Email Help for Texas & Louisiana Businesses Affected by Harvey

Hosted Email Help for Businesses Affected by Hurrican Harvey

Our hearts go out to all who have been impacted by hurricane Harvey. As a provider of email messaging software and services, we understand that many businesses have lost communications infrastructure, including their email services, which for many, are the primary channel of communication with customers. We want to help, so we are offering free, temporary email services for businesses who have experienced email disruptions due to Harvey.

Learn more about how we can help your business during this time of disruption:

http://www.altn.com/Harvey2017-Business-Email-Help/

MDaemon Has been Updated to Version 17.0.3

Update_stickyAs any software company knows, it’s important to listen to our customers and address any issues that may be reported. With this in mind, our development team has released MDaemon 17.0.3. This minor update includes various improvements to WorldClient Instant Messenger and other minor fixes.

Click here to read the release notes, and click here to download the latest MDaemon.

If you’re not yet an MDaemon user, you can find more product information here, and click here to compare us to your current messaging solution.

Do you have questions or comments? Let us know via the Comments section below!

 

Don’t Get Hit by the Whaler’s Harpoon

What is Whaling?Harpoon-Whaling

Chances are you’re familiar with the term Phishing, where scammers use social engineering tactics to get users to give up personal information such as financial data, Social Security numbers, or other highly confidential and valuable information. That email you received from the “IRS” asking for your Social Security number? Don’t fall for it!

You may have also heard of spear-phishing, a more targeted form of phishing where specific individuals on any staff level may be targeted. But are you aware of the dangers of whaling? No, I’m not talking about the kind that keeps marine conservationists up at night. I’m talking about phishing attacks that are highly personalized to target high level executives.

While phishing emails are sent out to multiple recipients in the hopes that one or more will fall for the scam, whaling emails are usually only sent to select individuals who have a great deal of influence in a company. They are designed to masquerade as critical business communications sent to someone of importance, such as a CEO or other business authority, in an attempt to get the recipient to give up personal or financial information. Often, these messages contain spoofed addresses claiming to come from someone within the company. It is also common for a whaling email to claim to be from the Better Business Bureau or FBI.

Many whaling emails will contain a link that installs malware or leads the user to a familiar looking website that will likely ask for your login information. What happens next is when the problems begin. You submit your username and password, and are told that your credentials are incorrect and that you should try again. Sounds pretty harmless so far, right? Behind the scenes, however, your information has already been captured, and you are then redirected to the legitimate website, where you are able to successfully login on your next attempt – completely unaware that you just submitted valuable information to a scammer. This is why we always stress that you never click on links in an email message unless you’re 100% certain that the message is legitimate and from the purported sender.

How do “Whalers” get past Spam Filters?

Cybercriminals often use similar domain names or free email addresses, pretending to be business executives. They are able to bypass many security measures because their messages often don’t include malware links or attachments. And because they don’t typically contain links, and are often more well-written than the standard phishing attack, they are able to slip past spam filters more easily.

Do Executives Really Fall for These Scams? The Scary Statistics on Whaling

Whaling works because people often fall for these scams. The following high-level cases illustrate how lucrative the whaling business is for scammers:

In the 2008 US District Court subpoena whaling scheme, 20,000 CEOs were targeted. Approximately 2000 of them fell victim to this scheme & clicked on the malicious link in the email, which led to a key logger that secretly recorded the CEO’s passwords. It then led to further hacking attacks on the affected companies, resulting in significant financial loss or damage to company reputation.

Here is an example of the fake subpoena email. It looks official to the untrained eye, but notice the From address, which uses the domain of uscourts.com. The official domain of the US Court system is uscourts.gov, not uscourts.com. Also, it’s worth noting that official court business is never sent via email.

USCourtsWhaling

In 2015, Mattel lost $3 million in a whaling scheme in which a finance executive responded to a bogus funds transfer request claiming to come from the company’s new CEO.

In the first quarter of 2016, 41 companies were hit with phishing attacks targeting employee tax records.

