Mail Virus/Hack

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by GovtLawyer, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. GovtLawyer macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2008
    It seems one of my AOL accounts in MacMail has been hacked. The account has sent spam to everyone in my address book. I immediately changed the password with AOL.

    I never had a problem with my iMac address book or mail accounts before. I just bought a new iMac two weeks ago. Also, the Address Book is now in the iCloud as Apple decided it no longer wanted me to update the contacts in iTunes, rather it uses the cloud to send my contacts to my devices. Something it never took a poll on, but just thought we would all want them to be the guardian of our personal contacts.

    Also, I have never worried about viruses, as everyone knows the Apples are fairly immune to that stuff, unless you click on something you shouldn't despite the warnings.

    Lately this one email account has been getting spam messages from some of my business contacts. I never click on them.

    So, any ideas how I could have been infected. Where is the infection - in AOl, on my computer or the cloud. Finally, any ideas how I can find it and eradicate it.

    It appears that changing my password stopped it; although, tomorrow I expect to get dozens of emails asking me about the email and faxes I sent them (I use a fax internet and many of the contacts got one page faxes from me.)
  2. cerote macrumors 6502a


    Mar 2, 2009
    Most likely on AOL sides or something else that may use the same password as your email you signed up for.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Email accounts, especially ones like AOL, are compromised quite frequently. It has nothing to do with malware on your Mac. Email accounts can be hacked even if you don't own a computer. Once an email account is compromised, everything you've used that account for, including registering at other sites, is vulnerable.

    Macs are not immune to malware, but no true viruses exist in the wild that can run on Mac OS X, and there never have been any since it was released over 12 years ago. The only malware in the wild that can affect Mac OS X is a handful of trojans, which can be easily avoided by practicing safe computing (see below). 3rd party antivirus apps are not necessary to keep a Mac malware-free, as long as a user practices safe computing, as described in the following link.
    Read the What security steps should I take? section of the Mac Virus/Malware FAQ for tips on practicing safe computing.
  4. GovtLawyer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2008
    What About Adressees?

    I understand the spoofing of my account, but how did it get the addresses to email to? Did it get them from the AOL server as addresses of those I have sent emails to in the past? Not all of them were in my address book, but all did get emails or faxes from me in the past. (I use an internet fax and just add the fax address at the end)

    This was my business email. I changed the password on AOL. What else can be exploited by the knowledge of the old password? Was there anything I might have done to have allowed this, or was it simply chance?
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Yes, once into your email account, they can get addresses from all mail sent or received. If they can gain access through your mail account to social networking sites, they can get addresses of everyone in your friends list. There are many methods by which they can get the information to spam your contacts, without ever needing to access your computer. It's really extremely rare that an average user's computer is hacked, since other methods are more effective and easier to accomplish.

    Yes, it's a random thing, but you can minimize your exposure by using passwords that are long and complex, making it harder to crack them. Use a different password for each mail account or login account.

    Stay off mailing lists as much as possible, to minimize spam and exposure to spammers. Ask your friends to not include you in the "joke of the day" or "kitty pictures" distribution lists.

    No domain is problem-free, but there appears to be a higher frequency of email accounts being hacked in the AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo domains, so you might consider a different domain such as Gmail.

    Use a "throw-away" email address in those cases where you're required to provide an email address, but you expect spam may result.
  6. GovtLawyer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2008
    It was a server problem?

    So, I gather it was a server problem. Interesting enough, when I went to AOL to change the password there were several notes which indicated I was a victim of spamming or spoofing or whatever. Yet, I wasn't notified by them nor was it stopped.

    I assume it has nothing to do with my contacts/address book as there were emails I had sent, fax email included, which are not in my address book. Fortunately for me, I only use the address for business and do not go to social media sites with that email.

    Finally, it seems as if this is merely an annoyance, which multiplies with subsequent users. What is gained by this? Does a person ever actually look at these exploited sites, or is it all done by robot?
  7. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    Using an AOL email address for business doesn't send a positive message to potential customers/clients. If you aren't successful enough to have your own domain, why would I do business with you?
  8. GovtLawyer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2008
    Thank you

    Thanks for the business advice. I have more business than I can handle. If I ever decide to to expand my business I will seek you out for some more sage advice. Until then, I'll just toss your advice aside like the rest of the unwanted trash which sometimes accumulates in life.

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