Category: E-mail and Spam

How to Spot  a Fake Email

How to Spot a Fake Email

You get an email from your bank or some other company you do business with. But you aren’t sure if the email is really from that company or if it’s fake. The name of this type of email is a Phish email. It can be hard to tell because the fake emails are often pretty good forgery’s.

So, in this article, we are going to try and educate you on how to tell if an email is fake or legit.

Here are some general rules to follow:

  • If there are a lot of spelling and/or grammatical errors in the email, it may be fake.
  • Does the email make sense? If not, it may be fake.
  • Does the email address you by name or is it generic? If it’s generic or addresses you by a name that you don’t use with that company, it may be fake.
  • Is the content of the email generic or specific. Generic emails may be fake.

In general, if you aren’t sure, assume it’s fake and don’t click on any links in the email or open any attachments. Go to the company’s real website manually they way you normally would instead of clicking on a possibly dangerous link in an email. Or call the company to see if it’s legit.

Now look at the example fake email below.

Look at the top where the yellow circle is. It’s says it’s from UPS View. But look at the email address. It’s not an email address on ups.com. In fact, it’s not even from this country. The fact that the email address ends in .ve says its’ from Venezuela. Red flag #1.

Notice how the email gives no name or address. It’s not specific. It’s general. Red flag #2.

It lists a shipment number which doesn’t make sense in this country because we call them tracking numbers. That’s red flag #3.

See how the shipping number is blue? That’ means it’s a link that I can click on. If I hold the mouse pointer over it, being careful not to accidentally click, then at the bottom of the email in the status line (yellow arrow is pointing to this) it shows where the link goes. Notice that the link does not go to ups.com. It goes to tdcind.com. Red flag #4.

How many red flags mean it’s a fake email? For me, it’s 1. My rule of thumb is that you should be suspicious of every email. Even if the email appears to be from someone you know. Even family. If there is even one red flag or if you just have a bad feeling, then assume the email is fake.

How to tell if an email is fake

How to tell if an email is fake

You know what a SPAM email is. You probably know what a PHISH email is to. But just in case, a PHISH email is an email that tries to look like it’s from a company in order to trick you into giving either giving them your password, or to install malware on your computer or device. The people that send these PHISH emails are often pretty good at making them look real. However, if you know what to look for, you can pick up the clues that an email might be fake.

Let’s start with an example email that I received. I got an email that said it was from “iCloud Client”. The subject of the email was “[Alert] Reminder: We have prevented an unusual activity on May 2018”

There are several little clues here that something isn’t right:

  1. It says both alert and reminder. Is usually one or the other, not both.
  2. The date give is just a month and year, not an exact date. These people often use vague information.
  3. Although iCloud is certainly something real, iCloud client doesn’t really make sense.

On their own, these little clues are not enough to convict an email of being fake. Of course, the first thing you should think about is do I use iCloud? If not, then delete the email. If you do use iCloud, the safest thing to do at this point is to stop. Go to iCloud.com and check your account there. If everything seems OK there, then the email is probably a fake and you can delete it. If, however, you aren’t sure, the next step would be to open the email and look for more clues.

When I opened this particular email, I see that it is from “iCloud Client norply-accountupdates32@marlynwixky7.org

There is one minor clue here and also one major clue.

The minor clue is that most email servers use noreply, but in this case they used norply. Again, this is a minor clue.

The major clue here is the email address that follows iCloud Client. The part of the email account after the @ is @marlynwixky7.org. A legitimate email from Apple concerning iCloud would be from @icloud.com or @apple.com. This clue tells us with 100% certainty that this email is fake. But even if this major clue had not been there, I would have been fairly certain that this email was fake because there were several minor clues.

This particular email wasn’t as tricky as some of them. Many of them try to make it look more legit. In this case, they might have listed the from email address as support.apple.com@marlynwixky7.org. The first part makes it look like it’s from apple.com, but the only part that matters is what’s after the @. Another trick they often use is to do something like this: support@apple.com.marlynwixky7.org. If you look after the @ it looks like it’s from apple.com at first. But it’s not. It’s from marlynwixky7.org.

In this case, the email itself was blank but had an attachment. You already know this, but I feel obligated to say it. Never open the attachment to an email unless you are 100% sure the email is legit. If there is even one minor clue that an email may not be real, don’t open the attachment.