More recently, the CEO of an Austrian aircraft parts manufacturer was let go after the company lost €40.9 million ($48 million USD) to a whaling attack.

And earlier this year, a 48 year-old Lithuanian man was charged with attacks on Facebook and Google. In his high-profile phishing attacks, he used forged invoices, contracts, and letters that looked like they had been signed by a company whose name he had mimicked by registering a company in Latvia with a name similar to that of a legitimate Asian-based vendor.

How do I recognize a whaling email?

So how do you know when you’re being targeted in a whaling attack? Here are some common whaling identifiers to look for in inbound email messages:

  • Is the name of the sender the same as one of my user names?
  • Is the sending domain similar to one of my domains?
  • Is the domain well-established, or is it a newly-created domain used specifically for attack purposes?
  • Does the email contain common whaling keywords, such as wire transfer, payment, etc.?

An email containing just one of these characteristics may not necessarily be a threat. For example, if the CEO’s name is John Smith, an email from another John Smith might not raise any red flags, especially considering how common this name is. But if you receive an email from John Smith that has one or more of the other characteristics listed above, such as one containing a request for payment, then you should treat it with extra scrutiny.

Avoiding whaling attacks is the responsibility of both management staff and employees alike. Follow these tips to help protect your business from falling victim.

Educate Senior Management Staff

One of the reasons spear phishing and whaling are so effective is that they target named individuals in executive or financial positions within an organization, and they often appear to come from someone known and trusted by the recipient, such as a colleague. Clever social engineering techniques are used to reel in these “big fish.” Senior management, financial staff and employees in other key roles should be educated on the effects of whaling attacks and how to spot them. They should learn to recognize common characteristics of phishing attacks like spoofed sender addresses, requests for funds transfer, unrecognized attachments, and spoofed hyperlinks. Let’s look at a few examples.

Example: Sender registered a domain similar to the company’s domain.

As you can see in this example, the sending domain looks similar to a legitimate domain, but if you look further, the domain is one digit off from the real domain.

SimilarDomain

Example: Display Name spoofing.

Does the display name in the From field match the email address?  In this example, I know my bank does not own the “fakedomain.com” domain. This is an example of display name spoofing, which is very common.

Spoofing

Example: FROM address spoofing.

Another common spoofing technique is From address spoofing. Any spammer can spoof any email address, making it look like the message came from a legitimate source. This works because email messages contain two sets of addresses – the envelope address and the message header address. I’ll explain further using U.S. postal mail as an example.

When sending a letter via US Mail, the sender needs an envelope, the address of the intended recipient, and the contents of the message (e.g. message body or letter). The sender places the address of the intended recipient on the envelope, but the recipient’s address usually appears inside the envelope as well, usually at the top of the letter. The address on the envelope is where the letter is sent, not the address on the letter itself. Thus, these addresses can be completely different.

Email works in a similar way. Like U.S. Mail, email messages also have two sets of addresses – the envelope addresses, where the message is actually from and who it is addressed to, and the address in the message header, which is what the user sees in the To: and From: fields in the message. These addresses do not have to match for the message to be delivered. Most spam messages contain spoofed From (header) addresses.

In the following example, the message appears to come from john.smith@example.com, but closer examination reveals that it actually came from frank.thomas@example.com. Most mail servers and email security products should have mechanisms in place to detect this kind of spoofing, such as reverse lookups, SPF, DKIM and DMARC, but users should be aware of this common technique used by spammers.

AddressSpoofing

Keep Personal Information Private

Scammers who want to steal your personal and financial information will look for publicly available information on social media and various other sites. Management staff should have as little personal information visible to the public as possible, including birthdays, interests, and friends and family. Social media users should review their privacy settings to ensure that this data remains hidden from the public.

Establish a Verification Process

If an employee receives an email requesting financial information, funds transfers, or other business-critical information that is not typically handled by email, verify the request from the sender via another channel such as a phone call. Companies should have documented processes on how these requests should be handled.

