email borne viruses
Plague of viruses

Under attack

| In recent weeks there has been a tidal wave of spam hitting my inbox, and a large number of the messages contain viruses trying to infect my computer.

About this time in April, I received a message from Yahoo: "We're asking users to change their passwords due to recent security incidents online. While Yahoo systems were not affected, we may take extra precaution and lock user accounts when we detect unusual activity."

Although I had signed up for a yahoo email account many years ago I used it only for testing purposes and actually assumed that the account had been closed. Not so, it seems. I found the account still active and I dutifully changed the password (by going independently to Yahoo, not clicking any link in any message).

However — as soon as I changed the password,  I was inundated with new waves of spam messages, often two or three of the same one in any given batch of email. In contrast to earlier waves of spam, these often had subjects relating to supposed financial transactions, court appearances, and so forth, along with the usual one miracle food that would cure <your-disease-or-condition-here>. And the messages frequently set off my Avast Antivirus.

And there were so many of them! On any given fetch of new messages, forty or fifty might end up in my spam folder, an increase of several hundred percent compared to the previous frequency of spam.

I have no proof that the current onslaught is related to Yahoo, but the timing is very suspicious, the assertion "Yahoo systems were not affected" notwithstanding. Although the spam is not going to my Yahoo email address, or appearing to come from it, the Yahoo account includes my actual email address. And if the Yahoo account information was hacked, changing the password does nothing because it is the real email address that is the valuable bit.

Fortunately, Avast has protected me from all these online gremlins. For years I used the free version of Avast, and never got a virus. A couple of years ago, however, I switched to the paid version because I liked and trusted the product and felt it was only fair to pay for something so valuable.

Moral: Get a good antivirus and keep it up to date!‚Äč

 

 

Last updated on Apr 29, 2016

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