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Spoofing, in general, is a fraudulent or malicious practice in which communication is sent from an unknown source disguised as a source known to the receiver. Spoofing is most prevalent in communication mechanisms that lack a high level of security.
Email spoofing is one of the best known spoofs. Since core SMTP fails to offer authentication, it is simple to forge and impersonate emails. Spoofed emails may request personal information and may appear to be from a known sender. Such emails request the recipient to reply with an account number for verification. The email spoofer then uses this account number for identity theft purposes, such as accessing the victim's bank account, changing contact details and so on.
The attacker (or spoofer) knows that if the recipient receives a spoofed email that appears to be from a known source, it is likely to be opened and acted upon. So a spoofed email may also contain additional threats like Trojans or other viruses. These programs can cause significant computer damage by triggering unexpected activities, remote access, deletion of files and more.