ever opening or clicking on e-mail messages that appear suspicious, no matter who is supposedly sending them. You can also protect your computer by informing your co-workers and friends whenever you receive a suspicious e-mail message in their name. They may not know they have been victimized by aggressive spammers.

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Posted on: 07.24.13