To ensure MDaemon and its plugins provide the most up-to-date security and best performance, we often provide maintenance updates to help our customers get the most out of their business email and collaboration server.
A brief glance through my Spam folder in MDaemon Webmail today reminded me of the need for on-going education on the topic of phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams. Because businesses have already lost millions of dollars to these scams and continue to fall victim every day, it bears repeating that, while spam filters and email gateways continue to improve, no solution is 100% fool-proof.
Most of us will likely be immediately suspicious due to all-caps “REMINDER!!!” at the top of the message, but what other phishing clues can you identify?
In this example, the scammer has used display name spoofing to make the message appear to be from DHL. Most large businesses such as DHL have policies regarding email communications. DHL’s fraud awareness policy, which you can read here on their website, states:
“Please be advised that if you received an email suggesting that DHL is attempting to deliver a package requesting that you open the email attachment in order to affect delivery, this email is fraudulent, the package does not exist and the attachment may be a computer virus.
Please do not open the attachment. This email and attachment does not originate from DHL.”
But for most of us who remain unaware of DHL’s policies, it’s important to know what to look for to avoid becoming the next victim to phishing scams.
Using the DHL example, I’ve labeled the items to look out for when reviewing a suspicious email.
No business is too big or too small to educate its users about phishing. After all, it only takes one user to open a malicious attachment and unleash malware vicious enough to take down an entire company. Learn more about how to avoid being the next victim by reviewing these 10 tips to identify a phishing email.
Most of our customers are small-to-medium businesses with limited IT budgets across a variety of industries – including healthcare, education, manufacturing, and government. Having a limited IT budget often means having limited staff available for troubleshooting email or tracking down messages, so when considering which email gateway/spam filter you want for your business, one of the main criteria to consider is how easy it is to find messages for your users. Users who are expecting business-critical messages need to know ASAP what happened if that message is not delivered. With Security Gateway, it’s easy to find out if a message was rejected, quarantined or delivered. If it was rejected or quarantined, color-coded transcripts make it easy to determine exactly why the message was not delivered.
At-a-Glance: The Message Log Window
Let’s have a look at the message log and its layout.
Use the buttons across the top to:
Refresh the message list
Search for messages. Advanced search options are provided, allowing you to find messages based on a variety of criteria, such as message contents, delivery date, the result of the message delivery attempt, keywords in a message header, and others.
View message details (providing the same information as double-clicking the message)
Redeliver the message. Note that if the issue that made a message undeliverable still exists then the message will return to the message log with the same status.
Whitelist the sender or sender’s domain
Blacklist the sender or sender’s domain
Press the blue buttons to enable or disable specific columns.
The right-facing blue arrows indicate outbound messages, and the left-facing green arrows indicate inbound messages.
The remaining columns from left-to-right include:
Date (notice the arrow indicating sort order)
The message sender (From)
The message recipient
The message subject
The result of the message delivery attempt (Delivered, Quarantined, Rejected, etc.)
The reason the message was quarantined or rejected (for those that meet these criteria)
The message size
The final message score based on the total score accumulated by all security tests performed
Viewing message transcripts to determine a message’s fate
Now that we’re familiar with the layout of the message listing, let’s review how to troubleshoot email delivery issues.
Key events in a message’s transcript are color-coded for easy identification. In the following example, the message was scanned by SpamAssassin. During this process, it accumulated 1.7 points. It was then scanned by Outbreak Protection, during which it accumulated an additional 5.5 points. Finally, the total message score was tallied with a final score of 12.2 points and was rejected.
We’ve created the following video to help you become more familiar with message tracking in Security Gateway.
This week, we released MDaemon 19, with new features that benefit administrators and end users. The following is a summary of key improvements. You can view the complete list of updates in the MDaemon release notes.
New Features for Administrators
One of the first things administrators will notice is that the behavior of the “Start MDaemon” Start menu shortcut has changed. When clicked, you’ll now be taken to MDaemon Remote Administration via your browser. If you’d like to launch the MDaemon console directly, you can use the “Open MDaemon Configuration Session” shortcut, as shown here:
Enhanced Integration with Third-Party Plugins
MDaemon’s XML-API has been expanded to include additional capabilities. Folders and their contents can be created, deleted, renamed, and moved using the API. Developers can use these expanded features to display or manipulate the content of user mailboxes.