Really good scammers can make an email look, at least on the surface, that the email is from support@apple.com (or whatever). In this case, if there are minor clues that an email is fake, the next step would be to look at the email headers. Email headers are parts of an email that you normally don’t view. It’s overhead information most people don’t want to see and so it’s normally not shown. When you look at the headers, it will tell you the exact name of the server the email came from. If that server’s name doesn’t end with apple.com (in this example), then it’s not from apple.com and it’s fake.

How you actually view the email headers depends on what email service you use and how you access your email. If you use Gmail and read your email by going to gmail.com, then when you are viewing an email, there is a small down arrow near where it lists who the email is from. Click on that small arrow and it will show you the headers. Gmail actually displays the headers in a very nice way that’s easy to read. But some of them don’t format the headers and it can be overwhelming. If you are on one of those, look for Mailed By and see what server is listed there.

We don’t have room to list how to access the mail headers for every email service. If you can’t figure it out and can’t find the answer on Google, email us and we’ll tell you.

If you don’t want to mess with looking at headers, here are some basic rules to follow when reading email:

  1. Never click an link inside an email, even if you think it’s legit. Instead, manually go the company website in question, login, and do what you need to do. It’s not as convenient, but it’s safer.
  2. Don’t open an email attachment unless you are 100% sure it’s legit. If there is even one minor clue that the email isn’t legit, don’t open it. Even if it’s from a friend of yours. Their email could have been hacked.
  3. Be suspicious of every email you receive.
  4. If you aren’t sure if an email is legit or not, treat it as if it is fake.

Sorry this was so long and I hope it wasn’t too technical.
If you have any questions, please reply to this email and let us know.

Privacy Policy Updates

Privacy Policy Updates

Seems like a good portion of the email I have received lately are from companies informing me of privacy policy updates. There was a study in 2008 that determined it would take the average person 244 hours per year, about 40 minutes a day, to read all of the privacy policies for the websites they use. And this year, with the increase in privacy policy updates, it would take a lot more! And they wonder why nobody reads them. But I digress. The reason for the mass privacy policy update is because the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) just went into effect in Europe. Companies that do business in Europe had to update their privacy policies and terms of service because of it.

This doesn’t really have anything to do with us here in the U.S. But a recent privacy policy update from Yahoo that didn’t have anything to do with GDPR does impact those of us who use Yahoo for email. Yahoo recently announced that the software on their email servers will start reading all emails. This software scans your emails for keywords for the purposes of figuring out what types of advertisements to show you. By the way, for various reasons, Yahoo Email has been on our avoid list for many years.

Google used to do that but in 2017 they announced they would stop. However, their software still scans your emails. Just not for the purpose of showing your targeted advertisements.

You may be wondering why they would scan your emails if they aren’t looking to show you targeted advertisements. The reason is to be “helpful”. Here’s an example. Let’s say you book a flight and the airline emails your itinerary to your Gmail email account. Google will scan your email, recognize that it’s a flight itinerary and give you the option to add your flights to your Google Calendar. Do you consider that helpful or an invasion of your privacy?

Loss of privacy is the price you pay for most free email accounts. There are a few, very few, free email services that don’t scan your emails. Of course, they aren’t as “helpful” LOL. If you are worried about your privacy, you have options. Our favorite private and secure free email service is ProtonMail (www.protonmail.com). Other good ones include Hushmail.com and RiseUp.net.

If you don’t mind paying a small annual fee, you can a totally private email account. We offer our own email service, tornadomail.net (www.tornadomail.net) which we are currently offering at the introductory price of only $20/year.

Another option is to get your own domain. A domain is like google.com, cnn.com, ct-cp.com, or tornadomail.net. You can get your own and have email accounts on it. Residential customers can get one like TheColburnFamily.us, motorhead.net, or whatever. Note that you can’t get anything you want as it has to unique. So if someone already has what you want,  you’ll have to pick something else. But there are lots of options. The cost of a domain name varies. For example, .com, .net, .us, and .org are all under $20/year. But just having a domain name isn’t enough. You have to have a server to put it on.

