Customers Blamed for Virgin Media Spoofed Emails

Virgin Media clients have been complaining about a rise the in the number of spam emails since September 2015, with many targeted by spoofed emails. However, a statement recently issued by Virgin Media claims that the spoofed emails are not the fault of a data breach according.

Customers first began registering spam and spoofed emails in September 2015, just after Virgin Media moved from Google to its own platform. The issue seems to be affecting customers with blueyonder and ntlworld email accounts.

The Virgin Media spoofed emails suggest the company has suffered a data breach and hackers are in possession of email accounts and customer contact details. Virgin Media has denied it has been hit by a data breach, although the ISP has recognised that some its users are being targeted by spammers and that it is conscious of a “spoofed email message problem.”

Virgin Media are claiming that the increase in email spam is due to the change of platform. The ISP manages its own spam filters are not as effective as those used by Google, hence the surge in email spam since the switch of platform.

While this is believable and would explain the rise in email spam, it does not adequately account for the Virgin Media spoofed emails. Customers have reported that a number of their address book contacts have received spoofed messages which would seem to have been sent from their email accounts.

Some of the impacted customers allege that the spoofing occurs in waves every 3 to 4 weeks. Emails are shared to five address book contacts at a time. Those emails include a link to a malicious website which is used to install malware to the users’ computers. The victim is aware of the spoofing as they often receive bounce-backs from undeliverable spam messages.

The lack of an acceptable answer and a solution to stop the Virgin Media spoofed emails from being shared has led a number of customers to take to social media sites to complain and share details of their suffering. A Facebook group has been set up specifically for this purpose. Around 70 customers have shared their experiences on the Facebook group to date.

Customers complaining in relation to the email spoofing to Virgin Media are being advised that the message storm problem is due to customers, not a data breach. Customers are not happy with this explanation, with many claiming the issue cannot be local. Many bounce backs are generated as the email addresses are no longer in use, whereas the address books on local computers are not. The issue is therefore with the email address books stored on Virgin Media databases.

Unhappy Virgin Media customers have now taken their complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which is investigating the complaints.

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Elizabeth Hernandez

Elizabeth Hernandez is a news writer on Defensorum. Elizabeth is an experienced journalist who has worked on many publications for several years. Elizabeth writers about compliance and the related areas of IT security breaches. Elizabeth's has focus on data privacy and secure handling of personal information. Elizabeth has a postgraduate degree in journalism. Elizabeth Hernandez is the editor of HIPAAZone.