Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Hackers are hacking Hotmail accounts, placing ads, and then letting you regain access. Thereafter you're sending ads for them. We'll fix that.

My hotmail account was hacked after I opened an email claiming to be from the hotmail support team. I sent a reply and the next day my account was hacked. I changed my password and I have had no more problems. Unfortunately whenever I send a new email I must delete the following message:

~hey dude. I find a place for iPhone, blackberry 9700, SONY, Laptop even HONDA Motorcycle, price incredible low as wholesale & retail business. All are original quality with international warranty. If you like you can have a look : www.[removed].com
E-mail : [removed]
MSN: [removed]

How do I get rid of that?

This is a new twist on account compromise that's come up a lot in recent months. In short, hackers access your account, fiddle with it, and then let you recover it.

The "fiddle with it", of course, is adding that horribly written junk at the end of every message you send thereafter.

Fortunately, this one's not rocket science. They're relying on your not knowing about a fairly simple feature in Hotmail.

So, it's time to learn...

Like many email programs, Hotmail has a feature called a "Personal e-mail signature". The specific term may vary from program to program, but it works like this: you configure some text in Hotmail and that text is automatically pre-loaded into your message when you compose a new message.

Sound familiar?

The idea is that you would place your email "signature" in it - the text you might want to include at the bottom of every message you send.

For example, one signature I use at the bottom of some emails is this:

Thanks for asking,

Leo Notenboom
----------------------------------------------------------
Tech Questions? Get Answers:            http://ask-leo.com
Get the newsletter:          http://newsletter.ask-leo.com
Really helpful?                    http://buyleoalatte.com

That way I don't have to re-type that every time. If I were using Hotmail and had that as my "Personal e-mail signature", then I would simply start typing my message above it. When done, I'd press Send and the message would get sent with the signature included.

So, clearly, someone's been messing with your signature.

Let's fix that.

Login to Windows Live Hotmail, and click on the Options:

Windows Live Hotmail Options link

Then click on More options:

Windows Live Hotmail More options link

On the resulting Hotmail Options page click the link Personal e-mail signature:

Windows Live Hotmail options page, highlighting signature link

This will bring you to a form in which you can edit your email signature (I've filled one in as an example):

Windows Live Hotmail Signature Editing Page

I'm guessing there's already stuff in it.

Delete the content (or change it to something you want) and then press Save.

One more thing...

You're Not Done

If all you did after having your account hacked was to change your password, then you did not do enough. Additional information may have been changed in your account that would allow the hacker to regain access at will. Go read Is changing my password enough?, and follow the recommendations therein as well.

Article C4270 - April 10, 2010 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

3 Comments
Michael Dawson
April 13, 2010 10:54 AM

I access my e-mail with a client. I got one of these e-mails and somehow my Hotmail got hacked. I wonder how it can be so easy for them to hack accounts with only the knowledge that it is an active account. Admittedly I had a very weak password until I changed it...

I think you answered your own question: weak passwords.
Leo
17-Apr-2010

William
April 13, 2010 1:17 PM

I find it hard to understand why anyone even uses hotmail. Many better mail servers available.

Karine
April 13, 2010 7:22 PM

The best I ever did for my computer safety was to subscribe to Spyware doctor. I used several other programs over the years and I must say Spyware doctor is by far the best. It does save one money in the long run. It does not matter which ISP one uses these hackers find ways to access accounts. About a week ago - a screen popped up asking me to participate in a survey.. Well I was curious how well Spyware Doctors performance would work on this one. Sure enough a warning screen ame up telling me that the survey would be blocked because it contained spyware.. I love to feel safe when using my computer and the Spyware Doctor does the job. I have been a customer with them for about 18 months now.
I love Leo's answers, most helpful site I've seen in a long while.

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.