SPAM and phishing emails make their way into our inboxes every day. Spam emails are annoying and generally unsolicited. Mostly benign, they can be compared to the snail mail that clutters our home mailboxes. We get offers from windows and siding companies, deals on cars, offers on prescription drug plans and weight loss programs. Phishing is a malicious activity that targets the user in an attempt to spread malware, steal personal information, or obtain a monetary reward. We have some defenses in place to protect us. There is anti-spam filtering and phishing education.
What should you do with these emails that are delivered to you? Did you realize that you can report these? Many email systems have a reporting mechanism in place. Google’s gmail has a drop down menu in the upper right corner of the email where you can report spam or phishing. After reporting the offending message feel free to delete it. Other systems will have a similar reporting mechanism.
Reporting such messages help the developers to further analyze and define signatures associated with them. This can assist in preventing spam and phishing emails from ever reaching your inbox.
When you receive a phishing email you can also go a step further and file a complaint with the IP address where the message originated. You will need to take a couple of more steps to identify what that might be. Again, you can use the drop down in gmail and choose “Show original.’ This will give you the header information that shows all of the hops the message has taken before making it to you. You will want to look at the ‘Received: from’ right before the To:, From: and Subject line begins.
dmarc=pass (p=REJECT sp=REJECT dis=NONE) header.from=members.wayfair.com Return-Path: <email@example.com>
Received: from sv15.members.wayfair.com (sv15.members.wayfair.com. [188.8.131.52])
To find the owner of the IP address you can go to an IP address lookup site such as https://www.ip-address.org/tracer/ip-whois.php
This will give you information on the owner of the IP and an email address where you can report the abuse. You can further report abuse to spamcop.net by opening a free account and paste in the entire header to report the abuse.
As a MOREnet member you can also submit suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will analyze and report back to you about the offending message.