The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines spoof as “hoax, deception”. The first known use of the word was in 1889. In 1933, a hoaxing game was invented by English comedian, Arthur Roberts. Have you heard the word, spoof used lately? How was it used?
Telephone spoofing is the practice of changing your caller-id. You can change your caller-id to fool the person receiving your call. It is a great tool for telephone scammers. Change your caller-id number, how do you do that? There are applications that allow anyone to pick any number for their caller-id. Scammer’s autodialers might even pick your number for caller-id when it calls you. How did you call yourself? If caller-id indicates that you are calling yourself, it usually is from a spammer. Most of the time, scammers will pick a number that looks like a local business but in reality, the caller could be anywhere, even outside the United States.
IP spoofing is the practice of faking your IP address. This is a somewhat complicated procedure of using another computer or chain of computers as proxy or agent to hide your identity. An acquaintance used this feature to appear to be outside of the US in order to download copyrighted music. The download sites would not allow anyone from the US to download/illegally copy music but IP addresses that originate outside the US such as in eastern Europe were able to download copyrighted content.
Some people also use this spoofing to hide their identity for valid as well as illegal purposes. A person can keep their identity secret to prevent big brother from knowing their Internet searches and online purchases. Anyone engaging in illegal activities would also want to keep their identity a secret but mechanisms designed to keep someone anonymous might work when laws are broken.
Futures spoofing is the practice of creating a bunch of buy stock market stock orders and deleting the orders before execution. The increased activity will artificially drive up the price. Good time to sell! Access to fast stock information is critical to be able to engage in this activity. This practice was made illegal under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. A recent news article noted that law enforcement is starting to prosecute for this activity.
Anyone interested in doing an illegal activity should be warned. It is difficult to trace people but one law enforcement acquaintance stated that if law enforcement is motivated, they WILL determine the origin of an activity. If the crime is serious enough, the perpetrator will be identified.
A computer spoof can have serious consequences. Computer users should be aware of the tools available to hackers to prevent themselves from becoming a victim.