Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Just say no to bogus Messenger invitations

  1. #1

    Just say no to bogus Messenger invitations

    Windows Live Messenger is both a powerful and fun communications tool for staying in touch with your friends, family and co-workers.  It is a semi-enclosed environment where you can freely interact with the people you know and trust – the people in your network. Unfortunately, over the last couple of months, we've been monitoring an increase in spammers and malware distributors trying to work their way into our customers’ networks of trusted Messenger contacts.

    How Messenger spam works

    First the spammer identifies potential targets.  They do this by searching for public Spaces, by acquiring lists of valid Hotmail accounts, and by trading with other spammers.  Second, the spammers set up a number of Windows Live ID accounts and use these accounts to send invitations to their potential targets.

    A typical invitation looks like this:

    If you accept a spammer's invitation, they can then download your list of friends to find new people to target, and send messages to you and your friends trying to attract you to spam, phishing, or malware websites. See my previous blog post on URL reputation to learn about the protections that SmartScreen® provides if you do end up clicking one of these links.

    We’re working on delivering several technologies to help us reduce these bogus invitations. In fact, starting this week we are deploying a number of immediate new steps to block and root out these spammers, and to limit the number of invitations they can send. 

    Don't let spammers in the door

    You can take steps to protect yourself too. One thing you can do is click the View profile link in the invitation, to try to figure out if it is from a spammer or an old friend.  Viewing the profile won’t hurt you or your computer, and it won’t add the spammer to your network, so it is always a good first step.  This is like what you might do at home, if someone came knocking at your door unexpectedly. You'd probably look through the peep hole before deciding whether or not to let them in.

    If you still don’t recognize this person, and think they really might be a spammer, then don’t answer the door -- and let us know by clicking the check boxes to block them and report them as spammers.

    Better safe than sorry

    And don’t worry about reporting abuse. Even if you accidentally report a long lost friend as a spammer, we won’t shut down anyone’s account based on one piece of feedback. In this world, it's better to be safe than sorry. You might also find these 10 tips for safe instant messaging useful.

    As with all service abuse scenarios, this is another arms race.  We know abusers are motivated, and will attempt to react every time we add new protections, but we're motivated too. We’re continually working to protect everyone on the network from these types of attacks.

    John Scarrow
    General Manager - Safety Services

    PS. If you think you may have already fallen victim to a phishing scam, check out these tools for removing malware and preventing further issues.


      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Thanks for this link! I help Family and friends and this may help explain what the "invitations" are and their dangers.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 63
    windows 7

    nice tips for this..
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Aus, Gold Coast
    Posts : 250
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Service Pack 1 (Build 6.1.7601)

    It's really stupid that people make these emails and spam things over MSN, they need to get out more.....
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Tropical Island Pair a Dice
    Posts : 3,030
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64/ Windows 7 Ult x64

    Good info,

    Same as iseeuu, try to keep friends and family stay safe from the bozos with too much time on their hands.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Good Info there, That's exactly what I've been doing with the ones I've been getting.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    Pembrokeshire, South Wales, UK
    Posts : 652
    Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 32 bit/ Windows 8.1 64 bit

    It was good information, although I don't have Messenger installed, but I've had a couple of emails like that in my Hotmail Inbox in Windows Live Mail but I just tell the program to delete and block.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Posts : 11
    Windows 7 32bit

    good to know, i hate spam messages
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9

    SomeWhere in the HOT Arizona Desert!
    Posts : 89
    Win_8 Build 7959 x64

    Very good info. Some days I will get as many as 5 of these invites with a wierd email name & NO profile. Sometimes just a few minutes apart as I deny/block & report as spam.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10

    Posts : 5,592
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1

    Nice bit of info.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Just say no to bogus Messenger invitations
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