Email hacked; spam being sent from my email
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Thread: Email hacked; spam being sent from my email

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Email hacked; spam being sent from my email

    To whom it may concern,

    If this isn't a forum for email privacy issues, then please direct me to one that can help me. I am on a 2006 Dell XPS 400, Windows XP, I use IE 8 or AOL 9.1, use DSL, unsure what kind of router. I have had an aol email address since I started sending emails over 10 years ago. Starting a few months ago, my aol email address has been hacked by an unknown entity about 3 times. This unknown person then sent inappropriate spam messages (supposedly from me) to at least 15 people from my email address book each time.
    Is there any way that this can be fixed or prevented? I have applied for some jobs recently, who have not emailed me back yet. Nevertheless, once they contact me, I would be mortified if I "unknowingly" sent an inappropriate, harmful message to them in the future. Do I need to only use my non aol address from now on? Please advise me on the steps to take when you can!
    (I have the programs Spybot, Ad-Aware, and AVG who haven't reported any recent threats)

    Thank you for your time,
    Jennifer K.

  2. #2
    HAN's Avatar
    HAN is offline Virtual PC Specialist!!!
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    Several questions...

    How do you access your AOL mail? Do you do it via AOL's browser? Outlook Express? Outlook? Mozilla Thunderbird?

    After you discovered your acct may have been owned, did you change your AOL password?

    Do you know for sure your acct actually has been owned? Is it possible that someone is sending spam to mutual acquaintances and you really don't have an issue?

    FWIW... I am sorry to say that IMO, AVG is barely adequate antivirus and Spybot and Ad-Aware are both pretty much useless nowadays. You might want to consider using something else??

  3. #3
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    Dear HAN,
    I use both AOL's browser and aol.com through IE to access my aol mail. I have not changed my aol password but will do so within the next 5 mins; is that something that will be much help? Any stranger who might hack into my email wouldn't have any idea what my password is, but is it possible they randomly guessed it?
    Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "someone might be sending spam to mutual acquaintances", but this fact might put the idea of a non issue to rest: After this person has hacked my account and sent messages to many (it's much more than 15, I checked) addresses on my email list, then that same day, when I check my "sent mail" folder, these spam messages show up there. I also get a ton of "return to sender/could not send to x address" messages from many of these emails at the time, but there are many that are actually sent as well.
    Do you know of any free "protection" programs that would prevent this from happening again? Even if I downloaded something new, could it prevent this (possible same) hacker from accessing my account?

    Thanks for the quick reply, and hope to hear some possible solutions.
    Sincerely,
    Jennifer K.

  4. #4
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    If you're using AOL's browser and IE, then your address book is on AOL's server. They were hacked, not you. And they don't guess passwords. They use a computer to generate millions of passwords, and some of them work, or they hack right into the AOL system and steal them in quantity.

    Change your password to something really obscure, a combination of letters, numbers and characters. But there's nothing you can do to prevent AOL's server being hacked. It happens to all the mail services. Google's been hacked recently, Hotmail, etc.

    If you want more control over possible hacking, use a POP 3 mail service like OE or Thunderbird, and make sure the security on your own computer is tight. AOL is dying anyway, losing members by the millions as people become more savvy about the internet.
    Last edited by foxy; April 16th, 2010 at 01:44 AM.
    "The medium is the message." - Marshall McLuhan
    -----------------------
    HP 7700 XP Pro SP3 / Avast A-V, Windows Firewall/ Firefox/ Thunderbird
    Dell 2400 2.8 GHZ / 3 GB RAM / Win XP Home/ Firefox/ Thunderbird /BitDefender, Windows Firewall
    Toshiba laptop A5-S16/XP Pro/1.73 GHZ/ Win XP /Avast A-V, Windows Firewall/ Firefox/ Thunderbird

  5. #5
    HAN's Avatar
    HAN is offline Virtual PC Specialist!!!
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    It's tough to give a definitive answer on what went wrong. Clearly, if the offending emails are in your sent folder, they did come from your account, not some one masquerading as you (which easily done.)

    So there are 2 possibilities. As foxy notes, someone may have hacked your AOL email password at AOL's email web server, or someone could have hacked your PC and got the password from you. It can happen both ways. But IMO, it's potentially easier to hack your PC. Recent viruses, worms, trojans, whatever you want to call them have lots of capabilities. Logging your key strokes and taking grabs of your screen is well within some malware's powers. I mentioned above that your protection software is weak IMO. Your PC could be compromised and the 3 things you run might have no clue about it. (Note that you may be clean but at this point, you shouldn't assume 100% that you are.)

    As for passwords, there are lots of ways to approach this. I use a password manager program because I have dozens of them. But for most users, that may be overkill. The best way for many is to use a pass phrase that mixes letters (upper & lower case), numbers and a few special symbols (if they are allowed.) An example might be MfsiMCToT18%31 (My favorite song is My Country Tis of Thee 18 % 31) The song was written in 1831 and it's not really my favorite song but you get the idea. This kind of phrase is much safer than rover12 or pa$$word1234.

    Let us know how things are doing for you...

  6. #6
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    Changing your password won't help if your PC is still compromised. You should probably read the instructions at this link:

    http://discussions.virtualdr.com/sho...d.php?t=167915

    And then start a post at this link:

    http://discussions.virtualdr.com/forumdisplay.php?f=71

  7. #7
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    I just Googled Youtube, and actually found videos on how to hack AOL passwords. They really have chutzpah, putting it out in the open. There are dozens for AOL and Facebook.
    "The medium is the message." - Marshall McLuhan
    -----------------------
    HP 7700 XP Pro SP3 / Avast A-V, Windows Firewall/ Firefox/ Thunderbird
    Dell 2400 2.8 GHZ / 3 GB RAM / Win XP Home/ Firefox/ Thunderbird /BitDefender, Windows Firewall
    Toshiba laptop A5-S16/XP Pro/1.73 GHZ/ Win XP /Avast A-V, Windows Firewall/ Firefox/ Thunderbird

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