For at least the 5th time in 2 weeks, I’ve received SPAM email from a friend or contact in my email inbox. This happened to me as well about two weeks ago. I am careful, have an updated anti-Malware program from AVG and run regular scans. I was quite surprised on a Sunday morning when I had dozens of returned emails sitting in my inbox. I immediately started an AVG scan and downloaded Malwarebytes and ran that as well. Both scans showed no infection and I concluded that my email account was compromised. I then changed my Yahoo account password and haven’t had another problem.
I am posting this because I received another obvious SPAM email from a friend that was sent to many accounts. As I always do, I sent the friend a reply email warning them and suggested a full anti-Malware scan, using a free trial version of MalwareBytes, and a different Yahoo account password. In the past couple months, I’ve received SPAM emails from personal accounts of municipal government officials, state government employees, and small business owners. Obviously, a big problem exists!
Why does this happen to Yahoo email accounts? Here are some answers from Yahoo:
This article explains how an account can be compromised, allowing your account information to be exposed to or changed by an unauthorized person.
There are several ways your Yahoo! ID or Yahoo! account can be placed at risk. Here are a few:
- Responding to a fraudulent “phishing” email that pretends to be from Yahoo!, asking for your user name and password.
- Having a type of malicious software called a “key logger” on your computer.
- Allowing third parties access to your account.
- Leaving your account signed in at a public location.
- Utilizing the same password across multiple online services or applications. (1)
More email accounts, smart phones, and social networking accounts – many linked together – create a target-rich environment for the hackers of the world. Be smart and follow some or all of the steps below to help avoid potentially embarrassing security breaches:
– Change passwords every 60 to 90 days on accounts
– Use strong passwords, not common or dictionary words. Strong passwords use CAPS and lower case, numbers and symbols. An example is ‘H@cK3r1’. This a strong version of the common word ‘hacker’.
– Don’t use the same password for all accounts, especially financial accounts. Here is a suggestion: use variations on a theme. For financial accounts use a number, a city name, and the number again. 12D@ll@s12 is a very strong password. For another financial account, use 12Au5tin12. For email accounts try music groups and numbers: Beatles25 or V@nH@len5150. Using similar themes for passwords helps with recall.
– Don’t write passwords down where others can find them. One of the biggest mistakes are employees that write passwords on pieces of paper and leave them in a desk drawer. I saw this often as a network administrator.
– Don’t open emails from unknown senders. Never open emails from the IRS or FBI. If these agencies want you, they will send a certified letter or knock on your door.
– New computers often come with trial versions of anti-virus software. These usually expire after 90 days and leave you unprotected. Anti-Malware software is not expensive. Pick up AVG (free trial and $32.00), MalwareBytes (free trial, $24.95), or Avast (free trial, $49.99). Read reviews on many Malware products on downloads.cnet.com.
Common sense is the best preventative of all. Is that email from Mohammed Adbul in Nigeria really about his rich aunt dying and intending to share his 20 million dollar inheritance with you? You only have to wire him $10,00 for legal issues and he’ll gladly split the pot with you. Uh huh. I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you too! Mohammed’s email is classic spyware and will infect your computer. DON’T OPEN IT!
By Dion D. Shaw
Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs
Homepreneurs. New Day. New Opportunity.
Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed. Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions. Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.
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