Can downloading Adobe Reader attract spam?

January 5th, 2012 Paul Wallbank Posted in email, security, spam 1 Comment »

I’m an infrequent, inexperienced and incompetent computer user.

First PC late 2006; first 2-3 years of use, no problem with spam –  received almost nothing at all. Against better judgement, downloaded a free office WP package. Some time after started to receive quite a lot of spam. Eventually I connected it to the ‘free’ download, figured out how to remove software and  spam ceased.

After several years of ignoring invitations to download the latest Adobe update, decided should take advantage of all my computer has to offer and hit the ‘download now’ button for Adobe.  Now I receive masses of spam (several a day) offering ‘to enlarge my penis’, continuing for several weeks; this has recently changed to offerings of ‘bonus wins’ – none of which I open or delete.

Do I have to remove Adobe to get this to stop?

Cheers for the New Year.

Thanks for the new year greeting.

Unfortunately removing Adobe isn’t going to fix the spam problem. What’s happened is your email address has somehow found its way onto the spammer list, possibly through the free software you downloaded.

All you can really do about this sort of spam now is to make sure you have a good spam filter on your email program. If you’re using a web based service like Gmail or Yahoo! Mail they should deal with it automatically. Programs like Microsoft Outlook need the feature turned on.

If you let us know which email program you’re using in the comments section below, we can give you the instructions on enabling the spam checker for your service.

Updating Adobe is really important as they have had a lot of security problems in recent  times, so don’t hesitate with installing any legitimate upgrades.

Windows Live Mail Junk folders not working

August 8th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in email, spam, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP No Comments »

Since upgrading to Windows Live Essentials 2011, no spam is going into my Junk Mail folder. How can I stop the rubbish appearing in my inbox.

One of the delights of having a decent junk mail filter is you never see the dozens of pointless emails that arrive in your inbox each day. So when an update damages your spam filter it’s a real irritation.

The repair for this is actually quite straightforward, go to the Control Panel and select Programs in Windows 7 or Vista or Add/Remove Programs in Windows XP , click on Live Mail Essentials 2011 and select Uninstall/Change.

In the wizard that then starts select Repair all Windows Live Essentials Programs, the repair may take some hours and require a working Internet connection.

Once it’s finished, you’ll be asked to reboot the computer and the problem should be fixed after the restart.

Do I need to upgrade Adobe PDF reader?

November 21st, 2010 Paul Wallbank Posted in software, spam 1 Comment »

I received an email from Adobe asking if I wanted to upgrade to Adobe Acrobat 2010 at a cost of US $12.97 a year for 3 years. As I took this to mean that if I didn’t do this, it would mean that in the future, I couldn’t use this facility for downloads, reading files  etc. Am I correct, as I was under the impression that updates were free.Can you clarify this for me please?

This email, usually claiming to come from “Adobe PDF Support”, is a scam and you should just delete any email from them or mark it as spam.

Adobe products have their own update program which will usually tell you when an update is needed, if you are in doubt you can visit their website for the latest versions.

Should you choose not to update Abode Reader, the program that reads PDF files, then you’ll still be able to read the files but you might not have access to some features (which most people don’t use anyway).

Messages like this you should just ignore.

Can my browser send out spam?

October 16th, 2009 Paul Wallbank Posted in security, spam No Comments »

I am running windows XP business on a network @ work thru a server environment. Recently we experienced a problem with the server sending out spam, and I was told that my work station may have been the problem because I had several web sites that I was on and left open overnight. My question is that a problem? I have done this for years.

The short answer is “no” and this sounds like either a misunderstanding or a tech who is making up stories.

While it is possible to get a malware infection from an open browser window, having a web page open all night makes no difference one way or another.

If your network is sending out spam then one of your computers is infected with malware. If it’s the server then you have a serious problem.

You’ll need to engage a competent technician to audit your network, determine exactly where the spam is coming from and remove any virus infections.

It is good practice though to turn your computer off at night, if only to save money, reduce your energy consumption and minimise your carbon footprint.

Dealing with spam returns

May 20th, 2009 Paul Wallbank Posted in email, spam No Comments »

I have a problem with spammers using my domain name to send out their spam. They must forge the “From” address so that the spam looks like it comes from my domain, when it could in fact be coming from any PC in the world. In many cases, the “From” address that the spammer uses isn’t quite right anyway, eg. instead of, it might be

The problems are:

1) My domain sometimes gets blacklisted which makes it impossible for me to send my own email to my own customers

2) I get the occasional complaint from people who think I’ve actually sent them the spam

3) And most annoyingly, my inbox is frequently full of literally hundreds of  ”Postmaster” auto-responses, because many (possibly most) of the email addresses that the spammer sends to are not legitimate addresses, but because my domain is in the “From” or “Reply To” field,  I’m the bunny who ends up with all the automated “Your email could not be delivered” errors!

This seems to happen in waves – it won’t happen for ages, and then I will be bombarded for a couple of days by this nuisance.

Is there any way of preventing this from happening?

Spammers use a number of ways to avoid detection and one of them is to hijack someone else’s email address or domain as the return address. 

The frustrating thing is there’s little you can do about the problem and it is a really irritating problem that affects many people who own domains.

One thing you should check is how your website is hosted. Spam checkers shouldn’t disqualify your address because of this and it sounds like you are using shared hosting where the provider isn’t doing all they can to discourage spammers from using their service.

You may find changing hosting services will fix the blacklist problem

My inbox is full of undeliverable mail messages

December 7th, 2008 Paul Wallbank Posted in spam No Comments »

I am getting large amounts of email that purports to be responses from me sending out spam which I didn’t send.  

Do you have any service or program I can use to cleanse my system as I suspect there may be a hidden program using my computer to send out spam. I do have Mcafee and its up to date but always says I’m virus free.

You almost certainly aren’t infected with a virus. What’s happening is somebody else’s computer is and it is sending out spam email with your email as the return address.

The only real way to block this is to set up an email rule that automatically bins unwanted messagesbut the downside with that is you won’t be told when a legitimate email isn’t delivered.

Generally the best advice is to simply live with it and delete the rubbish as it arrives. Usually we find this problem passes after a while.

How to get rid of Viagra spam

December 31st, 2007 Paul Wallbank Posted in spam 2 Comments »

We keep getting emails trying to sell us Viagra and also many wanting us to establish personal contact with the sender.
I have checked and discovered that it is useless trying to prevent them by entering the sender’s name on a “banned” list, because every sender uses a different “home” name every time.
Is there any way we can stop this useless lot of emails – we are both in our late 70′s and need Viagra like we need another hole in our heads.

To be quite honest I don’t think anyone needs the sort of quantities of Viagra these people try to sell.

Spam is a boring, tiresome thing which irritates many computer users. The problem is the spammers are pretty good at getting around most barriers. Once you’re on their lists, it can be pretty hard to get off.

The first defense is to turn on spam filtering on your computer. Most email programs have a built in spam checker. The exception to this is Outlook Express, the built in email program of Windows XP.

You aren’t limited to the built in spam checkers, there are many free and paid for spam filters your can add to your computer. One of our old favourites is Mailwasher which comes in both free and paid for versions.

The next step is to ask your ISP about spam filtering. Many will have a free service while others may charge an additional few dollars a month. Give them a call and ask.

In the extreme, you may want to consider getting another email account. Your ISP will offer multiple email addresses, again some are free while others charge. Or you could get a free email account through Gmail, Yahoo!or Hotmail, although some of these services have their own spam problems.

We have further details on spam avoidance on our PC Rescue website. Our experience is that you usually have to use a combination of tools to keep the spam levels down. Try experimenting with them to see what works for you.