Protect against Data Leaks

Implement a software-based data loss prevention solution such as SecurityGateway that intercepts sensitive data and quarantines it before it has a chance to leave your network. Data Leak Prevention techniques scan email messages and attachments for highly sensitive information such as Social Security or Tax-ID numbers, bank account numbers, and passport numbers.

SecurityGateway for Email Servers

Questions or Comments?

Phishing and whaling scams have been going on for years, and they will continue as long as human nature dictates that people will fall for these scams. Don’t be the next victim. Arm yourself with the facts and your email infrastructure with the tools to avoid the whaler’s harpoons! If you have questions about our email safety recommendations, leave us a comment below!

Search your Archive from WorldClient in 3 Easy Steps

With the prevalence of data-destroying malware, more businesses are using an archiving solution such as MailStore to create backup copies of all email communications. Archiving is crucial for recovery when the unexpected disaster strikes, and useful for e-discovery and meeting legal requirements & regulations. I’ve written this article to help explain the value of archiving and why it’s so important:

If you’re not archiving your email, you should be!

For end-users, it’s important to have easy access to your archived messages, with the ability to search through your archives based on key words. With the addition of a custom button in the WorldClient toolbar that points to the MailStore login screen (performed by the MDaemon administrator), users can access their archive and perform a search in three easy steps. I’ll show you how in the following video:

MailStore works with virtually all email platforms and clients, and is the recommended choice for small-to-medium businesses worldwide. If you have questions or would like a personal demo, leave a comment below & let me know!

Outlook Connector 4.5.1 is Now Available – Addresses Issues with Windows 10 Creators Update

MDaemon mail server software update availableThe release of Microsoft Windows 10 Creators Update introduced various issues for Outlook users related to certain DLL files. Today, we’ve released Outlook Connector 4.5.1, which fixes these issues.

Click here to download Outlook Connector 4.5.1.

Remember – there are two components to Outlook Connector – one for the server, and one for the client. There is a link to the latest Outlook Connector client on the above link. We recommend installing this update on the server as well as on all clients.

If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

Outlook Problems Caused By Creators Update for Microsoft Windows 10

Note: July 27 – A fix to Outlook that was caused by the Windows Creators Update is now available by upgrading to most current version of OutlookConnector – version 4.5.1. Click here to download the update.

The Creators Update for Microsoft Windows 10 has introduced various technical issues. One of the issues is that it may cause Outlook to become unstable when Outlook Connector is used. The issues with Outlook are not isolated to Alt-N products.

Our technical team is working to find a solution to address the issues as soon as possible.

Who is affected?

Customers using Outlook Connector with the Windows 10 Creators Update are affected.

What is the issue?

After installing the Creators Update, Outlook may, under some circumstances, crash or stop working. We have also had reports of searches not returning results.

How do I fix it?

There are a number of workarounds available but the only solution at this time is to uninstall the Windows Creators Update and install the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (version 1607). Using older versions of the Windows operating system can put your system at risk; please use caution.

How do I install  the Microsoft update – version 1607?

To get the earlier cumulative Microsoft update version 1607, please follow this link:
https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4019472

Additional information, including updates & fixes, will be published to the following knowledge base article, so check back often for the latest updates.

Windows 10 Creator Update and Outlook Connector:

http://www.altn.com/Support/KnowledgeBase/KnowledgeBaseResults/?Number=1183

Questions? Let us know via the Comments section below, or click here to if you need additional support.

With today’s massive ransomware outbreak, here are a few reminders of how to avoid becoming a victim.

RansomwareAs I was coaxing myself awake this morning with my usual jolt of strong coffee, I checked my favorite news sites & was informed of yet another ransomware attack. This one, which is believed to have originated from Ukraine, was first thought to be a variation of last year’s Petya ransomware outbreak, but upon further investigation, it appears that today’s malware is a new type – a worm that some computer experts are referring to as “NotPetya“. This attack demands a smaller ransom (in comparison to other attacks) of approximately $300, and then begins to serve its primary purpose – to wipe files on the computer. According to researchers at Symantec, this attack used the same National Security Agency hacking tool, Eternal Blue, that was used in the WannaCry outbreak, as well as two other methods to spread the attack. According to information provided by this article on CNN, if you’ve installed all of the latest Windows patches, you should be safe from this particular strain of malware, however, by no means is this a reason to be complacent. Administrators and end users must still be mindful of safety precautions.