You could host your domain name through Google G-Suite and use the Gmail interface, but that costs $10/month for each email account. Expensive if you want to have several email accounts. You can sign up for a web hosting account at a place like GoDaddy, but then you have to do everything yourself which many people do not have the skills or time to do. Or you can let us do it for you. We can get a domain name for you and host it on our server. If you only want to host email, and not a website, the cost is $120/year for unlimited email accounts with unlimited storage (does not include cost of domain).

If you have any questions or need help, please let us know!

 

What’s the Best Free Email Service?

What’s the Best Free Email Service?

We are often asked which of the free email services is the best one.

Before we answer this question, I want to remind you that we do not recommend using the email account given to you by your Internet Service Provider. These services usually aren’t very good and if you move or change service providers, you have to change email accounts and can’t set up automatic forwarding.

Defining the best free email service is a little tricky since the word “best” is a subjective term.
Here are some of the things to consider when selecting an email provider:

  • Reliability
  • Security (from hackers)
  • Privacy
  • Speed
  • Features
  • Spam filtering
  • Integration
  • Ease of Use (if using webmail)
  • Storage

While I would think Reliability and Security are important to everyone, the rest of the features may vary in how important they are to a particular person or organization. With that in mind, here are our recommendations.

Let me first start by saying that we do not recommend using AOL Mail or Yahoo Mail. We do not recommend AOL Mail because it is missing some key features. You can’t even set up automatic forwarding. And we don’t recommend Yahoo Mail because of all of the email services, it’s the one that is always getting hacked. In addition, they frequently change their web mail interface upsetting many people.

There is one free email service that scores very well in all of the above categories (except one). It is the most popular free email service in the world for that reason. It’s Gmail (gmail.com). For most people, Gmail will be the best option for a personal email account. Gmail is also good for organizations. In fact, Gmail is so good, it would be the one and only recommendation if it weren’t for one issue. The one drawback to Gmail is the concern about privacy. Google used to scan your emails for the purpose of showing you targeted advertisements. They claim they have stopped this practice but many people do not trust them.

If privacy is a big concern for you, then you may not want to go with Gmail. For those concerned about privacy we recommend Proton Mail (protonmail.com). You’ll be somewhat restricted in that you can only access ProtonMail via their webmail or one of their apps to access your email. That makes sense because that’s the only way they can provide that level of privacy. But if privacy is important to you, it’s worth it.

Here’s some information on some other major Email providers you may be interested in.

Outlook.com (Hotmail.com, live.com, msn.com).
This is a Microsoft service. In addition to privacy concerns, there have been a lot of problems with this service in the past. Especially if you don’t use a Microsoft product to access your email. In addition, Microsoft, as it often does, has removed useful features from it’s Email service, just like it has from Windows.

iCloud Mail
This service is from Apple. It’s not bad, but it’s missing some important features and doesn’t integrate well with other accounts.

There are a huge number of additional free email providers. Too many to mention. In this article we have focused on the most popular free email services.

For a list of email services to avoid, check out this link: http://www.ct-cp.com/?p=2360

If you are willing to pay a small annual fee, you can get an email service that is, in many ways, better than any of the free services. For example, our email service is only $25/year. With our service you get top notch security, the best Spam filtering, very good privacy, and unlimited storage.

Tired of Email problems?

Tired of Email problems?

Are you tired of having your email hacked?
Are you tired of getting lots of spam?
Are you tired of having someone sending spam making it look like you sent it?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, read on!

Email accounts through internet service providers like Spectrum and AT&T are included with your service, but they have problems. They aren’t very secure, they don’t do a good job of blocking spam, and if you change internet service providers, you have to change your email address.

Free email accounts through places like Gmail, Yahoo, and Microsoft (Hotmail.com, live.com, msn.com) have some of the same problems. They aren’t secure and you get lots of spam. In addition, these accounts are free so there’s no support for them. If you have a problem, there’s nobody you can call to get help.

We here at Cyber Tek Computer Pros have been enjoying our own email for years. We don’t get much spam. Our email accounts have never been hacked. And if anyone tries to impersonate us in an email, most email servers will block their attempt. Our email is so good we though, maybe some of our customers would like to enjoy it. So we have created our own email service, tornadomail.net.

