Beware of New Amazon.com Phishing Scam

Scam AlertThe holidays are upon us, and with all of the giving and sharing come scams aimed at exploiting human nature and stealing our personal information, such as names, addresses and credit card numbers. This year, the scammers are at it again, with a phishing scam designed to look like an email from Amazon.com claiming that there is a problem processing your order. The scam asks you to click on a link to verify your personal information. A good example of this scam email is described on the AARP blog.

As a reminder, here are a few tips to avoid falling victim to phishing scams.

  • Never click on unfamiliar or suspicious links. If a link claims to refer to a familiar website, then manually enter the web address in the address bar.
  • Hover your mouse over images & links to review the URL they refer to.
  • Beware of “Unsubscribe” links in phishing emails. When clicked, these links can let the spammer know that your address is valid, which often leads to more spam.
  • Never reply to spam or unsolicited messages.

For more tips on how to avoid these & other scams, click here to review our post on protecting your email privacy, and stay safe this holiday season!

Outlook Connector Performance Tips

With the recent release of Outlook Connector 4.0, I wanted to review with you some guidelines for improving the performance of Outlook Connector. Outlook’s performance is affected by many things, including the amount of data it has to keep track of, any add-ons that are installed, how often it checks for new mail, and various other factors. The following guidelines will help ensure you get the best performance out of Outlook when using Outlook Connector.

  1. With each new version of Outlook Connector, various performance enhancements are made, thus, we recommend using the latest version of Outlook Connector on the MDaemon server and the latest Outlook Connector plug-in on each client. On the MDaemon server, you can check the version of Outlook Connector that’s installed by navigating to Help – View the release notes for your version of Outlook Connector. Users can verify their version of the Outlook Connector plug-in by clicking on the “About” tab on the Outlook Connector toolbar in Outlook. Click here to download the latest version of Outlook Connector. On this page, click on the “Download Now” button to download Outlook Connector on the server. There are also links to download the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Outlook Connector client.
  2. We recommend using Outlook Connector with MDaemon 14 and above. Newer versions of MDaemon also have various performance enhancements. You can get the latest version of MDaemon here.
  3. We recommend disabling all Outlook Add-ins except the Outlook Connector plug-in. In Outlook 2016, 2013 & 2010, add-ins are located under File – Add-ins. In Outlook 2007, they’re located under Tools – Trust Center – Add-ins.
  4. Regular defragmentation of the MDaemon server’s hard disk is recommended. Server performance can be further improved by reducing the amount of logging MDaemon is doing (Setup – Server Settings – Logging – Settings) along with moving the Logs folder and User, Public and Queues folders to a physically separate disk. When moving logs, queues, or public folders to a separate drive, simply map a drive letter to the drive, then update the Directories section of the MDaemon.lni file (located in the MDaemon/App directory) with the new path to these directories.

    MDaemon directories
    Where MDaemon stores mail, queues, logs, etc.
  5. We recommend periodically purging and compacting the Outlook Connector database file (local cache). Follow these steps to compact the local cache file:
    1. Make sure Outlook is shut down, and navigate to the Windows control panel.
    2. Click on the Mail control panel.
    3. Click on Email Accounts.
    4. Double-click on your Outlook Connector account.
    5. Click on the Database Management tab.
    6. Locate the Purge Database section and click on the Purge button.
    7. Locate the Compact Database section, and click on the Compact button. You can also check “Compact database on Outlook shutdown” to compact the database each time Outlook is shut down.