Due to the proliferation of Malware as a Service (MaaS), just about anyone with the desire and the funds can initiate a malware attack, making new & emerging threats a real concern for the foreseeable future. This presents a good opportunity to review best practices for avoiding ransomware – for end users, and for administrators via the tools available in MDaemon and SecurityGateway.

How can end users protect themselves from ransomware?

End users should be aware of the following 18 email safety tips, which originally appeared in this post.

  • Change your password often.
  • Use strong passwords. Never use a password that contains “password” or “letmein”.
  • Use a different password for each of your accounts. If you use the same password for your bank account as you do for your email account, you become much more vulnerable to data theft.
  • Don’t open an attachment unless you know who it is from & are expecting it. Many of today’s social engineering tactics rely on the ability to trick users into opening attachments.
  • Be cautious about email messages that instruct you to enable macros before downloading Word or Excel attachments. This article provides a good overview of why you should not enable macros in Microsoft Word.
  • Use anti-virus software on your local machine, and make sure it’s kept up-to-date with the latest virus definitions.
  • If you receive an attachment from someone you don’t know, don’t open it. Delete it immediately.
  • Learn how to recognize phishing
    – Messages that contain threats to shut your account down
    – Requests for personal information such as passwords or Social Security numbers
    – Words like “Urgent” – false sense of urgency
    – Forged email addresses
    – Poor writing or bad grammar
  • Hover your mouse over links before you click on them to see if the URL looks legitimate.
  • Instead of clicking on links, open a new browser and manually type in the address.
  • Don’t give your email address to sites you don’t trust.
  • Don’t post your email address to public websites or forums. Spammers often scan these sites for email addresses.
  • Don’t click the “Unsubscribe” link in a spam email. It would only let the spammer know your address is legitimate, which could lead to you receiving more spam.
  • Understand that reputable businesses will never ask for personal information via email.
  • Don’t send personal information in an email message.
  • Don’t reply to spam. Be aware that if you reply to a spam email, your reply most-likely will not go back to the original spammer because the FROM header in the spam message will most-likely be forged.
  • Don’t share passwords.
  • Be sure to log out.

How can administrators protect their systems from ransomware?

The battle against ransomware cannot be fought by users alone. Administrators must also take steps to lock down their email infrastructure. These best practices will help protect your network and users.

Best Practices for MDaemon Administrators

  1. Enable account hijack detection. This feature will automatically disable an account if a designated number of messages are sent from it via an authenticated session in a given period of time. When the account is disabled, the administrator receives a notification so that corrective action can be taken. Instructions for configuring account hijack detection can be found in this knowledge base article.
  2. Enable dynamic screening. Dynamic screening is a feature that blocks future connections from a connecting server or client based on its behavior.  Instructions for configuring dynamic screening can be found here.
  3. Configure the IP Shield. The IP Shielding feature allows administrators to assign an IP address (or IP address range) to email messages from a given domain. Messages claiming to come from a specific domain must originate from one of the approved IP addresses. Exceptions can be made for users connecting from outside of the network who are using SMTP authentication.  Click here for instructions.
  4. Require SMTP Authentication. This helps ensure that the user authenticates with a valid username and password. Instructions can be found here.
  5. Use DKIM & SPF to detect spoofing. DKIM uses a private/public key pair to authenticate a message. When an incoming message is signed with DKIM, a DNS record lookup is performed on the domain taken from the signature and the private key taken from the signature is compared with the public key in the domain’s DNS records. SPF uses a DNS record that lists hosts that are allowed to send mail on behalf of a domain.
  6. Enable DMARC & configure your DMARC record. DMARC (Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) allows domain owners to instruct receiving servers on how to handle messages claiming to come from their domain that did not pass DKIM and SPF lookups.  Learn more here.
  7. Ensure that all connections (SMTP, POP, IMAP), are using SSL. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a method for  encrypting the connection between a client and server, as well as between to servers. Learn more here.
  8. Have a backup strategy. If by chance malware still manages to infect your network, your last resort is to have a reliable backup strategy. Ideally, you should have your systems backed up off-site and, for added safety, secondary backup data should be saved to media that is not connected to the network.

