Friday, July 9, 2010

What is a Spambot?

I received an email this morning that I personally found offensive, in which it was automatically assumed I was the one sending out all the spam from my yahoo account yesterday.

Believe me, I am not spamming and I am not an online cartoon character, thank you.

But then it occured to me after the fact, that many users online are unaware of what Spambots are. So, let's go over this.

What is a Spambot?

It's a small program designed to randomly send out worthless links for worthless businesses. No, I do not need a bigger one that performs better because I don't even have one in the first place, thank you very much. Hence, spam. In short, the spam is not being sent by a real person, it's being sent by a program that someone created. Then some random joker gets extra money in their foreign account which they can enjoy will sipping drinks in the Bahamas.

How does one get a Spambot?

There are several ways. The "remember me" option for instant messaging programs and websites will log your password and personal infomation, which can be grabbed by Spambots. Some websites will sell personal info to "third parties," which are always spammers. Selling personal info is illegal, but many do it all the time, and unfortunately rarely get caught.

Cookies are another way. Make sure you delete cookies from your browser on a regular basis. This will ensure your personal info isn't floating around cyber-space. (Go to Options on your browser).

Downloads. Some downloads are legal and safe, ie, getting an update for your registered programs or getting a copy of your new book cover. Some downloads are highly illegal, so you should always be careful and make sure you have some kind of security software active on your computer at all times. McAffree and AVG are two of the best out there (AVG is more user friendly for those who are tech-challenged, it's a good piece of software). Or, just, you know, don't illegally download anything. Downloads are the number one way a computer can be infected by a virus.

How did you get a Spambot?

I've given this a lot of thought while dealing with over 50 extra emails yesterday (I lost count after 50). See, I have excellent security on my computer and I'm always careful online so this whole affair has been very surprising for me.

Recently, I began having a log-in problem with MSN Messenger. Hotmail refused to recognize my password. And silly me, I never added an alternative email to my ancient and never used Hotmail account. This meant I couldn't log-in nor reset my password. So I gave up on Hotmail and recreated a new MSN Messenger account. To make things simple for myself, I used my yahoo email for that account.

A little while later, I get a Spambot.

Yeah, I don't think it's a coincidence either. Now bear in mind I'm not a tech guru and have no way of proving this, but in my honest opinion, it's all Microsoft's fault. I do know for a fact that Hotmail will sell info to "third-parties."

What a charming way to make money...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
If you're not a spammer,
I'd love to hear from you.