“External Message” Warning
A new “External Sender” Content Filter condition has been added, along with a new “Add a warning to the top of the message” action. This allows administrators to create a rule that will add a custom warning to the top of all email messages originating from external sources – providing extra protection against phishing attempts by alerting users to treat these messages with extra care.
Support for Separate SSL Certificates for Each Host/Domain
MDaemon supports TLS Server Name Indication (SNI). This allows domains and host names to have their own assigned SSL/TLS certificate, rather than having to share a single certificate.
New Authentication Failure & Frozen Account Reports
MDaemon’s Dynamic Screening feature includes the option to send authentication failure and frozen account reports to end users. When a given number of authentication failures has been reached, or when an account has been frozen, the user is notified so that corrective action can be taken.
New Features for End Users
Webmail – “All Unread” and “All Flagged” Saved Searches
When logging in for the first time, MDaemon Webmail users will receive a prompt asking if they would like to create an “All Unread” and “All Flagged” saved search for convenient, one-click access to unread or important messages.
Webmail – Expired Session Indicator
MDaemon Webmail will display (EXPIRED) on the browser tab when a user’s session has expired. This allows users who have multiple browser tabs open to be notified when they have been logged out without having to switch tabs.
Other Improvements Include:
Autodiscover support has been expanded to accommodate a wider variety of connecting clients (including eM Client, Thunderbird, Outlook, and others). The service can also now be configured to pass a custom host name to the connecting client on a per-service basis (for example: administrators can configure ActiveSync to connect to activesync.domain.com and IMAP to connect to imap.domain.com, etc.).
The option “Only send antivirus update notification on failure” is now enabled by default, and when updating to MDaemon 19, it will be enabled the first time MDaemon starts up.
MDaemon Remote Administration New Features:
Added license management options to the Registration page.
Added AntiVirus Updater and Scheduler dialog
Added queue counts, process message counts, other process counts, session statistics, and more process states to the Status page.
The MDaemon AntiVirus configuration screen has been updated. Both antivirus engines (Cyren and ClamAV) can now be configured from a single screen.
When ActiveSync is disabled for a domain, administrators will receive a pop-up asking if they would like to revoke ActiveSync access for users of the selected domain. This makes it easier to revoke access and reduces the usage of ActiveSync licenses.
The STARTTLS White List now takes precedence over the STARTTLS Required List and the “SMTP server requires STARTTLS on MSA port” option.
New options have been added to Security | Spam Filter | Spam Honeypots and Security | Security Settings | Screening | SMTP Screen to enable/disable the Dynamic Screening notification when an IP is blocked.
Don’t Risk Losing your Life Savings to Scammers. Follow these 10 Tips to Identify a Phishing Email.
Whether you run a Fortune-500 organization or a small boutique, by now you should be aware of the threats posed by cyber criminals to trick you into clicking a link, downloading an attachment, or parting ways with your money.
Modern day email scams are getting more sophisticated, leading to staggering losses for businesses of all sizes. According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, phishing was used in 93% of all reported breaches, with email being the main attack vector in 96% of reported cases.
While these figures are staggering, they continue to rise as scammers reap huge payouts from BEC (Business Email Compromise), CEO fraud and other phishing scams.
The real estate industry is a prime target for phishing because large sums of money change hands and there are various weak links in the transaction process. If any step within the transaction process becomes compromised with a successful phishing email, the attacker could gain access to a legitimate email address from which to launch other attacks. The fraudster could then lie in wait, scanning email messages for financial or transaction related details, and then send off fraudulent wire transfer instructions to an unsuspecting buyer, seller, or agent. For example, this happened to a 31 year-old first-time home buyer in San Antonio, Texas. You can read details about this case here, but the short version of the story is that she felt that she was in a time crunch to send in her down payment and finalize other closing tasks, and felt that the title company was dragging its feet. This state of high anxiety made her a prime target for a phishing email she received stating that she had previously been given the wrong wire transfer information, and that she needed to wire her down payment to a new account. With 5 hours left to get everything done, she attempted to contact her title company to confirm the change, but no one responded, so in a panic, she hastily ran to the bank and wire transferred her $52,000 down payment. Unfortunately, she sent her life savings to scammers.