More information on these settings can be found in the following guide on best practices for protecting your users:

Email Server Settings – Best Practices

Best practices for SecurityGateway administrators

SecurityGateway provides an extra layer of anti-spam, anti-spoofing and anti-malware security, in addition to your mail server’s built-in security settings. These best practices will help keep ransomware and other malicious content from reaching your mail server. Each item includes a link with more information.

  1. Require strong passwords.
  2. Query a user verification source to ensure that users are valid.
  3. Require SMTP authentication to prevent unauthorized account access.
  4. Prevent unauthorized mail relaying.
  5. Protect your domain with IP Shielding.
  6. Require SSL encrypted connections.
  7. Configure backscatter protection.
  8. Don’t whitelist local addresses. If a spam messages was spoofed with one of your local addresses, this could allow the spam message to bypass various security features. This why it is recommended that no local addresses be added to your whitelist.
  9. Enable spam & virus Outbreak Protection.

These steps are discussed in more detail in the following guide:

SecurityGateway – Settings to Protect Your Mail Server

Of course, no system is 100% fool-proof, which is why user education is so important. Remember – your network and email infrastructure are only as secure as their weakest link. It is the responsibility of all parties involved – administrators and end users, to help ensure a secure messaging and collaboration environment.

Easy Migration from Microsoft Exchange or any ActiveSync Supported Email Server

For many small-to-medium businesses, hosting an in-house Microsoft Exchange Server requires dedicated staff and deep pockets. In the mid-90’s, MDaemon was created as an affordable alternative to Exchange that wouldn’t break your IT budget &  required no dedicated staff to administer it. With every installation of MDaemon comes the free Exchange migration utility – MDMigrator. MDMigrator will import all user accounts, email messages, public folders and other settings from Exchange to MDaemon. You can find step-by-step instructions in this knowledge base article:

http://www.altn.com/Support/KnowledgeBase/KnowledgeBaseResults/?Number=347

We’ll show you how easy this process is in this tutorial video.

If you’re moving from a non-Exchange mail server, we’ve got you covered as well! Instructions for migrating using our ActiveSync migration client can be found here:

http://www.altn.com/Support/KnowledgeBase/KnowledgeBaseResults/?Number=1135

Looking to move into the cloud? Let us host your email for you with WorldClient Private Email, or click here to find a partner in your region to host your email with MDaemon Private Cloud.

Questions? Comments? Let us know via the links below!

Is spam being sent out from a local machine on your network? Follow these steps to track down a spambot.

Has this happened to you? Let’s say you’re the MDaemon administrator for your company, and you’ve noticed that somewhere, somehow, spam messages are being sent from within your network. Perhaps one of your PCs has been compromised. What do you do? Here are some tips to help you track the issue down.

First, make sure you have the option “Authentication is always required when mail is from local accounts” enabled (Security | Security Settings | SMTP Authentication). Also enable “Credentials used must match those of the return-path address” and “Credentials used must match those of the From header address.” Then, make sure “…unless message is sent to a local account” is unchecked to prevent intra-domain spam (between local domain users).

SMTP Authentication in MDaemeon
Make sure the appropriate boxes are checked to require SMTP authentication

Next, find out if the spam messages are coming in from an authenticated session. To do this, locate one of the spam messages & open it up in Notepad to view its headers (or you can open it in Queue & Statistics Manager). Does the message have an X-Authenticated-Sender header? It will look something like this:

X-Authenticated-Sender: SpammerUser@example.com

If this header is present, then that is the user who authenticated to send the message. The first thing you should do in this case is to change the account’s password via the Accounts menu in MDaemon. Even if the spamming is going through the user’s mail client, until you give the user the new password and they update their mail client the authentication credentials will be rejected and the spamming will be temporarily stopped.

