Hotmail Accounts Encountering Breaches
Microsoft, the software giant based at Redmond, is alerting everyone using 'Hotmail', the free e-mail facility of the company, to watch out for ongoing spam e-mails that are reportedly hitting Windows Live Hotmail accounts.
In a personal blog, Site Manager Rob Margel in Microsoft's (UK) Windows team writes that Hotmail is observing cases where spammers are hijacking accounts for dispatching e-mails that promote a website for electronics items. Displaying subject lines such as "Good shopping good mood," the spam e-mails may target the victim's contact list along with an arbitrarily chosen series of e-mails, as per the news published by MXLogic.com on March 12, 2010.
Describing the hacking activity, Microsoft said that the spammers who hijacked the Hotmail accounts didn't block them from their legitimate owners, rather used them simultaneously with them.
Consequently, users might not be able to detect a third-party that might also be accessing their accounts.
Nevertheless, some indications are apparent with which users may realize the presence of the third-party, like the account owner may be asked for doing a character match as a proof that he isn't automated software but a human. He may as well find that a few of his contacts are deleted from his address book without any previous notification.
According to Microsoft, it also received complaints from some victims that there were changes in the configurations of their e-mail filters as well as in the features of their additional custom accounts, following the breach. Clearly, this is one more indication which can prompt or indicate Hotmail users if an infiltration has occurred into their accounts.
Thus, to remain secured from the current attack, certain immediate actions have been suggested for the users of Hotmail, keeping in mind the maliciousness of the attack. First, they must set a new password. Secondly, they must update or feed a new secret answer. Finally, they must update or create a new alternate e-mail ID.
Over and above, it is recommended that users must make their security software up-to-date on their computer systems. This is because Microsoft firmly believes that these hijacks are being done with the help of a PC virus.
Related article: Hotmail Account Holders Vulnerable to Latest E-mail Scam
» SPAMfighter News - 22-03-2010