How Do I Get Spam, Spyware, etc.?

Spam: Spammers often use bulk email programs to send out their unsolicited messages to lists of email addresses that are often collected without the recipient's knowledge. There are several ways spammers obtain these email addresses.

  • Mailing Lists — Many people sign up for mailing lists for newsletters, news alerts, coupons, special offers, and other interests. However, spammers can also sign up for these mailing lists and obtain the email addresses.
  • Usenet Posting —Spammers can also use bots to cruise newsgroups on Usenet in order to collect email addresses.
  • Coincidental — Your email address may be unique to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), but it may also be used by several other people using different ISPs. Spammers use the front part of email addresses and change the ISP name to create a list of several email addresses.
  • Dictionary Attacks — Spammers make educated guesses on email addresses by stringing together common names and words.

Spyware and adware (and the more general term for bad-intentioned software, malware) can lead to anything from PC crashes, to increased spam, to identity theft. These threats are rapidly proliferating and represent a major security and privacy risk, therefore requiring a solution. These programs can enter a system in several different ways, such as through everyday web browsing, unauthorized software downloads, peer-to-peer file swapping, email attachments, instant messaging, chat sessions, bundles with legitimate software, hacker web site downloads, and "drive-by" installs from web sites.

Here are some signs that you may have spyware on your computer:

  • New toolbars, links or favorites appear in your Internet browser
  • Your home page or browser has been changed
  • You enter a web address but wind up at a completely different web site
  • You see pop-up ads even when you're not online
  • Your computer is suddenly running much slower

Here are some   tips on using anti-spyware software.

Still need help? Call 1.800.239.4430 or Live Chat

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