The Yacht Technology Blog

Are Email Spoofers Invading Your Vessel Computers?

Posted by Amy Levy on Feb 5, 2014 12:58:00 PM


yacht_computersIs it just me, or does it seem that we are all suddenly very vulnerable online? Maybe my feelings of dread stem from recent news reports involving privacy and credit card security breaches. I just know that lately, I’m thinking twice before using my credit card or giving up any information about myself online.


But I’m also not willing to become a Luddite, ditch the computer, and switch to living a cash-only life off the grid (What, no No Netflix???).


My friend, Doug Greenwood, recently started a Facebook page called North Tahoe Computer Coalition, where he has been posting ideas on how to keep our collective information safe, and other food for thought for yacht computer users. In a February 1, 2014 post about why he started the page, Doug says, “There are too many vulnerabilities out there on the Internet and as I see them trying to attack me personally, or if I hear about security breaches, I will post them for others to watch out!


Doug_Greenwood_computer_programmerDoug may sound a bit paranoid, but he’s actually a very savvy computer programmer who knows what can be done with your information if it gets into the wrong hands. And he wants to share his concerns with the rest of us, possibly saving some of us a lot of trouble in the future.


Doug’s February 2 post talks about email spoofing. That’s when someone sends a fake email with a forged sender address. And I'm passing this information on because it could affect your vessel email addresses and invade your yacht computers.


Here’s how Doug describes email spoofing: “You think an old friend or your mother in law just sent you an email for the first time in 10 years! That is fantastic! So you open the email and click on the link in the email message. Then, bang! You are hacked.”


Most people think if they get an email from an address they know, the email is safe to open and all links within it are legit. But these emails are actually sent by Malware like Klez and Sober from computers that have been infected. They often have a weird, cryptic message written in a style that a real sender would not use, along with a clickable link. DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK!


“Klez and Sober will search for email addresses within the computer they have infected,” Doug says. “Once the virus grabs hold of the address book, it's over. Those addresses will then be used as targets for email spamming.


Email spoofing is so effective because the “From” field in the email you receive has a familiar address. You open it, thinking it’s from someone you know, not an email-spoofing piece of Malware."


Wikipedia's Email Spoofing page describes a slightly more complicated schenario:

Alice is sent an infected email and then the email is opened, triggering propagation.

The worm finds the addresses of Bob and Charlie within Alice's address book.

From Alice's computer, the worm sends an infected email to Bob, but forged to appear to have been sent by Charlie.

In this case, even if Bob's system detects the incoming mail as containing malware, he sees the source as being Charlie - while Alice remains unaware of the actual infection.


Ultimately, it's up to you, the computer user, to block malware from entering your yacht computer system via email spoofing. As Doug Greenwood advises, "When you see an email sent from your old friend in upstate New York that you haven't spoken with for 25 years, think a bit about the reality of that person *really* sending you an email.”


And instead of opening it, look the person up and message him using Facebook or LinkedIn. You'll be glad you did!


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Topics: vessel email, yacht computers

JD_Crawford_head_shotDarren and the GCS team have been instrumental in the development and deployment of several carrier grade IT networks for large scale, Savant-based super-yacht projects where the technology infrastructure needed to be extremely reliable. 


The capabilities of the GCS team have proven instrumental in helping us deliver a world class technology experience to some of the most prestigious yachts in the world.


J.D. Crawford of Savant Systems


I have been working with Great Circle Systems since 2006 when they did the installation of all our networking and Internet communications equipment on our boat being built in Germany.


The equipment they recommended and installed was exactly as we required.  We have had extremely good results with all of their equipment and it has performed as they had advised.


I would highly recommend them to all fellow captains.


Captain Keith T. Moore of M/Y Lady Sheridan

CE_W_Michael_Hummel_of_MY_TVTriton Administrator has proven to be the perfect tool for us on M/Y TV, which is a 78 meter Luerssen yacht.


Triton has comprehensive essential features plus any additional features one can possibly need. It is still easy to use and has a swift support team to implement customer-specific wishes, such as individual day logs, etc.


W. Michael Hummel, Chief Engineer of M/Y TV


Captain Bruno Herregods talks about Great Circle Systems tech support. 

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