While most of us are enjoying the new email system at Dundee Uni hosted by the nice folk at Microsoft’s Office 365, many of us are noticing something else new… the spam!
I may have a theory as to why this spam has suddenly started pushing its way through to us in loads like we have never had before. Many of us have chosen to syncronise our online Outlook account with Outlook on our PCs, it’s simple to do and it means our emails are available on our computers offline, but it’s not just syncing your emails.
If you are using Outlook on your PC right now, click the Address Book button on your toolbar, what do you see?
That’s right, the entire address book including emails of students and phone numbers of staff is synced directly onto your computer, not such a big deal right? Think again.
There are litterally thousands of people who are potentially using Microsoft Outlook to read their Dundee University emails. What happens when just one of them gets a virus?
One of the major characteristics of a virus is that it spreads itself. The most common method of doing this is through spam and if you have a virus on your computer, where’s the first place it’s going to look for people to send emails to? In Outlook’s Address book.
It just takes one person using Outlook to get a virus and thus give away every single email address of Dundee University Students and Staff. I’m not just saying it’s going to happen, I’m saying it almost certainly has happened and it’s a fair bet that somewhere out there, there’s a complete list of our email address on someone’s server ready to use for whatever they want to send us.