What The Heck Are Bouncing Spam And Zombies?

Just recently I have been receiving a lot of emails stating that my outgoing emails have been rejected by the recipients server for some reason.

Strangely, they were sent to email addresses I had never heard of, let alone sent a message to.

Closer inspection showed that these emails contained spam.

I began to think that maybe something had got past my firewalls and virus filters, turning my computer into a zombie.

spam-and-zombies

Zombies

If you haven’t heard of a computer being turned into a zombie before then what that means is that a piece of malicious code had been embedded into your email client.

What this does is to send spam, viruses, trojans, etc to people in your address book without your knowledge.

As it is from you, the recipient may be far more likely to open it, thereby potentially becoming infected themselves.

After further investigation I realised it is just a new kind of spam.

Spammers send emails to addresses that dont exist with your email address in the reply-to field.

This courses the email to bounce back to your email server, bypassing most spam filters.

Many internet users will be curious as to what this mysterious bounced email is and so for that reason they will read the attachments.

If you get email like this dont open any attachments!

If they contain images, they can alert the spammer to the fact that your email address is in fact valid.

In this way, the spammer will have ‘phished’ your email address and he, and anyone he sells it to, will use it for spam and all the other types of email scams and phishing attempts that we discuss here.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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