For just $25/year (that’s a year, not a month) you can have an email account with our new email service, tornadomail.net. With our new email service, you won’t get very much spam (nobody can guarantee no spam). Your email account is highly unlikely to be hacked (Nobody can guarantee an account won’t be hacked). And thanks to our security measures, spammers can’t easily impersonate your email (Nobody can prevent it, but we make it highly unlikely).

If you are interested in an email account that works and doesn’t have all of the problems that most email accounts have, this service is for you!

If you want to sign up or have any questions please contact us.

How to Encrypt Your Email

How to Encrypt Your Email

In past newsletters, we have told you how email is not a secure form of communication. As an email travels from one sever to another, it can be intercepted and read by programs (called bots) that harvest information from email. We told you to never send sensitive or important information of any kind through email. We have been asked several times if there’s a way to set up secure email. The answer was always, yes, but it’s not easy and it probably doesn’t work like you think it would.

Recently, however, we have been testing a Firefox add-on called “Encrypted  Communication”. This add-on is limited in what it will work with and there are still extra steps you have to go through. But using this add-on, you can indeed send an encrypted email.

First, you need Firefox (http://www.getfirefox.com) and you have to install the “Encrypted Communications” add-on(https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/encrypted-communication/).  Next, you must be using webmail. You can’t be using Windows 10 Mail, Thunderbird, Windows Live Mail, Outlook, or anything like that. You must be using the webmail interface to your email, which all email has. To access your webmail, open Firefox. In the top address bar (not the search bar) enter the address for your webmail. Here is a very partial list of the most popular ones.

If your email address ends with Go to
Gmail.com http://www.gmail.com
Yahoo.com, att.net, sbcglobal.net, prodigy.net http://mail.yahoo.com
Austin.rr.com http://mail.twc.com
Hotmail.com, outlook.com, msn.com, live.com http://www.outlook.com
AOL http://mail.aol.com

Once you have Firefox and Encrypted Communications all set up, use Firefox to access your webmail. Compose a new email. When you are ready to send, right-click anywhere in the body of the message and choose Encrypt Communication. It will then ask you for a password. STOP!!

Make sure you use a good password. The longer the better. It should include multiple uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. There should not be any words in it that appear in the dictionary. It should not include any names of any kind. It should not relate to any information about you (dates of birth, phone numbers, kid’s birthdays, street address, etc.). Can’t think of a good password? Use a password generator to make this easy https://www.roboform.com/password-generator.
Use a password manager to safely store and manage your passwords.
For more information about how to create a good password, read this article on our website. For more information about password managers, read this article on our website.

If I didn’t make that clear, make sure you use a good password. It will ask you to verify the password, so you’ll have to enter it twice. After that, your email is now encrypted. You can now press the send button.

Now, the person you are sending the email to will also have to use Firefox. They will also have to have the Encrypted Communication add-on installed. And, you will have to tell them what the password is for that email. No, don’t email them the password. Call them, text them, send them a letter, whatever. Assuming the recipient of the email has all of that, they will get an email that looks like a bunch of random characters. All they have to do is right-click on the body of the message and choose Decyrpt Communication. It will then prompt them for the password. Once the correct password is entered, the email will be readable. If they close the email and re-open it, they will have to re-input the password.

So, there you have it. You can send encrypted email. And that means absolutely nobody can read that email except you and the recipient, right? Unfortunately, no. Encrypting an email as described above will prevent almost everyone from reading it, but not everyone. The NSA, for example, can get around just about any type of encryption according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

What You Need to Know About Email

What You Need to Know About Email

Email, which stands for electronic mail, became popular during the 1970’s in the government and large corporations. It then began to trickle down to smaller companies. As more and more people got computers at home with dial-up internet access, email began to filter into our everyday personal lives as well until it became a major form of communication. Although email is still a major form of communication in both the business world and our personal lives, email is not a popular with millennials (generation Y) as they tend to use text messaging and social media.

Even if our use of email has declined, it’s still a major form of communication. Yet, most people don’t really understand some of the important aspects of email. So with that in mind, here is everything (almost) you need to know about email. I say almost because this article would be way too long if I included everything.

The first thing you should understand is that email is not secure. When you send an email, it’s not encrypted or anything. It can travel through several servers before arriving at its destination. If one of those servers is infected with a particular type of virus, that virus could intercept your email. And because email is not encrypted, that email can be read and information can be harvested from it. That’s why we always say that you should never send sensitive or identifying information through email. This includes passwords, credit card information, account numbers, and stuff like that.

