TechInAfrica – Spammers have found a way to trick Google Calendar into adding mischievous things to your calendar without your knowledge, and if you stumble upon these foreign things, you are not the only one.
Schedules filled with “WIN A FREE iPHONE” or “CHEAP RAYBANS HERE” look irrelevant no matter how we see it and Google notified that it’s aware of the problem and fixing the errors is now underway. As spotted by Engadget, a pinned post emerged on Google Calendar’s support forum which reads,
We’re aware of the spam occurring in Calendar and are working diligently to resolve this issue. We’ll post updates to this thread as they become available. Learn how to report and remove spam. Thank you for your patience.
To keep these spammers away, the least you can do for now is by disabling the auto-adding invites feature to your calendar, until Google figures out a better way to solve this issue.
Disable the feature by doing the following steps:
- Go to Google Calendar on your computer
- Click the cog in the upper right, then hit settings
- On the list on the left, click “Event settings”
- Look for the “Automatically add invitations” option. Change this to “No, only show invitations to which I have responded”
What has been lacking until now is a filter that sorts the incoming invites, as Google Calendar deployed an automated event addition that you’re invited to. The former purpose might be to pin it so it doesn’t get buried in your inbox, but due to the lack of filter, when a bot gets your email address instead, and spin it on an invite that passed Google’s anti-spam system, then it’s as if you’re the one doing the job.
You can remove the spam in batches by selecting the spam and click the three-dot button on the top right of the pop-up, and enter ‘Report as spam’. Best to avoid clicking URLs that come with these invites at all cost, because it could be a bunch of malicious pages, phishing sites, and others that will damage your system, as pointed out by Brian Krebs, a security researcher.