Computer Security & Viruses/Email Hacked/Spoofed?


Hi, thanks for being available.  I use Yahoo email & have never had a problem for many years.  Every month or so, I come across a great story I copy & edit from the news or other source - just the text.  I then email it to my friends.  I do not have a contact list set up in Yahoo.  I have addresses in an Excel file that I copy&paste into the "to" box.

I did this Monday.  Then on Thur morn (early 2-3am) I started getting undeliverable returns, most from people I did not email this time, but have done so in the past, some many years ago.  From the details, the spam was sent with no subject, & in the body, it had my full name & a link underneath.  I got a reply from 1 of my friends, who apparently opened the link.  From his brief response, it was a diet ad with a before & after pictures, so hopefully it was not a virus?

I am very careful not to click on spam sent to me, & do not go to suspicious websites.  I have Avast, & I use Spybot Search & Destroy every couple of months.  I have a Dell D610, kinda old, but still works fine.  It has Windows XP.  I have Cox internet, if any of this makes a difference.  I also changed my password to a tougher 1.

So I guess you can help me by answering my burning questions:

1 - How did this happen?
2 - Did these scumbags figure out my password?
3 - Was I hacked or just spoofed?
4 - What should I do to clean up the damage, if any?
5 - How do I explain this to my friends? (hopefully they still are)

Hopefully I gave you enough info & explained it well.  Thanks.

1 - How did this happen?
Too many possibilities to list. Vulnerabilities in Excel, exploits, a virus...

2 - Did these scumbags figure out my password?
Can't guarantee it wasn't compromised, but if you can change your password and make it very strong, it's not likely. and other links on can help you do that.
(Password tools on

3 - Was I hacked or just spoofed?
Can't tell without having the results for anti-virus and anti-spyware scans. I would also suggest you add one or more additional scanning, detection and removal tools (like Malwarebytes, Superantispyware but there are other reputable ones as well) free for personal use editions are fine. There are several excellent review sites, but here are two to start with:

4 - What should I do to clean up the damage, if any? (Answer 3)
Note: You can remove threats from your system and close security holes, but can't change the reality that your compromised addresses are being used by others. You could report the emails but you'd have to provide full headers to the ISP(s) - who may or may not be able to identify and catch them (but wouldn't likely inform you regardless).

5 - How do I explain this to my friends? (hopefully they still are)
Suggest that they make sure their Firewall application is up to date and working properly.
Suggest they run a full system scan (anti-virus and antispyware). Please be aware that those who clicked and opened attachments may have downloaded malware. Therefore, they really need to check for viruses, trojans, botnets and all other forms of malware asap.

Computer Security & Viruses

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James Filmer


Viruses, Spam, hacking, Rootkits, Trojans, Keyloggers, all other forms of Malware, Internet access problems, slow systems, application and system instability, network abuse, Firewalls, layered security configurations, system maintenance support and general troubleshooting.


System, network and website administrator



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