Family Safety

The “Unsubscribe” Trap

By on Apr 25, 2011

 The Internet has become a wonderful supermarket. Everything is on offer at unbelievably low rates and with a few extras and freebies thrown in. Starting from mundane household items, electronic goods, games and holidays to used goods and even houses are all available at a click. Think what this means for children. They do not have to make up lame stories to go to the market to hunt for what they want. They can get exactly what they want right from home, and often without their parents’ knowledge. But what worries me more is that this is a new technique that hackers are using to breach your data.

Let me share with you my own experience. Over the last few months, I have been receiving mails from an online shopping portal that has on sale innumerable articles at highly discounted rates. There were bouquets for my beloved (to woo my Valentine and make him fall in love with me all over again); teddies (sure way to win a girl’s heart); cakes for all occasions (starting from INR 450/- for a pound cake), anniversary gifts, holiday homes on rent and what not!

Initially, I did not pay any attention. I thought it best to ignore the mail as spam. But when the frequency of mails increased, I decided to unsubscribe from the site and be free of the nuisance.

It was providence that saved me from being the victim of a probable hacking operation, as I found out at the nick of time that this is a new technique used by spammers to harvest e-mail ids. And immediately decided to share it with you.

How does it happen? Well, once you click on the unsubscribe option, or for that matter on any other link on the page, you will be asked for your e-mail id and password. You would think that’s it, you are safely unsubscribed, but unbeknownst to you, a spammer has captured your e-mail details. You have just lost your login id and password!

Time for Cybermum India to jump into the crime scene and whisk away potential victims to safety:

 Do not unsubscribe from a site that you had not subscribed to in the first place

 Do not click on links included in spam mails

 Never open any attachments that come with Spam mail

 Try not to respond to chain mails, even those sent by friends

 Do not open e-mails from unknown sources

 Ensure that your PC security can identify Spam and send them to junk folder

 If by any chance, you have unsubscribed from such a Spam mail, or provided your login details to open any link, immediately change your login id and password to protect your data and privacy. Do not leave it for later

Also readers, why don’t you take this opportunity to recheck your PC security and ensure you have family protection software installed? As the saying goes, a stitch in time, saves nine.

Stay safe while on the net. Happy surfing!!