PUBLIC SERVICE MESSAGE
for anyone with an email address - from Flute Network

... as appearing in the January 2006 issue
-- EMAIL SPOOFs and fraudulant "wanting to buy - now!" inquiries...

***************************************************

SPOOF ALERT!!! Have you recently had emails from anybody "@flutenet.com"? If so – we need you to know, they most certainly weren't from us!

     The phenomena is called "spoofing" – and it's done by independently minded computer routines who go around the world, scarfing up email addresses and website URLs, and then creating self perpetuating emailings by inserting their very own false addresses in the "from" line of the email headers before sending them on to others all over the world…

      No one seems to be immune to them yet – we've received spoofs here "from" almost a dozen well known, established and respected companies - as well as individual people of all kinds – who have had things "sent out in their name" and which they knew nothing about, and most certainly didn't initiate or approve of! Some of them have been circulating for years now and have made the rounds more than once; others seem to be brand new creations, but all of them are a problem… Since we currently seem to be in the midst of yet another new "wave" of these things, we wanted you to be aware of it.

      I've gotten them from myself here too, and it was really rather shocking -- notes from "customer service@flutenet.com", "support@flutenet.com", and "admin@flutenet.com" - some with even my very own name as the sender: "jan@flutenet.com", "pam@flutenet.com", and a few other variations of the sort along those lines. These are all spoofs.

      Most (but not all) of the notes sent as part of these "spoof" emails have had a tone of caring concern about something, and urged the recipient to click on "the attachment below" to effect a needed "fix" of some kind or other…. Even Microsoft has been "spoofed" in this way – and these are perhaps the most insidious of all spoofs – you have to be vigilant and cautious, especially of these, because they aren't really there to "help"…!

      We've heard from a few folks, again, literally from all over the world, who let us know they'd had emailings from us which contained viruses and/or undesirable content of some sort… Some were wanting to be helpful and alert us about it, while others, well -- let's just say they weren't so kind (and I can't say I blame them). At any rate, since it seems to be escalating, we though we should take the space and time to alert y'all to what is going on with these "spoofs" in case you got one too.

      THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THIS: No email – of any sort – is EVER legitimately sent out from "flutenet.com" because our accounts are not fundamentally set up to do so. Both Jerry and I receive emails through "flutenet.com" and they are all automatically forwarded to our respective direct email boxes which are hosted at other sites. All are also always sent from our personal email boxes and from those unique email addresses… so anything you might receive via email FROM "flutenet.com" is almost certainly a "spoof" of some sort, and quite possibly dangerous to your computer system.

      With the help of some kind and knowledgeable folks, we have learned that one of the original *spoof* episodes effecting us had an origination source somewhere in Iceland. Another came from a computer somewhere in a library at a major Midwestern University. The most recent one appears to have originated somewhere in the Czech Republic [and actually, that's a good one to use as an example… you see: while the picture of young woman highlighted in this particular recent *spoof* email might be said to have some small apparent resemblance to me, I rush to assure you that I am NOT her, nor am I "bored and lonely", and in all candor I have to admit that (despite ongoing efforts to the contrary!) I am most certainly no longer anywhere near as, …um…, physically flexible as she appears to be in that opening shot… ]. So you see: despite what it may say in the "from" line of an email header, what you read there might or might not accurately reflect who it's actually from!

     Anyway, the Abuse Team at the company who hosts Flute Network's website has been alerted (again), and we've been assured that they're "actively working on it" – along with similar teams who are affiliated with all the various ISP's all around the world. In the mean time – HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

(1) Subscribe to a reputable virus and spyware protection service for your internet computer, and update it routinely and regularly.

(2) Never assume that an email, which appears to be from someone, or something, you know well, really truly IS from them… (sometimes the wording in the "subject" line will give it away; but sometimes the "spoofs" are amazingly good and it's more difficult to tell…). If in doubt at all about it (especially given the content of many of the current "spoofs"), check back with the supposed sender, and see if it really was genuinely from them… They may be surprised to hear about what “they" said!

(3) Just as is true with most things these days, the more you understand about how "spoofing" and "spam", etc. works, and the latest innovations in those areas, the better you'll be able to do something about it and protect yourself from it. Here's three websites that come highly recommended for additional information on all these things:

spam.abuse.net
www.annoyances.org
www.SpamPrimer.com

(4) ALSO - IF YOU HAVE LISTED SOMETHING FOR SALE – and receive an email from an “interested buyer” (particularly “from” Nigeria or some other country, as well as here at home) who asks for some unusual arrangements (such as wanting to send you a cashiers check for more than the asking price so that you “can deduct what the postage turns out to be and then send them back the rest” – well, please understand: that’s a well known fraud too! You’ll be out both your money AND your item! Do your homework on any potential buyer – and certainly, research and consider using any of the established escrow services around now who can assist you in escaping hurt by such potentially ill mannered and otherwise shady “buyers”!

*****************************


Return to Flute Network Home Page

Email:jan@flutenet.com.

All text and graphics, Copyright The Flute Network and others, 2006. All rights reserved.