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Ask Slashdot: What To Tell Non-Tech Savvy Family About Malware? 340

First time accepted submitter veganboyjosh writes "I got an instant message from an uncle the other day, asking me what was in the link I sent him. I hadn't sent him a link so I figured that his account had been hacked and he'd received a malicious link from some bot address with my name in the 'From' box. This was confirmed when he told me the address the link had come from. When I tried explaining what the link was, that his account had been hacked, and that he should change the password to his email account, his response was 'No, I think your account was hacked, since the email came from you.' I went over it again, with a real-life analog of someone calling him on the phone and pretending to be me, but I'm not sure if that sunk in or not. This uncle is far from tech savvy. He's in his 60s, and uses Facebook several times a week. He knows I'm online much more and kind of know my way around. After his initial response, I didn't have it in me to get into the whole 'Never click a link from an unfamiliar email address' bit; to him, this wasn't an unfamiliar email address, it was mine. How do I explain this to him, and what else should I feel responsible for telling him?"
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Ask Slashdot: What To Tell Non-Tech Savvy Family About Malware?

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  • by notgm ( 1069012 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @11:15PM (#42305227)

    you've been compromised, and now you're spamming /.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 15, 2012 @11:18PM (#42305241)

    I don't see why you think his account has been hacked.

    Someone simply sent him email with your address as the "From" address. Doing that is trivial, and spammers do it all the time.

    Post your uncle's email address and your email address, and thousands of us here will send you email with your uncle's email address as the origin.

    Go ahead, post both addresses. You can trust me. I'm "Anonymous Coward", and you've seen millions of articles from me which show my wide variety of expertise.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 15, 2012 @11:39PM (#42305319)

    I'm "Anonymous Coward"

    No you aren't, you liar! You hacked my account! How dare you!

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @12:03AM (#42305435) Journal

    He couldn't be.

    He is middle aged and knows better. He doesn't click on shit or go to weird sites. He also doesn't use IE. THerefore a AV scanner is not needed especially if you have a firewall. AV software is for wusses according to these folks and I am sure his 3 year old version of flash and 5 year old unpatched Java on his machine are no match to the mighty security of running firefox!

    Don't believe me? Just ask any slashdotter who has not used Windows in 12 years. They know what they are talking about when it comes to Windows security as they post this all the time.

  • by Frankie70 ( 803801 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @12:41AM (#42305591)

    I get spam mails from *myself* all the time.

    I think you have accidentally hacked your own account.

  • Re:Nothing (Score:0, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @01:02AM (#42305665)

    Hacks always go after the widest distribution and so naturally Windows XP/Vista/7 are affected much more than Mac's since they are still a much larger percentage of the online systems today.

    By that logic, I would recommend they use Windows 8. Nobody uses it! Not for long anyway...

  • by marty23571113 ( 972462 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @01:26AM (#42305749)
    (I think some places let you do this) Yeah several million places
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @04:03AM (#42306073)

    If that is the level of reasoning among "tech savvy" people, then we're screwed.

    veganboyjosh's computer wasn't hacked, and his uncle's computer wasn't hacked until the link in the email was clicked. Someone else, who had both of them in the address book, was hacked and, after grabbing the address information from that third person's computer, a Facebook account, an uploaded Android contacts list, etc., the botnet sent the malicious email "from" someone in the address book to someone else in the address book, because that's how you make fake emails look legit and apparently it's also how you dumbfound enough geeks.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.