What is a Spam Attack?

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This FAQ refers to the spam attack of September-October 2018.

In recent weeks, Hornet has been the target of a sophisticated and co-ordinated spam attack. You have probably received messages in your chat inbox with links to other websites. The most common link has been to a site called “boysfinder”.

We want to make it very clear that these messages are not from Hornet. They are not authorized by Hornet.

What is a spam attack?

A spam attack is when an unauthorized organization uses an app to send many thousands of messages to the users of that app. This is done through setting up fake profiles and messaging from that and also hacking into genuine profiles and sending messages from that. These attacks can be large and negatively impact on the user’s enjoyment of the app.

Why am I getting so many messages which are identical?

This spam attack is the largest in Hornet’s history. It is different in that it targets all Hornet users and sends very similar messages to Hornet users, multiple times. There are slight differences in the messages, which is how the spammers have gotten around Hornet’s previous defenses. To the user, the messages appear identical.

What is Hornet doing to stop this attack and prevent other attacks?

Hornet has always had a number of defenses to prevent spam attacks. There are patterns that we can detect and follow in a spam attack and we have computer programs to do that. In this recent attack, the existing defenses did not work. Therefore, we will be bringing in a whole host of new measures. We can’t give exact details of these measures, because we don’t want the spammers to know what we are doing. However, we can advise that we will now require all newly set up accounts to have a verified email address. This is not simply a check that it is a valid email. The user will have to make a confirming action.

What can I do to help?

The first thing: do not click on any links or go to any promoted sites. These spam attacks feed on users clicking on the links. The more clicks, the more they send the spam messages. If there were no clicks, the spam attack would be pointless and would stop.

Ignore any spam messages that you get, or, report them to Hornet using the “report this guy” function. Choose the category “Commercial Ad”.

It is also very important that you choose a very strong password for your login. A strong password will contain upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols, all in a random order. Examples of strong passwords are (do not use these!):

1. {7!Qb_8$LS8e7@AiX22%
2. JpL9$6xjujB[qsVt

If you would find it difficult to remember passwords like this, you can use a password manager. These are readily available online and are often free to use.

When will Hornet fix this current spam attack?

It is difficult to give an exact time. However, we can promise you that we are working around the clock and with all hands on deck to fix this. We expect to see a significant reduction in the spam messages within a few days with the attack stopped soon after. As of November 2018, the Spam attack has been defeated by Hornet.

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