The second thing you should understand is that email isn’t as reliable as you might think. Mainly due to the constant battle against SPAM, many emails are rejected by the server on the other side of your email and never reach the person you are trying to contact. Even if your email is delivered, it could go into the recipient’s spam folder. Or, the person on the other end might not see it because it’s just one email among 100’s of others.  You can request a return receipt, but that usually doesn’t work. If you send an important email, you can ask the recipient to reply and acknowledge that they got the email. Many won’t do this, though. If the email is really important, you might want to contact the recipient using a different form of communication to verify they got it.

A big problem with email that everyone knows about is spam.  In 2009, more than 97% of all emails sent were spam. Thanks to many factors, that number has come down to around 70%, but that’s still really high. Never click on a link in a spam email. In fact, avoid opening them. Worse than spam is the spoof email. This is an email that pretends to be from a business and trick you into clicking on a link in the email. These emails can be very convincing. If you receive an email that looks like it’s from a business you do business with, the safest thing to do is to avoid clicking on links in the email and, instead, just go to the businesses website, login, and take care of it that way.

Email is the second biggest delivery mechanism for computer viruses. Second only to the web. When most people think about email and viruses, they think about attachments. Never open an email attachment unless you are absolutely sure it’s safe. And it’s hard to know because your friend’s email account could have been hacked. But when it comes to viruses and email, it’s not just about attachments. What’s more common these days is the email tries to get you to click on a link that goes to an infected website that infects your computer.

Now that we have talked about all of the problems with email, let’s talk about solutions and best practices.

If you have your email through one of the free providers (Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) then you should enable additional security features which will help prevent your email account from getting hacked. First, you should have a strong password for your email account and you should use that password only for that email account. Why? Your email account is often the key to resetting the passwords on the websites you login to. If someone hacks your email, they can reset the password for your bank, for example, and get into your bank account. For information on creating a strong password, check out this article on our website. In addition, turn on 2-step verification. Different email services have different names for it, but basically, the first time you log into your email on a new device (PC, phone, tablet, etc.) you must verify you are who you say you are. The best way to do that is using your cell phone and text messaging. For more information on 2-step verification, check out this article on our website.

Along those same lines, we don’t recommend using email accounts provided by your Internet Service provider. There are many reasons for this which you can read on this article on our website. In a nutshell, these email accounts are unreliable and unsafe. Get yourself an email account on Gmail or Outlook.com and use that instead. And changing email addresses isn’t a big deal if you know how to do it right. Let us help and we’ll make the transition easy.

When you access your email using an app or email client, it can interact with your email server in two different ways. These are POP and IMAP. We recommend avoiding POP and using IMAP. IMAP keeps your email in sync on all devices. POP doesn’t. When you access email from a device like a phone or tablet, you use an app. These apps default to using IMAP which is good. If you use a program other than Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or similar to access your email, then those don’t use IMAP or POP because that’s a direct connection to the email server. But if you use a program like Thunderbird, Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail, Incredimail, or similar to access your email, make sure you use IMAP.

And now for some email etiquette. Don’t forward a bunch of emails to all of your friends. Try to limit forwarded emails to 1, maybe 2 a day. More than that and you are basically spamming your friends. And when you send them an important email, they may not read it because they may assume it’s just another junk email you forwarded.

All businesses, no matter how small, should have a website and they should use email accounts for that website. When your business uses an email account that is on one of the free email services, it just doesn’t look professional. For example, if I owned a business called Fred’s Fill Dirt, I shouldn’t use an email address of fredsfilldirt@gmail.com. I should use fred@fredsfilldirt.com.

And finally, what should you do if your email gets hacked?
Check out this article on our website.

I hope this article was informative, helpful, not too technical, and not too long.

If you have any questions about email or need help, reply to this email or give us a call.

2016 Update on Spam

2016 Update on Spam

It’s been three years since our last article on Spam. We don’t do a lot of updates on spam because, frankly, not much has changed. There has been one new development in the world of spam, but the main reason we wanted to do an update on spam was for anyone who may have missed our previous articles on the subject.