      Outlook Connector Database Managemen
      Outlook Connector Database Managemen
  6. The local Outlook Connector cache file should be excluded from real-time scanning by third party desktop antivirus applications. By default, the local Outlook Connector cache is located at C:/Documents and Settings/-username-/Application Data/Alt-N/ Outlook Connector 4.x/ProfileName/account-name/User’sEmail@YourCompany.com.
  7. Outlook should only be configured to use HTML or Plain Text format for sending emails. Depending on the version of Outlook you are using, these settings can usually be found via Tools – Options – Mail Format tab. Outlook should not be configured to use Word as its email editor or to use Rich Text Format (RTF). Both of these methods result in emails which do not adhere to Internet standards.
  8. We recommend configuring Outlook Connector’s Send/Receive tab (located under the Account button in the Outlook Connector toolbar) to only check the Inbox folder for new items at each Outlook send/receive interval.
  9. Outlook Connector includes the option “Download Headers Only” under the Send/Receive tab of the Outlook Connector Client configuration screen. When this option is enabled, Outlook only downloads the information needed to show messages in the message list, and not the full content of each message. When you click on a message, the rest of the message is downloaded for viewing. Users may experience a slight delay in viewing messages in the preview pane when “Download Headers Only” is enabled because Outlook has to download the rest of the message when it is selected.
  10. We recommend configuring the Send/Receive schedule to check for new mail every 3 minutes.
  11. We recommend performing these housekeeping tasks regularly:
    1. Delete any email messages, calendar items, and contacts that are no longer needed.
    2. Empty the Deleted Items folder by right-clicking it and selecting Empty Folder.
    3. Delete unwanted items from the Sent Items folder.
    4. Move items out of the Inbox to other mail folders.
    5. Archive old messages. Mail server administrators can implement a server-wide archiving solution such as MailStore to help cut down on the amount of data stored in user mailboxes.

Following these guidelines will help ensure that Outlook Connector continues to run smoothly. For more information, please see our Outlook Connector how-to guides. As always, I’m available if you have questions!

MailStore 10 – With Full Encryption, Automatic Updates, and More!

MailStore UpdateOur friends at MailStore have been hard at work to make their email archiving solution more secure while providing more flexible administrative features.  With the release of MailStore version 10, users and administrators benefit from the following improvements.

Keeping Archive Data Safe & Secure

Full Encryption of Database & Audit Logs

MailStore has always stored archived email in encrypted format, but now, they take encryption a step further by encrypting the internal databases and audit logs. Now, in addition to the messages themselves being encrypted, metadata such as message subjects, senders, and recipients are also encrypted, as well as the archive folder structure.

Restricted archive access for administrators

By default, MailStore administrators will no longer be able to browse, search, or export email of other MailStore users as long as the compliance setting “Archive Access” (formerly known as E-mail preview) is set to “Block Access.”

Extra Cloud Backup Protection

MailStore now allows you to use a specific recovery key to prevent archive data from being accessed from other systems by unauthorized users. This is useful in situations where cloud storage backup locations are used.

Making Life Easier for Administrators

Automatic Updates with Email Notifications

MailStore now includes an automatic-update feature that notifies the administrator when a new version is available. This helps to ensure that you can always benefit from the latest feature set.

Flexible Storage Location Options

Administrators now have more options when configuring archive stores. Each component of an archive (email content, search indexes, databases) can now have its own storage location.

Many Other Improvements

These are just the highlights of MailStore’s new features. To benefit from all of its new features and enhancements, download MailStore 10 today!

Our eLearning Videos are Now Available on YouTube!

eLearningWould you like to brush up on your MDaemon or SecurityGateway skills? Well now you can, for free, on our YouTube channel! Topics for each course include:

MDaemon

  • Getting Started
  • Domain & Server Settings
  • Managing Accounts
  • Mailing Lists
  • Gateway Configuration
  • Security Settings
  • OpenPGP Encryption
  • WorldClient
  • Spam Filter Configuration
  • Mobile Device Management

SecurityGateway

  • Getting Started
  • Configuring Domains & Users
  • Mail Delivery & Filtering Settings
  • Spam Filter Configuration
  • Anti-Spoofing Tools
  • Anti-Abuse Tools
  • Server Maintenance

Click here to access the SecurityGateway tutorials.
Click here to access the MDaemon tutorials.

In the coming weeks, I will be updating these videos & adding new topics, so check back often for the latest eLearning lessons!

 

Are you doing enough to protect your email privacy?

