Auto Assembly Spam Attack – Update #3

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Hi everyone,

We just want to bring you another short update on the spam emails that many of you have been receiving over the last few days that have given the impression that they have come from us here at Auto Assembly. While our team is still working away vigilantly to take whatever steps we can to reduce the impact these have on all of you, we wanted to let you know how things are progressing from this end.

  1. Viruses – As you know we asked all of you to run full virus scans of your own systems if you were a recipient of one of these spoof emails. Naturally, we have also done this ourselves with the system our emails are stored on and after a thorough scan of almost 3 million files lasting 24 hours, our system is clean and was 100% virus free.
  2. Email Addresses – we appreciate that many of you are concerned about your details being shared with others Auto Assembly attendees. We have been able to confirm that unfortunately while these emails have been sent out in bulk and email addresses have been included openly, each has only been circulated to a small group limiting distribution of your details.
  3. Current Attacks and Expected Duration – as we have said before the current attacks seem to be coming from well outside of the UK using bulk mailing software and using the Auto Assembly email address as a “fake” return address. Without having direct access to the server sending these emails we can’t currently block these, what we do know is that these email attacks generally only last for a short period of time until the email list is exhausted before the attackers move on to the next mailing list that they have appropriated. While we appreciate that this doesn’t offer an immediate solution what it does mean is that very shortly we expect these emails to stop almost completely before unfortunately another list will be targeted.
  4. Future Attacks – we have been in talks with our ISP regarding long-term security. Not only have we strengthened security our end regarding our email account generally to prevent attacks from other sources, but we are also attempting to tighten up future controls regarding bulk mail from our account. We already have clearance from our ISP for bulk mailing because of the convention but we are now revalidating this process and adding additional safety measures to this to ensure that unauthorised ISPs can be blocked that attempt to use our account for bulk mail.
  5. Confirmation Emails – we are still placing a temporary hold on sending confirmation emails and other mail to attendees from us here at Auto Assembly. We don’t anticipate these spam attacks to continue for more than a few more days and at that point we we lift this ban and resume normal service. Please keep checking this site, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr for updates.
  6. Hotel Bookings – for those of you who have booked for the convention recently or who are planning on doing so, please remember that the link for booking accommodation at the Hilton is provided just after the checkout stage when purchasing tickets for Auto Assembly 2014 as part of the “thankyou” page. If you no longer have this link or are awaiting your confirmation email, please be assured that the Hilton still has rooms available at the convention rate so you will still be able to book your rooms once normal email service resumes.
  7. Financial Information – while we have stated this before, please rest assured that Auto Assembly does not store anyone’s financial details on record. All our transactions are handled via PayPal and as such we see no details of your credit or debit cards when we receive details of your ticket bookings for the convention.

We will bring you all another update as soon as we have it but all being well this will be resolved shortly and we will email everyone directly with another convention update and resume despatch of confirmation emails.

Simon Plumbe
Auto Assembly Committee Head

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