Knowledge Base

What Is Email Spoofing and How to Avoid It

This article will discuss the mechanics of email spoofing and outline practical strategies to protect you against these malicious attacks, ensuring your personal and professional communications remain secure.

What is Email Spoofing

Email spoofing is when the email header's "From" line is modified to something other than the actual original sender. A common symptom of someone spoofing your email address is getting tons of spam return messages (like Failure Notification or Mailer Daemon) for emails you never sent or receiving spam emails from yourself that you did not send. Generally, you will never see spoofed emails. However, if the email spoofer happens to configure his "From" header to be a real email box, the bounce-back notification will come back to your mailbox.

The way email spoofers are tracked down is from the server that is used to authenticate for originally. The server being used gets reported to ISPs, and Email Realtime Black Lists (RBLs), and the spoofing emails stop.

What Are the Different Types of Email Spoofing Attacks

Email spoofing can manifest in various forms, each designed to deceive recipients for different malicious purposes. Here are some common examples:

  1. CEO Fraud/Whaling - Attackers impersonate high-level executives or decision-makers within an organization, sending emails to employees with requests for sensitive information, wire transfers, or access to confidential systems.
  2. Phishing - This broad category involves spoofed emails pretending to be from reputable sources, such as banks or service providers, aiming to trick recipients into revealing personal information, login credentials, or financial details. Explore Bluehost's comprehensive guide on 'How To Protect Yourself From Phishing' to gain the information and tools needed to recognize and counter these tricky tactics.
  3. Business Email Compromise (BEC) - Similar to CEO fraud, BEC attacks target employees responsible for financial transactions, urging them to transfer funds to accounts controlled by the attacker under the guise of a legitimate business request.
  4. Brand Impersonation - Spoofed emails mimic well-known brands' communication styles and logos to distribute malware through attachments or links or to collect personal data under false pretenses.
  5. Tech Support Scams - These emails claim to be from tech support agents of well-known technology companies, alleging issues with the recipient’s computer or account that can only be resolved by following the attacker’s instructions, often leading to malware installation or data theft.

How to Prevent Email Spoofing

By creating an SPF record, servers will verify the user has permission to send mail from that domain using the domain's DNS.

Tip: For more information on how to set this up, please see SPF Records for Shared and Cloud Hosting. For VPS and Dedicated Server, please refer to VPS & Dedicated Hosting: DNS Management: SPF Records

Bluehost offers comprehensive email solutions, including Professional Email and Google Workspace, equipped with advanced spam filters and email authentication protocols. These solutions provide robust protection against threats like viruses, spam, and phishing attacks, ensuring your data and communications remain secure.

If you need further assistance, feel free to contact us via Chat or Phone:

  • Chat Support - While on our website, you should see a CHAT bubble in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. Click anywhere on the bubble to begin a chat session.
  • Phone Support -
    • US: 888-401-4678
    • International: +1 801-765-9400

You may also refer to our Knowledge Base articles to help answer common questions and guide you through various setup, configuration, and troubleshooting steps.

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