Email PrivacyFor many of us, email has become our primary method of communication in both our business and personal lives. An email address, however, is often used for many more purposes than simply sending electronic messages. Many of us use our email address to log into social networking sites, utility and credit card sites, banking sites, and much more.

Your email account is often the gateway to your personal life, and thus, is a valuable target for hackers. John McAfee said, “Email accounts are the fundamental identifying elements of the internet. The assumption is that if a person has access to an email account then that is the real person. Yet these accounts are the easiest elements of the digital world to hack into.” According to a recent ZDNet study, with a single phishing email, about 45% of all recipients submitted their full login credentials. Another study by Intel found that 97% of all computer users could not identify all 10 out of 10 phishing emails.

Hackers have a variety of tools at their disposal, from sophisticated spear-phishing to malicious documents to social engineering tricks, so are you doing enough to protect your email privacy?

Follow these 8 best practices to help ensure that your email communications are kept private.

Use strong passwords

A strong password that is not easily guessed should contain a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Never use a password that can be easily guessed, and never use any of the passwords listed on the “most popular and therefore worst” passwords list. MDaemon includes tools that allow administrators to enforce strong password policies. See this blog post for more information.

Spammers know that many people use the same password across multiple sites and services. Therefore, you should be using a different password for each site.

Never click on suspicious links

Spammers have gotten very creative at making spam email messages look legitimate, using HTML and images that, when clicked, lead to fake websites designed to collect your personal information or to deliver malware, including keyloggers designed to capture everything you type, and ransomware, therefore, never click on links in an email message unless you’re absolutely sure you have verified and trust the sender.

Many phishing messages contain images such as logos that look legitimate, but, when clicked, lead to malicious sites. If you hover your mouse over a link, you can often see the destination URL, which often does not match the word or image associated with it.

If you see an “unsubscribe” link, don’t click on it! This would only serve to let the spammer know your address is valid and, more importantly, these links are easily forged and could lead to malware infections.

If you are prompted to click on a link that appears to point to a legitimate site that you know and trust, it is better to manually type the URL into your browser than to click on a link that has not been verified.

Never reply to spam or unsolicited email messages

Spam can be a very annoying nuisance, so as humans, we may let our emotions get the best of us and reply to a spam message with “Please take me off your email list” or “Quit spamming me!” There are two problems with replying to spam. First, many spam messages come from forged addresses, so the spammer is unlikely to receive your message. Second, replying can let the spammer know your address is legitimate, which may lead to even more spam.

Don’t post your email address in blog posts, online comments, or social media

Scammers often scrub social media sites for email address that they can exploit, so if you must post an email address to one of these sites, mask the address by adding spaces or spelling out (at) instead of using the @ symbol.

Use Encryption

Email messages, by default, are transmitted in plain-text. This can potentially open them up to interception by a nefarious third-party. While SSL & TLS are used to encrypt the connection between mail clients and mail servers, it is good practice to encrypt the email message itself. Encryption protects sensitive data by converting plain-text to cipher text. This cipher text can only be decrypted using the proper private encryption key.

MDaemon has options for encrypting connections using SSL & TLS, as well as server-side and client-side encryption options using Virtru and OpenPGP. A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about these options. Click here to read about MDaemon’s encryption options.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Passwords alone are often not enough to protect your data against increasingly sophisticated attacks. With two-factor authentication, users must provide a password and a unique verification code that is obtained via a client that supports Google Authenticator (available in the Google Play store). This blog post contains more information on how to use two-factor authentication with MDaemon and WorldClient.

Know the risks of using public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi provides a convenient way to access the internet while on the go, but if you’re not careful, it may come at a great price. Unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots are prime targets for hackers, who are often able to position themselves between you and the internet connection, allowing them to intercept every bit of information you transmit. Hackers can also use unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots to distribute malware. If you have file sharing enabled, you are especially vulnerable.  To reduce risk, make sure any Wi-Fi hotspot you connect to is secured and from a reputable source that you trust. If you must connect to a public hotspot, it is good practice to use a VPN to ensure that transmitted data is encrypted.