In newer versions of MDaemon, we’ve added Account Hijack Detection, which will automatically disable an account if it sends a specified number of outbound messages via an authenticated session in a given period of time. We recommend enabling this feature. In MDaemon, it’s located under Security | Security Settings | Screening | Hijack Detection.

Account Hijack Detection
Account Hijack Detection

The next step is to look at the Received headers. Find the one where the message was received by your server. Here is an example of what this header would look like:

Received from computer1 (computer1@example.com (192.198.1.121) by example.com (MDaemon PRO v17) with ESMTP id md50000000001.msg for <UserWhoWasSpammed@example.com >, Fri, 13 Sep 2016 21:00:00 -0800

Find the connecting IP (192.198.1.121) in the above example. This is the machine that is sending out spam. Locate that machine to deal directly with the spambot on that machine.

If the message wasn’t authenticated or wasn’t sent from your local network, locate the Message-ID header and copy that value.

Message-ID: <123.xyx.someone@example.net>

Then open the MDaemon SMTP-IN log that covers the time when that message was received by MDaemon (based on the timestamp in the received header) and search for that Message-ID in the log (in the 250 response line when the message is accepted):

Thu 2016-09-12 20:00:00: –> 250 Ok, message saved <Message-ID: <123.xyx.someone@example.net>>

Look at the rest of transaction and see why the message was accepted/not rejected – spam score, DNSBLs, etc.

Also, if your external domain is listed in the Trusted Hosts list (Security | Security Settings | Trusted Hosts), try removing it from this list.

Check back often for more tips & tricks!

If you’re not archiving your email, you should be!

Archive-ButtonWhen disaster strikes, is your business able to recover from data loss with minimal downtime?

How does your business handle legal requests for discovery and compliance audits?

Are you protected against data loss when employees leave the company?

Businesses of all sizes worldwide rely on email for their day-to-day communication needs. With the prevalence of malware, ransomware, and malicious actors hell-bent on wreaking havoc for personal profit, and with increasingly strict guidelines for HIPAA, FERPA and other regulations, it is more important than ever to have backup copies of all email communications for your business.

MailStore is a complete, secure archiving solution that can grow with your business. A robust archiving solution such as MailStore can meet your company’s needs in these key areas:

  • Compliance & eDiscovery – Businesses in the education, legal and healthcare industries have a growing list of regulations and eDiscovery requirements that must be met.
  • Disaster Recovery – When disaster strikes, in addition to easily getting data into your archive, you want it to be just as easy to get data back out of your archive. MailStore supports multiple archive & export methods, providing the flexibility businesses need to get their data into and back out of MailStore regardless of what email platform or mail client is used.
  • Reduced Server Workload – An archive solution helps reduce the workload of the mail server, freeing up resources for more important business communications.
  • Storage Space – MailStore can be configured to delete messages after a given period of time once they have been archived. This helps reduce storage requirements on the server.
  • Easy Backup & Restore – MailStore makes it easy to make backup copies of your important email messages – from any mail server, mail client, or even a PST file. The restore process is just as easy!
  • Avoidance of PST Nightmares – PST files can be archived and accessed from the MailStore client. Businesses whose users use PST files will benefit from being able to consolidate these PST files in a single archive location.
  • Elimination of Mailbox Quotas – Archived messages can be removed from the mail server after a period of time, reducing the need for mailbox quotas.
  • Prevent Users from Deleting Emails – A journaling mailbox can be configured on the mail server to collect copies of all inbound and outbound mail. You can then create a journaling archive profile in MailStore to capture all inbound and outbound messages as they pass through the mail server. This allows all messages to be archived even when the sender or recipient deletes the message from his Inbox or Sent Items folder.
  • Increased Productivity – Archived messages and attachments are fully indexed, making it easy to perform complex searches in a matter of seconds.

We’ve created the following video to help you get started with MailStore.

Want to learn more?  Click here to start using MailStore today!