Undeliverable bouncebacks to messages you didn’t send

Head Surfer
October 10th, 2008


I can send a message to anyone on the internet and FROM ANY email address that I choose.  I’m willing to bet any money on it.  You pick the email address and if I wanted to I could send you a message right now from billgates@microsoft.com.

Read On:

Problem: User has received email from either themselves or another email address associated with their domain –
And the address either does not exist or they did not send the message.

Or Case 2: Client receives replies or failure notices to email messages that they never sent.

This is an attempt by hackers and spammers to get you to open their messages and/or attachments or to spoof your email address.  If you view the header of the emails you will see that they did not originate from our servers.  Instead the hacker/spammer is using an open-relay on a server outside of our Network Operations Center.  When sending email directly from a server the from field is not authorized by a server.  Instead it exists as a definable variable, so anyone can literally set the from address to whatever they would like.  Even if it is not their domain or if the domain does not exist.

It is very similar to postal mail.  You can send someone a letter from Virginia, but you are free to put down any return address you would like.  So just because an email message comes from an address does not mean that the owner of that email address sent it!  Therefore, you should never open attachments you are unaware of.  It is smart practice to verify such documents with the actual sender before opening them.

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