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I was searching google to find a good printer to buy. To my horror, the next day I got a spam mail with theme "Print smarter at low price". Is this a coincidence or is my PC breached? What should I do? No alerts from Anti-Virus. Or can that webpage I opened install some malware? I didn't click on anything there.

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  • What you did after receiving the email is not relevant to your question about how you got it.
    – schroeder
    Jun 27, 2020 at 17:43
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    Welcome to advertising cookies. People can buy access to your search history in order to sell you things. It does not mean your PC was breached.
    – schroeder
    Jun 27, 2020 at 17:44
  • @schroeder so you mean clearing cookies is sufficient? Jun 27, 2020 at 17:58
  • @schroeder as per my knowledge, advertising cookies are only able to detect activity on that website only which they belong to. Jun 27, 2020 at 18:03
  • No to both of your comments. Cookies track your browsing, but then are collected into databases. People buy access to the databases, not the cookies.
    – schroeder
    Jun 27, 2020 at 18:49

1 Answer 1

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It is impossible to offer a definitive answer given the current information (call it an undecidable problem, if you prefer). Both of your suggestions are possible: it could have been a chance, or the spam email could have been triggered by your searches.

As some comments above mentioned, your activities online are monitored and targeted by advertisers. This is (unfortunately) the norm, so your computer can hardly be considered "breached".

No alerts from Anti-Virus.

This is expected: receiving spam emails is not malware. An antimalware solution cannot raise this as a positive event, unless the email itself contained some malware.

I didn't click on anything there.

Generally speaking, it's enough for you to view the ad. The ad networks tracks who clicks on what ad, but also who and how many people actually see the ad. The only way to lower the chance of this happening is to run an adblocker in your browser (or, arguably even better, at the network level).

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