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email hack?

jazz
Grafter
Posts: 240
Registered: 06-04-2007

email hack?

I'm on XP using Thunderbird as my mail client.  I have up to date antivirus (Avast!), firewall (ZoneAlarm),  spyware (Spybot, AdAware, Spyblaster, Windows Defender).  I get very little (one or two a month) SPAM emails but last night I got 300 all addressed to "SomethingDifferentEachTime@myusername.plus.com".  They were all reporting that a message I sent could not be delivered and were being returned.  All had been sent between midnight and 1am then a further, bigger, batch from 6am to 7.30am.  I don't know whether I will receive any more today.
I have not sent any emails to which these failed delivery notices refer.  My email address was one of those hacked in the Plusnet  email problem a couple of years ago but I blackholed the username@ username.plus.com address that seemed to be the only name that was being spammed and I've had no problems since.  This series of emails last night seems to be an attempt to keep using a variety of letter and number combinations before my username to see which work.
Any comments or advice on what action I might sensibly take (apart from deleting the emails unread via webmail whicjh I am now starting to do!)? 
16 REPLIES
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 18,699
Thanks: 1,953
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Registered: 11-01-2008

Re: email hack?

These are just backscatter from a spammer pretending to be you, should quieten down in a day or so.

Customer / Moderator / If it helped click the thumb / If it fixed it click 'This fixed my problem'

jazz
Grafter
Posts: 240
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: email hack?

Thanks for that reassurance Adiewoo - I'll hope for a bit of peace soon then!!  Smiley
Not applicable

Re: email hack?

Jazz - I had exactly the same problem a few weeks ago only it wasn't as prolific as yours - probably about 7 e-mails reporting undeliverable messages and all addressed to silly names@xxxx.co.uk.
As I have catch all turned off I contacted CS and there was something wrong with the mailbox. It was fixed quite quickly and I am now blissfully spam-free. Suggest you raise a ticket or ring in.
jazz
Grafter
Posts: 240
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: email hack?

Thanks Poppy.  I have raised a ticket to let Plusnet know what's happening.  I have my catchall turned on as I use a different address for every company that I deal with so that I can spot if they pass my address on then they get blackholed!  I think this is the result of spammers getting hold of my address (username) when Plusnet was hacked a couple of years ago and they are inserting their own prefix title randomly generated to send out batches of emails.  As Adiewoo said perhaps this will die down in a couple of days.  If not I'll pursue the matter with Plusnet.  If necessary I may have to turn my catchall off - but it may be a problem to remember all the addresses I've given out in order to set them up as aliases in my mailbox!!  Sad
jazz
Grafter
Posts: 240
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: email hack?

Just had another 1100 posts over lunch!!  Anyone know of a quick way of deleting posts in Webmail??  I'm clicking to "Show All" then "Toggle All" then "Delete".  However there are so many that sometimes the Webmail times out before it completes the deleting.  They're now piling up in my Trash Box but I'm not even going there.....Plusnet can auto-delete those in 30 days time - my fingers are tired!!  I have to keep going through my Inbox though as I am expecting one or two important emails Sad
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 13,428
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Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: email hack?

Quote from: jazz
Just had another 1100 posts over lunch!!  Anyone know of a quick way of deleting posts in Webmail?Huh

Not really. You'd need to access the mail account via POP or IMAP using a standalone email application instead.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

jazz
Grafter
Posts: 240
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: email hack?

Thanks - but I don't want to download these emails - I just want to find any that are real ones!!  I've now had almost 2000 emails today and it's getting beyond a joke.  I just hope it goes away after a few days as others have said or I'll have to see about changing my username (I know it's hard and can only be done manually but.......).
I raised a ticket at 9.30 this morning (Ticket No 28658432) but haven't had a reply yet - mind you, if they email me............. Angry 
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,718
Thanks: 931
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Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: email hack?

http://mmm3.sourceforge.net/
That downloads the headers only (using POP3) and allows you to delete the obvious rubbish.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
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Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,773
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: email hack?

I wrote the following some time ago in connection with clearing out the spam folder, but the same principles apply for Inbox - just substitute the appropriate folder name. Of course when using Toggle All make sure you really do want to select/delete all messages on the page. Untick any you want to keep.
If your spam folder contains a large number of messages (1000s), trying to clear it out a page at a time using the SquirrelMail default settings would take forever. However trying to do it in one go (by selecting Show All, etc) results in a time-out because there are too many messages to handle at once. The practical way is to increase the number of messages shown per page then Toggle All and delete the much larger page-full one page at a time, occasionally clearing the Trash folder, and repeating until done.
To increase the number of messages per page:
Login to webmail (SquirrelMail)
Click Options
Click Display Preferences
Change "Number of Messages per page" to (say) 250
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Submit
Then, to Delete spam messages:

Click the Spam folder to display its contents a (longer) page at a time
Click Toggle All to tick all the messages on that page, then
Click Delete to move them to the Trash folder
A new page of headers should be displayed. Repeat Toggle All/Delete.
When you have done 1000-1500 it is a good idea to empty the Trash folder.
To empty the Trash folder:
Click Check Mail
The text "(Purge)" should appear against Trash in the folder list. Click that word to empty the Trash folder.
Repeat the above operations as necessary to delete remaining spam messages. Done this way dealing with a very large number of messages becomes practical.
David
David
jazz
Grafter
Posts: 240
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: email hack?

Thank you David - that's a great help!
Not applicable

Re: email hack?

Suppose that in the short term, turning catchall off would be helpful and then you'll have to give a bit of thought to setting up aliases for the various addresses that you have (hope it's not too many).
I know that PN are not that keen on changing username, and as I understand it this cannot be done if using Homephone.
Would changing to a domain name be a way forward?  Then it would be a fresh start and you can use the alias function from the outset. Hope that it settles down.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,718
Thanks: 931
Fixes: 10
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: email hack?

I'd like to know if you've taken up the offer that Bob PM'd to you and if so how you got on with it (I suggested it to him).
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
jazz
Grafter
Posts: 240
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: email hack?

@poppy.  I might turn catchall off if the problem continues too long but I have a lot of "other" addresses and I'm not sure I could remember them all.  I'm also considering configuring Thunderbird to filter out all mail delivery reports if necessary
@jelv  Thanks for your suggestion. Bob did PM me but I've decided not to take the offer up at the moment because I'm not really very technically minded to deal with Beta systems and so I'll use spraxyt's guidance on increasing webmail page size to speed deletions. I hope that the problem is temporary but If it continues then I will get back to Bob and ask to take up the offer.
Yesterday I had 2,000 bounced mails but last night I only had 24 which seem to be the left overs from the initial storm.  I hope that the problem may now pass over (fingers crossed!).  I also hope that I don't find my username and legitimate email blacklisted by ISPs everywhere because of this abuse of the system by spammers!
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,718
Thanks: 931
Fixes: 10
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: email hack?

I have a lot of "other" email addresses as well. Here's how I handle it:
Create a new mailbox using a name that you never use as an actual email address (e.g. mymailbox)
Set up your mail client to collect mail from that mailbox as well as the catchall.
Now create aliases of that mailbox for all the "other" email addresses. As you find emails in the catchall for addresses you've forgotten you can add them as aliases so that next time they get collected.
Once you are happy (probably after a few months) you have them all, you could turn off the catchall.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)