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Security & privacy

iCloud calendar full of spam? Here’s why and what to do about it

To keep track of meetings, appointments, and scheduled tasks, many of us use a calendar like Google’s built-in version or Apple’s iCloud integration. As the apps evolve, more functions have been added to them, like attaching files, addresses or other people’s contacts.

As great as it is, it also creates a security risk. Cybercriminals can also use the same functions that are supposed to help us. And it’s not limited to a specific platform’s calendar, as Gmail Calendar and iCloud users are equally affected.

While it’s not a new way to attack people, it has seen a recent resurgence in popularity. So here is what you should be looking out for in your calendar.

Here’s the backstory

Receiving spam invitations or entries on Apple’s Calendar has been happening for years. However, some iCloud users recently noticed that random entries range from sweepstake competitions to giveaways.

The suspicious posts are usually accompanied by links to dangerous websites or urge you to download a specific file. Apple has been aware of the issue for some time and even implemented a reporting feature in 2016.

Despite this, over the weekend Reddit users documented their ongoing battle with calendar spam. “A friend of mine had been on some websites and came to me saying that his calendar wouldn’t stop ringing. As I checked it, he had an organized virus event for every hour or so for the whole of 2020,” commented a user.

Complaints continued on Twitter:

What you can do about it

The most important thing is to make sure that you don’t accidentally subscribe to a spam calendar. Always check the fine print before proceeding with a website or signing up for a newsletter.

Here’s how to remove the spam on your iPhone:

  • Make sure that you’re using the latest version of iOS. Tap or click here for steps to update your iPhone.
  • Open the Calendars app.
  • Tap the unwanted Calendar event.
  • Tap Unsubscribe from this Calendar at the bottom of the screen.
  • To confirm, tap Unsubscribe.

In most cases, Apple users will receive an invitation through the app. The best course of action is to ignore it, but many will tap decline. While this will stop the current invitation, it will also alert the sender that the email address is active.

Considering the prevalence of spam, Apple posted the following video on YouTube detailing the steps above on how to remove it.

Keep reading

Time-saving trick: How to sync your Google and Apple calendars

Google Calendar: 12 tips and tricks to get organized

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