In our original article about spam, we told you that it gets its name from a Monty Python skit. If you would like to watch that skit, click here. They repeat the word spam so many times in that skit, it is reminiscent of how spam repeats itself in your inbox.

Today I want to tell you about a new tactic spammers have started using. I also want to go back over what you can and should do about spam.

If you haven’t had your email account hacked and used to send spam, you probably know someone who has. When your email gets hacked and used to send spam, all you have to do is changed your password and security questions and that fixes it.

First of all, you should be aware that email is not safe. What I mean is, when you send an email, at least part, if not all, of your email’s journey to its destination is one in which the email can easily be intercepted and read by a program called a bot (short for robot). The email would continue on its journey to its destination, but the contents of the email can be read and analyzed by computer programs that harvest information from those emails.

The information they harvest can vary, but the most common information is who sent the email and who was the email sent to. Basically, they are harvesting email addresses. Some other computer programs harvest other information like personal information, credit card numbers, and passwords. That’s why you should NEVER send any sensitive information via email unless you can cleverly mask the information. The good news is that it is computer programs looking at the emails, not humans. So it’s pretty easy to embed information in an email in a way that a computer program wouldn’t recognize it. For example, if you send an email to someone and say: My password is 1234567, a computer program can be written that easily identifies that and reports back to its programmer what your password is. But you could send the same email and write it differently and it probably would not be picked up by a bot. For example, you could say: “I’m going to send you a separate blank email with the password in the subject line.” Then send them another email, put the password, and only the password in the subject line. Leave the body of the email blank and send it. A bot won’t know it’s a password. But I digress.

Once the spammers have harvested your email address and who you are sending email to, they will then send out an email to the same people you sent email to. They send the email out in a way so that, to the untrained eye, it looks like it’s from you. But in actuality, the email was not sent from your email account. At first you may think your email account has been hacked but in reality, it hasn’t been hacked. And that’s the worst thing about this new tactic. When your email account has been hacked, you can change your password and lock the hacker out. That won’t help in this case because the email wasn’t sent from your email account. Basically, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. The good news, though, is that the spammers will only do this for a week or two and then they’ll move on to someone else and the problem will go away. They might come back to you occasionally though.

If you start getting emails from your friends and family telling you they are receiving spam from you and that your email has been hacked, it may or may not be true. Ask them to forward the email to you. If you know how to look at the email headers, look at them and see if the email was really sent from your email account or not. You can also forward it to us and we’ll look at it and let you know.

Other than that, not much has changed in the world of spam. The war continues between spammers and those that try to stop them. Those of us who fight against the spammers know that we can’t win the war. But we can significantly reduce the amount of spam each person has to deal with. If you get a lot of spam, be aware that you would get 100 times more spam if it weren’t for those who battle the spammers every day.

There was a time when 92% of all email was SPAM. Thanks to System Administrators and Anti-Spam software, that rate has fallen to around 45%. But the actual amount of spam that makes it to your inbox has probably increased. Here’s how it goes. Anti-spam software blocks spam. Spammers figure a way to get around it and spam gets through. Anti-spam figures out a way to block it. Spam goes down. Then spammers figure a way around it. Then…well, you get the idea. Lather, rinse, repeat. The never-ending spam battle.

You may be wondering why spammers send spam. Surely, in this day and age, everyone knows not to click on spam, open spam attachments, and so forth. While most people do know that, not everyone does. And spammers are tricky and good at what they do. They can fool us into thinking an email is legit. Because spam is so cheap and easy to send, spammers only need one person out of ten million to fall for a given spam to make it successful. So basically, spam works.

Here’s what you should know about dealing with spam on a daily basis:

  1. Don’t open spam.
    Before opening any email, look closely at who it’s from and the subject. Also look at the date and time. If you are suspicious, don’t open it.
  2. Don’t click on links, pictures, or anything inside a spam email.
  3. Don’t open attachments in spam.
  4. Never try to unsubscribe to spam email.
    (note: it is safe to unsubscribe from legitimate business emails.)
  5. If there is even one shred of doubt as to whether or not an email is legit, treat it as spam.
  6. Turn off email preview.
  7. Use built-in anti-spam or install anti-spam software.
    This is a big subject that we could devote an entire article to. If you use webmail, be sure and mark spam emails as spam so that similar spam won’t be delivered to your inbox in the future.
    If you read your email using an email client like Outlook, Windows Live Mail, or Thunderbird, we can install a free anti-spam product that will drastically reduce the amount of spam you have to deal with.