The phishing industry is so lucrative for scammers because the barriers to entry are low relative to potential huge payouts. With botnets-for-hire and Malware as a Service (Maas), spammers have an impressive arsenal of tools at their disposal to propagate their campaigns, so to fight this scourge, an educated user is the best defense against phishing scams. With this in mind, here are my top 10 tips on how to identify and protect yourself from phishing attacks.
Watch out for messages disguised as something expected, like a shipment or payment notification. These often contain links to malware sites. Hover your mouse over any links to make sure they’re safe. Think before you click! Here’s an example using a phishing email I received claiming to come from HSBC.
Watch for messages asking for personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, and other personal information. Legitimate companies will never ask for this over email.
Beware of urgent or threatening messages claiming that your account has been suspended and prompting you to click on a link to unlock your account.
Check for poor grammar or spelling errors. While legitimate companies are very strict about emails they send out, Phishing emails often contain poor spelling or grammar.
Hover before you click! Phishing emails often contain links to malware sites. Don’t trust the URL you see! Always hover your mouse over the link to view its real destination. If the link claims to point to a known, reputable site, it’s always safer to manually type the URL into your browser’s address bar.
Check the Greeting – Is the message addressed to a generic recipient, such as “Valued customer” or “Sir/Madam?” If so, be careful & think twice! Legitimate businesses will often use your real first and last name. In our HSBC example, notice the generic greeting.
Check the Signature – In addition to the greeting, phishing emails often leave out important information in the signature. Legitimate businesses will always have accurate contact details in their signature, so if a message’s signature looks incomplete or inaccurate, chances are it’s spam. In our HSBC example, the sender’s name and contact information are missing from the signature.
Don’t download Attachments – With the proliferation of Ransomware as a Service (Raas), spammers have an easy mechanism for distributing malware-laden spam messages to thousands of users. And because the payout for ransomware can be quite high, even one successful ransomware infection could net the spammer large amounts of money. If there’s ANY doubt about the identity of the message sender or the contents of an attachment, play it safe and don’t download the attachment.
Don’t trust the From address – Many phishing emails will have a forged sender address. The From address is displayed in two places. The Envelope From is used by mail servers to generate NDR messages, while the Header From is used by the email client to display information in the From field. Both of these headers can be spoofed. MDaemon Webmail has built-in security features to help users identify spoofed emails. Many mail clients hide the From address, only showing the From name, which can be easily spoofed. In MDaemon Webmail, the From address is always displayed, giving users a clearer view into the source of the email and helping them identify spoofed senders. Using our HSBC example, I’ve highlighted the actual sender.
MDaemon Webmail will also display information in the Security tag to help users identify messages from verified senders, as shown here.
Don’t Enable Macros – And while we’re on the subject of ransomware, another common vector for ransomware infections is through macros in Microsoft Word documents. These documents often arrive in phishing emails claiming to have important content from HR, Finance, or another important department, and to trick the user, they request the user to enable macros. Never trust an email that asks you to enable macros before downloading a Word document.
While anti-spam and anti-malware tools are quite effective at filtering out the majority of scams, there’s really no substitute for good old-fashioned user education. Know the potential costs to your business and don’t become the next victim!
If you’re the MDaemon or SecurityGateway administrator and need help with your security settings to help block as much phishing as possible before it reaches your users, give us a call or drop us an email support request.
“We are excited to bring our many years of email security expertise and management to offer customers and channel partners a new cloud service without the need for them to make expensive hardware and infrastructure investments,” said Kevin Beatty, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. “By adding this new service, expanding our DLP features and integrating archiving without increasing the cost of the product, we continue to offer customers unmatched value.”
It’s just a fact of life: If there’s email, there will always be spam. Now, how much spam you have to deal with will depend on how good your spam filtering solution is. Here at MDaemon Technologies, we use our own products – MDaemon and Security Gateway, to filter out spam, malware, phishing attempts, and all of the other junk that often floods inboxes of users whose email server or hosted service isn’t as effective.
“If I have a good spam filter, do I REALLY need to know how to recognize phishing scams?”
If an email security company or hosted provider tells you their spam filter will catch 100% of spam, they’re not being completely honest. Most companies say their products catch 99% or 99.5% in their SLA (Service Level Agreement), with a false-positive rate of %.0001 or less. That’s reasonable and to be expected, especially considering the statistics.
