E-mail account hacked

Scammers cracked Val’s Gmail account yesterday, and sent mail to several (possibly all) people in her address book begging for money and saying she was stranded in Scotland.

This has happened to several other people I know, and I doubt that anyone we know would fall for this scam, but here’s a warning just in case. Most of the scam letters sent out seem to say that the owner of the e-mail account is stranded there, so perhaps the scammers are themselves based there.


Here is an update, posted on 19 June 2010. It illustrates what I was talking about in the previous message about “identity theft”. In this case the “phisher” was personating Google.
Val’s gmail account was hijacked a couple of days ago by someone on a phishing expedition using the e-mail address


and was apparently using this Gmail address:

fvgoogglequaltycontrolpanel@gmail.com (note the gg in googgle)

He sent an e-mail, ostensibly from Gmail itself, asking for name and
password details:

=== quoted phishing message ====
From: Google Quality Control Panel
Date: Sun, Jun 13, 2010 at 10:29 AM Subject: Warning: from Google Quality
Control Team To:

Our Google Data network has encountered a problem due to suspicious and malicious activities. Therefore Gmail Control Team want to verify your domain details with the details on our system. Please help us with the verification process by filling out the details below so as to make a correspondence with the your details. Full Name-
Phone Number-

Thanks for using Gmail.

– The Gmail Team. –>

=== end of quoted phishing message ===

If you get a message like this, do not reply to it, but click on the arrow next to the “reply” button and select “Report phishing” and send it there.

I am sending this to all the people in my address book who have G-mail addresses. If you were in Val’s address book as well you have probably already received some spam my now.

Val’s account has now been restored, BUT the phisher also redirected all incoming mail to his account, and deleted it from Val’s G-mail account, so she’s now going through the Trash folder to restore the mail.

Also, her address book was empty, which probably means that they have the contacts list, so Val’s contacts will probably continue to receive spam.

See also the previous message on identity theft and family history.

Message forum and guest book – gatvol

As you know, there is a message forum and a guest book that you can use for introductory messages and things that aren’t in reply to any particular blog posting.

Here are the usage statistics for your message forum service for 2007. Usage Statistics

Every time a message is posted in either the guest book or message forum I get a notification by e-mail and get all excited, thinking there’s a cousin with new news about the family, or even a new cousin that I hadn’t known about before, but 90% of the time it turns out to be some clown trying to advertise cheap cigarettes or steroids or something, and so most of the messages have to be deleted.

The statistics shown above are from before I deleted the last junk message — they now show no messages for March and April, though in fact there were about 10, all of which I had to delete.

The message forum was also for comments on my regular web pages, apart from the blogs, but no one really seems to be using them.

And now I’m gatvol. For those who don’t know, “gatvol” is a South African idiom. It literally means “hole full”, and is roughly equivalent to “up to here” in other English dialects.

If there was a significant proportion of genuine messages to all the spam it might be worth it, but since genuine messages are getting rarer and rarer I might close the message book and guest book altogether to save me the hassle of going in to delete the junk. The trouble is, that means that the useful messages that are already there will be lost as well. But it doesn’t seem as though anyone will miss them. I don’t know why the spammers bother, since hardly anyone reads these things anyway.

Comments? Will anyone miss the message forum or the guest book?

Running out of bandwidth

For the last couple of days we have had no internet access, because we have used up our 2 Gig limit.

This means that we cannot use e-mail or any other services for one week out of four, and so if anyone wonders why we haven’t responded to e-mails etc, that is why.

There seems to be an idea the “broadband” means unlimited access, and so people scoff at complaints about sending e-mails with HTML codes that take up ten times the space of the message text, and things like that. I’ve never looked at YouTube videos that people put in ther blogs, or refer to in e-mails, and newsgroup postings, and we still run out of bandwidth.

Of course part of it is spam, but the fact is that bandwidth is not unlimited, even in these days of high-speed connections.