Virgin Media customers have been complaining about an increase in spam emails since September last year, with many targeted with spoofed emails; however, the Virgin Media spoofed emails are not the result of a data breach according to a statement recently issued by the ISP.
Virgin Media Spoofed Emails Not the Result of a Data Breach
Customers first started to receive spam and spoofed emails in September last year, shortly after Virgin Media moved from Google to its own platform. The problem appears to be affecting individuals with blueyonder and ntlworld email accounts.
The Virgin Media spoofed emails indicate the company has suffered a data breach and hackers are in possession of email accounts and email address books. Virgin Media has denied it has suffered a data breach, although the ISP has acknowledged that some its users are being targeted by spammers and that it is aware of a “spoofed email message problem.”
Virgin Media are claiming that the increase in email spam is a consequence of the change of platform. The ISP maintains its own spam filters are not as effective as those used by Google, hence the increase in email spam since the switch of platform.
While this is plausible and would explain the increase in email spam, it does not adequately explain the Virgin Media spoofed emails. Customers have reported that a number of their address book contacts have received spoofed messages which would appear to have been sent from their email accounts.
Some of the affected customers claim that the spoofing occurs in waves every 3 to 4 weeks. Emails are sent to five address book contacts at a time. Those emails contain a link to a malicious website which is used to download malware to the users’ computers. The victim is aware of the spoofing as they often receive bounce-backs from undeliverable messages.
Customers Blamed for Virgin Media Spoofed Emails
The lack of a reasonable answer and a solution to stop the Virgin Media spoofed emails from being sent has led a number of customers to take to social media sites to vent their spleens and share details of their experiences. A Facebook group has been set up for this purpose. Around 70 customers have come forward and shared their experiences on the Facebook group so far.
Customers complaining about the email spoofing to Virgin Media are being informed that the message storm problem is due to customers, not a data breach. Customers disagree, with many claiming the problem cannot be local. Many bounce backs are generated as the email addresses are out of date, whereas the address books on local computers are not. The problem is therefore with the email address books stored on Virgin Media servers.
Disgruntled customers unhappy with the response they have received from Virgin Media have now complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which is looking into the issue.