To spoof something is to falsify or otherwise fake information.

The most common use of the term of late is with respect to email. Specifically, the sender of an email – the information that appears in the “From:” line – is easily (and therefore frequently) falsified by spammers. This is known as “From: spoofing”.

As a result, an email’s “From:” line can be:

  • Correct: the email is from the source indicated
  • Intentionally misleading: in an attempt to fool the recipient into opening the email or acting on its contents, the “From:” line may be spoofed to make it appear that the email came from a contact or other trusted source, when in fact it did not.
  • Intentionally random: in an attempt to hide the true source of the email, the “From:” line may indicate a random source that, in fact, had nothing to do with the email.

Spoofing is, of course, not limited to email, or email “From:” information. Various aspects of almost any information can be spoofed for various reasons and with varying degrees of success.

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