Lock your computer when away from your desk

This may sound like a given, but an unattended computer that has not been locked allows anyone access to your information.  You might not consider this a big issue if you work for a small business, but if you work in an industry with privacy regulations, such as health care or financial institutions, or if you store sensitive company information such as revenue or other confidential information, leaving your computer unlocked could have serious consequences, including loss of job, damaged company reputation, or even legal problems.

Conclusion

Whether your primary interest is protecting company information or your own personal data, email privacy is everyone’s responsibility, and often, the weakest point of entry into a treasure trove of sensitive data is a negligent or uninformed user. Don’t let that user be you. Use these tips to stay ahead of the bad guys!

Teach SecurityGateway to Recognize Spam

Recently, I wrote a post about teaching your MDaemon Inbox to recognize spam using the Bayesian learning feature. This feature helps to train the spam filter to be more accurate over time by feeding it samples of spam and non-spam messages. SecurityGateway also includes Bayesian learning features (in addition to many other security features designed to keep spam, viruses, malware and phishing attacks from hitting your mail server). Today, I’ll be explaining how to use these features to teach SecurityGateway how to get better at recognizing spam (false negatives – spam messages that were not filtered out) and non-spam (false positives – legitimate messages that were marked as spam).

Administrator Instructions

Administrators must first enable and configure Bayesian learning in SecurityGateway before users will be able to use it. Follow these steps to enable and configure Bayesian learning.

  1. Click on the Security tab, and then click on Heuristics & Bayesian under the Anti-Spam section.
  2. Make sure the first box, “Use heuristic rules and Bayesian classification to analyze messages” is checked. This setting basically turns the spam filter on and is enabled by default.
  3. Under “Location (all domains),” click on the link to configure SGSpamD. You can optionally select a domain in the drop-down menu at the top to configure these settings for a specific domain.

    Enable SGSpamD
    Enable SGSpamD
  4. Under the “Bayesian Classification” section, check the first box to enable Bayesian classification.

    Enable Bayesian Classification
    Enable Bayesian Classification
  5. By default, 200 samples of spam and 200 samples of non-spam are needed before Bayesian learning can take place. You can adjust this number in the blanks provided, but in most cases, this will not be necessary.
  6. By default, Bayesian learning takes place at midnight each night. You can select the second option under the “Bayesian Learning” section if you’d like to schedule Bayesian learning more frequently, at regular intervals. This is useful if you have a larger number of messages to learn from. You can also select the third option if you do not want Bayesian learning to run automatically based on a schedule. When this option is selected, you can use the link at the bottom of the Bayesian Learning section to perform Bayesian learning as needed.

    Bayes Schedule
    Bayes Schedule
  7. SecurityGateway needs to know where to find messages to be fed to the Bayesian learning engine. By default, messages are  placed inside the C:/Program Files/Alt-N technologies/SecurityGateway/BayesSpam and BayesHam directories. You can optionally use a different path mapped to a different drive to improve performance.

    Known Spam Directory
    Known Spam Directory
  8. In the following two blanks, enter the Spam and Non-Spam forwarding addresses. The default addresses are spamlearn and hamlearn, so if your domain is example.com, users can forward spam messages (as an attachment) to spamlearn@example.com to feed these messages to the Bayesian learning engine. This procedure is explained in greater detail later when we discuss how end users can submit spam and non-spam messages to the Bayesian learning engine.

    Spam Forwarding Addresses
    Spam Forwarding Addresses
  9. Most spam messages are relatively small, thus, you can place a size limit on messages to learn from by checking the box “Don’t learn from messages larger than” and entering a value (in bytes) in the blank blow. Placing a size limit on messages to learn from helps improve the performance of the Bayesian learning engine.