According to public data, spam made up over 71% of global email traffic in April, 2014. As of September, 2018, spam volume had decreased to 54%, but considering that over 281 billion email messages are sent per day worldwide, that’s still over 151 billion spam messages sent every day, and while spam may be decreasing in total volume, it’s becoming more dangerous, with cryptojacking overtaking ransomware as the attack vector of choice for cybercriminals, and malware-as-a service turning cybercrime into a commodity for the masses,
So no matter how good an email security product is, there is always that chance that new and emerging (and sometimes tried-and true) social engineering techniques will succeed in tricking the next unsuspecting victim to part ways with his or her company’s bank account details.
And that brings me to the point of today’s post. It bears repeating that companies of all sizes and industries should consider ongoing training with their employees on how to recognize phishing attempts.
In today’s example, the scammer is using a classic BEC (Business Email Compromise) attack to try to get the recipient to open a malicious ISO file.
Because the threat of phishing and Business Email Compromise will continue well into the future, I will revisit this topic regularly throughout the year.
Businesses of all types must maintain records containing personal information about their employees and customers, and executives and clients alike have a mutual interest in protecting that data. But there’s no guarantee that every employee will treat confidential account numbers, Social Security numbers, passport numbers or other personal data with the same amount of care. So how can we prevent this sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands?
We’ll show you how and give you a sneak preview of upcoming new data leak prevention rules in our latest Security Gateway video!
In the early to mid nineties, our founder and CEO Arvel Hathcock recognized the need for a less expensive, easier to manage alternative to Microsoft Exchange Server for small-to-medium businesses. With solid programming skills and an entrepreneurial spirit, he created the MDaemon Email Server and launched Alt-N Technologies.
Through word of mouth among IT professionals and with the help of great channel partners, the popularity of MDaemon spread to customers across the globe. Over the years and in various geographies, the product name became more recognized than Alt-N Technologies. To better leverage the name recognition that had been built over the many years of MDaemon email server popularity, the company was renamed to MDaemon Technologies in January of 2018.
Helping the World Communicate
From the introduction of Webmail in 1997 and instant messaging in 2001, to support for third-party XMPP chat clients in 2016, MDaemon has helped improved communication for businesses in over 90 countries.
Focused on Security
Alongside these communication features came enhancements in security. IP Shielding, which is used to help prevent spoofing by blocking messages from unauthorized IP addresses, was introduced in 1996 before MDaemon even had version numbers (for some great historical information, check out the Ancient-History.txt file located inside the MDaemon/Docs directory). Relay control was added the following year, with many new security features added with each new release. In 2005, MDaemon became the first Windows-based email server to offer DKIM (Domainkeys Identified Mail) as a new tool in the fight against spoofing. And to address the growing need to protect confidential data and meet growing regulations in health care, finance, and other industries, email encryption with OpenPGP was added in 2015.
Sharing & Collaboration
MDaemon’s collaboration tools have evolved over the years as well. Instant messaging was added in 2001, followed by shared calendars and groupware in 2002 and 2003. Scheduling meetings with multiple attendees was made easier by the addition of free/busy in 2006.
As business communication needs evolve, so does MDaemon, with new features on the way for 2019. If you’d like to be among the first to benefit, follow us on twitter for the latest news & product updates.
As we continue to bring awareness to these threats, new ones emerge almost daily. In the past three months, a cyber-espionage group known as Seedworm (aka MuddyWater) has used spear-phishing attacks to infect 131 individuals with the Powermuddy backdoor (a new variant of their Powermud backdoor). Once a system has been compromised, this malware runs a tool that steals passwords from a user’s browser and email, often leading to access to the victim’s email and social media accounts.
Protect Yourself from the Latest Threats
Over the years, I’ve posted many times about phishing, spear-phishing, and other threats, with a variety of suggestions for protecting yourself and your business from becoming the next victim. Throughout these posts (from oldest to newest), you’ll find lots of tips to avoid being tricked by these email-borne scams.
As the threat landscape continues to evolve, businesses of all sizes must maintain awareness of the latest email-borne threats and educate staff at all levels, from entry level to C-suite. After all, without the right tools and procedures in place, it only takes one misguided mouse click to damage a business’ reputation or send it into bankruptcy.