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What is Email Spoofing and How Can I Stop It From Happening to Me?

You’re checking your email like you normally do when you receive a strange message from your friend or loved one. The message usually implies that you’ve been hacked. Naturally, your first thought might be to panic. After all, if your friend is sending you this warning, this might be legit. However, this is more likely an elaborate form of email spoofing.

Email Spoofing Trademarks

Email spoofing is a technique where hackers use real email addresses to try to trick recipients. Then, when they craft a message, they’ll copy and paste your email address into the from or sender bar.

Next, if you’re the recipient receiving the message, it could trigger an alarm because the email appears real. That said, it’s important to pay attention to several components, as this can confirm or deny its validity.

The New York Times recommends using the settings feature of your email to access the “view message header” or “show original” functions. This allows you to authenticate the sender line of the email to see if the message did come from a friend. Furthermore, if this feature authenticates the sender, it means your friend has a compromised email account that’s sending out spam messages.

Another indicator is the message of the email itself. Email spoofing, similar to other scams relies on you making knee-jerk, emotional reactions. This can include opening an attachment or clicking a link to fix or access the problem. While natural to want to do this, it’s important to refrain from doing so as any action of this nature could infect your device with malware.

Email Security Tips

If you receive an email from a friend stating you’re hacked, it’s important first to reach out to the friend to see if they sent that message. However, don’t use email or social media accounts to do this. If their information is compromised, you could be communicating with the hacker, not your friend.

Another tip is to keep your email address private. Hackers can easily access email addresses by using mailing lists, web pages where you publish your email address, and more. If you plan to have an email address public, it’s best to use a secondary one, not your personal one. This will make it easier for you to weed through the fakes if or when they come.

Moreover, you’ll also want to keep your passwords updated regularly. A good rule of thumb is to change your passwords once every few months that way even if someone is able to access your email address, it makes it much more difficult to hack into it.

Next, you’ll want to exercise caution when responding to messages. If you receive a threatening or disturbing message, as scary as it might “hit you” it’s important to take a step back and think things through. What is the recipient trying to get you to do and why?

Most of the time, your friends won’t know you’re hacked unless you’re sending spam messages. And that brings us to our last tip: check your email’s activity regularly. Inspect your sent folder for messages you don’t recognize sending. If you find any, it’s best to change your password and run a scan on all your devices using an anti-malware program.

Meanwhile, if you become a victim of ransomware or malware due to email attacks, our team at Salvage Data can help. Using state-of-the-art tools and the top-of-the-line expertise, we can recover your files quickly and securely. Contact us today to learn how we can help!