Wednesday, 14 July 2010
Spooked by Spoofing
I am aware of what spoof is – a take on a play or novel to caricaturize it. A spook is what jumps at you in the dark.
Spoofing, the GoogleHelp site informs me, means spurious ads are sent from someone else’s email i.d. without revealing the hacker’s identity or email .i.d.
I had a taste of being spoofed when the aforesaid happened.
Being spoofed also meant being on the receiving end of a host of bounced mails to people I had never mailed.
In my case it was a link to a site providing Viagra enhancements, that was being sent to all and sundry in my contacts list. Curiously this link was a google site itself with a URL beginning with sites(dot)google(dot)com . . .
Reactions ranged from the ribald – ‘So you need Viagra now?!’ – to the righteous indignation of ‘I didn’t expect this of you!’ Even the Portuguese ambassador deigned to reply in Portuguese cautioning me.
Happily, it urged many of my long lost friends to renew their acquaintance. ‘Thanks for the link’ said one. ‘I am doing fine – how about you?’ said another.
The cyber attack got more nefarious when my contacts started getting spammed from my email i.d. with other links as well – many of which thankfully did not open.
Somewhere along the way I got a red banner headline above my inbox saying that they had tracked unusual activity on my email in faraway France! Oh, so the cyber nannies were on the job – good!
GoogleHelp advised – as did my colleagues – to change my gmail password, which I did. I was quite pleased when the password strength registered as ‘high’ with a green band for added effect. I had used Arabic numerals together with upper and lower case letters.
I also shot off a mail to spam.uce.gov -- a cyber patrol site devoted to minimizing spam. Along with this I shared my tragi-comic tale with the google net online help forum.
It seems that this is only the tip of the iceberg though from among a cache of goof-ups by google. Someone got phantom mail from a person who was dead!
Thankfully the spoofing stopped. All is quiet in my inbox – until the next spook or spoof takes up residence! Till then I shall work on improving my vocabulary.