Term: spoof

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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