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Change password to prevent Internet spambot attack: expert

2017/08/31 17:58:40

Picture from Pixabay

Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) The best way to prevent personal email information from being breached by spambots, which harvest e-mail addresses from the Internet to build mailing lists for unsolicited emails, is to change your passwords regularly, an anti-virus software company executive said Thursday.

"Another step would be to enable a two-step verification feature for added security," Chien Sheng-tsai (簡勝財), a senior consultant at online security software developer Trend Micro Inc., was quoted as saying in an Apple Daily report.

Two-step verification (also known as two-factor authentication) is currently provided by several web-based email services, including Yahoo and Google, where users are asked to sign in to their e-mail account using a password and a subsequent code that is sent via cellphone message.

Chien's comment came in response to a spambot dubbed "Onliner," which was recently discovered to have over 711 million email addresses that it used to send spam messages to Internet users across the world.

He also pointed out that social media users, such as Facebook and Twitter, should also pay more attention to the threat of security breaches by Onliner as their networking platforms often require users to sign in with their e-mail accounts.

The other potential threat is that users tend to sign in using the same email and password for multiple social media accounts to save on the hassle of multiple passwords, creating the potential risk that all their personal information is potentially exposed if just one account is hacked, he added.

Users should change their passwords regularly, enable the two-step verification feature on their web-based email services and sign in to each media platform using different accounts, the security expert said, stressing that people should never download spam files to prevent the risk of data breaches.

(By Pan Chih-yi and Ko Lin)