And most importantly, don’t waste any more time with spam than you have to. Quickly deal with your spam as outlined above and move on.

As always, if you have any questions or need help with any of this, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Email from Microsoft Concerning Windows Live Mail

Email from Microsoft Concerning Windows Live Mail

If you get an email from Microsoft entitled “Important information about your email service”, telling your Windows Live Mail will stop working unless you install an update, be aware that the update breaks Windows Live Mail. We do not recommend installing the update at this time.

Microsoft wants to phase out Windows Live Mail to force users to use the Mail application built-in to Windows 8 and Windows 10. The built-in Mail apps in Windows 8, 8.1, & 10 don’t have the power and flexibility that Windows Live Mail has.

There have been wide-spread reports that this update, which is called KB3093594, causes Windows Live Mail to cease to function. I guess that’s one way Microsoft can try and force people to stop using Windows Live Mail.

At this time, we don’t recommend installing that update.

Stay tuned for more updates to this issue as we will do our best to keep you informed.
However, knowing that Microsoft wants to phase out Windows Live Mail, you may wish to consider converted over to Thunderbird. Thunderbird is very similar to Windows Live Mail, but it’s not made by Microsoft. It’s made by Mozilla, the same people who make Firefox.

If you wish to migrate from Windows Live Mail to Thunderbird and need help, please let us know.

2013 Update on Spam

2013 Update on Spam

Back in August of 2007, we published an article in our newsletter and on our website about Spam. If you would like to check that article out, here’s a link to it: http://www.ct-cp.com/?p=55. Since then, we have published annual updates to that article and wanted to do that again today.

As of April 7th, 2013, 72.5% of all email traffic on the Internet is spam. Although spam comes from all over the world, the country that sends the most spam is the United States (11.4%). From that, you can infer that approximately 70% of the email you receive is junk mail. If you receive 10 emails a day, then having to deal with 7 spam message a day isn’t bad. But if you get a lot of email each day, then spam can be quite time consuming and frustrating to deal with.

The first thing you’ll want to do is to try to avoid getting spam in the first place. Be careful who you give your email address to. Create a free email address on Gmail, outlook.com, or someplace like that and use that you can use to register on websites, sign up for newsletters, and for all of your online shopping so that you can keep your personal email address clean for personal communication. Never reply to a spam email or click on a link in a spam email. For that matter, don’t click on any links in any email unless you are absolutely sure it’s safe. And you already know not to open any email attachments unless you are absolutely sure it’s safe. It’s also a good idea to turn off message preview.

If you have a blog or website, it’s important not to put your email address in your blog or website in plain text because spam-bots will pick it up and you will get a ton of spam. There are many ways to display your email address on a blog or website in a way where people can see it, but spam-bots can’t. If you need help with that, let us know.

If you read your email online through a web browser like Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome, then there’s really not much you can do to improve your spam protection. You pretty much have to rely on your email provider. If, however, you download your email into an email client like Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail, or Thunderbird to name a few, then you do have options for enhancing your spam protection. This mainly applies to those of you using POP3 to download your email. If you use HTTP email like msn.com, hotmail.com, live.com, or outlook.com, then this doesn’t apply to you. In addition, if you use Gmail via IMAP, this doesn’t apply to you either. This is mainly directed at those of you who use your ISP provided email address in an email client.

The spam protection built-in to most email clients doesn’t work very well because it relies on you building a block list of email addresses. It doesn’t work because most spammers don’t send email from the same email address each time. Spammers move from email server to email server changing where they send email from because they are always on the run.

Many Internet Security packages include anti-spam functionality. If yours does, we recommend using it as these are usually pretty good. You can also find some free anti-spam packages and there are also those that cost money.

Our favorite free anti-spam software is Cloudmark DesktopOne. There is a paid version that costs only $20 and can be used on two computers. That’s a good deal. But the free one is all most people will need. Another good one is SpamBayes, but the problem with it is that it only works in Outlook and Outlook Express. And it doesn’t work on the 64 bit version of Outlook.

If you need help or advice on dealing with spam, please let us know.

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