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In some cases, the malware writer wants to spread emails that contain a phishing site. Spam viruses have two parts. The first part infects your computer, and the second part grabs a list of contacts and emails them a link to the hacker’s phishing page. Because the email comes from a trusted source, your recipients are more likely to open the email and enter information. The hacker relies on the trust factor you have with your email contact list.
These viruses work in the background, so there aren’t many signs that your computer is infected. The biggest red flag is in your email. The virus chooses contact addresses randomly, so old contacts might not be valid anymore. When the virus attempts to contact old email addresses, you receive an error message in your inbox that says the message delivery failed. Usually, these error messages display the email message sent by the hacker. If you don’t recognize the message, you know that your computer is infected. These error messages are also useful when your email account is hacked. Hackers randomly target recipient emails that no longer function, so you receive bounce-backs that alert you to a hacker or malware running on your computer.