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Information Technology

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WHAT IS E-MAIL SPOOFING?

E-mail spoofing is the falsification of an e-mail header so that the message appears to have originated from someone or somewhere other than the actual source. Distributors of spam often use spoofing in an attempt to get the recipient to open, and possibly respond to, their solicitations. Spoofing can be used legitimately. Two examples of a sender who might prefer to hide the source of an e-mail is someone reporting mistreatment by a spouse to a welfare agency or a "whistle-blower" who fears retaliation. Spoofing anyone other than yourself is illegal in some areas.  

Spoofing may occur in different forms, but all have a similar result: a user receives email that seems to have come from one source when it actually was sent from another. Email spoofing is often an attempt to trick the user into making a damaging statement or giving out sensitive information (such as passwords).

Examples of spoofed email that could potentially affect you include:  

email claiming to be from a system administrator requesting users to change their passwords to a specified string and threatening to suspend their account if they do not do this

email claiming to be from a person in authority requesting users to send them a copy of a password file or other sensitive information

Although most spoofed e-mail falls into the "annoyance" category and requires little action other than deletion, the more malicious varieties can cause serious problems and security risks. For example, spoofed e-mail may claim to be from someone in a position of authority, asking for sensitive data, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or other personal information -- any of which can be used for a variety of criminal purposes. The Bank of America, eBay, and Wells Fargo are among the companies recently spoofed in mass spam mailings.

The best form of defense is a good offense.  Delete suspicious e-mail without opening attachments or clicking links.

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If you are having problems please feel free to contact us at: helpdesk@wwcc.wy.edu or call us at:
(307)-382-1676 or toll free at 1-800-226-1181

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