    Bayes Size Limit
    Bayes Size Limit
  10. You can automate the Bayesian learning process by enabling Automatic Bayesian Learning. By default, messages that score less than 0.1 are considered to be legitimate and only messages that score a 12.0 or above are considered to be spam for purposes of automatic Bayesian learning. Before enabling automatic Bayesian learning, I would recommend reviewing your message logs for false negatives and false positives and use their spam scores as guidelines for populating the spam and non-spam scoring thresholds. You can also optionally check the boxes to only learn non-spam messages from domain mail servers and authenticated sessions, and only learn spam from inbound messages.

    Bayes Automatic Learning
    Bayes Automatic Learning
  11. Before I explain the next setting, I want to explain the concept of “tokens.” When the Bayesian learning feature “learns” from a message, it takes snippets of information from the message, such as words or phrases, and uses this information to create tokens. These tokens are accumulated and when a new message is scanned by Bayesian learning, its contents are compared to these tokens to look for similarities. Under the Bayesian Database section, check the box to enable Bayesian automatic token expiration. This helps to limit the token database to a manageable size, expiring old tokens and replacing them with new ones when the maximum number of Bayesian database tokens (specified in the blank below) has been reached. When this number of tokens is reached, the Bayesian system removes the oldest, reducing the number to 75% of this value or 100,000 tokens, whichever is higher. 150,000 tokens make up about 8MB of data.
  12. Click Save and Close to save your changes.

End User Instructions

Now that SecurityGateway has been configured properly on the server, users can start feeding samples of spam and non-spam to the Bayesian learning engine.

There are two methods users can use to submit samples of spam and non-spam to the Bayesian learning engine in SecurityGateway. The first (and easier) way is to use the thumbs-up and thumbs-down icons in the SecurityGateway interface. The second way is by forwarding spam and non-spam messages (as attachments) to designated email addresses.

To mark messages as spam or non-spam using the SecurityGateway interface, follow these steps:

  1. Log into SecurityGateway.
  2. Click on My Message Log. This brings up a list of all of your inbound and outbound messages.
  3. Click on the message you wish to mark as spam or non-spam, and then click on the Thumbs-up button to mark the message as non-spam, or the thumbs-down button to mark the message as spam.
    Mark Message as Spam
    Mark Message as Spam

    You will receive confirmation that the message was marked as spam.

    Marked as Spam Confirmation
    Marked as Spam Confirmation

To feed messages to the Bayesian learning engine by forwarding them as attachments, simply attach the message to an email addressed to the designated hamlearn@ or spamlearn@ address for your domain (example: spamlearn@example.com). Note: SMTP authentication must be used.

If you are using WorldClient, you can right-click on the message and select “Forward as Attachment.” Then, populate the To: field with the spamlearn@ or hamlearn@ address and simply send the message.

Forward as Attachment
Forward as Attachment

When used properly, Bayesian Learning is a powerful tool for reducing spam and ensuring legitimate messages are not blocked by the spam filter. More information can be found in this knowledge base article.

Don’t let spam ruin your day. These tips can help you keep the bad stuff out of your Inbox so you can focus on your business!

Teach your Inbox to Recognize Spam

MDaemon has many features for fighting spam that, when configured properly, can be very effective at blocking out unwanted junk email.  However, it is possible for the occasional spam message to slip through. Likewise, it is also possible for the occasional non-spam message to be mistakenly identified as spam and blocked from being delivered. This is especially true if you work in finance or the medical industry, where you are more likely to receive legitimate email messages that contain words often found in spam. This presents a challenge: How can administrators and end users improve the accuracy of the spam filter?

An effective solution to the problem is using Bayesian analysis to help MDaemon “learn” what is & is not spam.

You may be thinking, “So what is Bayesian analysis?” Bayesian analysis is based on Bayesian logic, which is a branch of logic that deals with probability inference – predicting future events based on knowledge of prior events. In the context of spam filtering, MDaemon’s Bayesian Learning feature uses Bayesian logic to make inferences about the probability that a message is spam based on the patterns contained within it and how those patterns compare with the patterns found in messages that have been fed to the Bayesian Learning engine.

Bayesian Learning helps train MDaemon’s spam filter to become more accurate over time by feeding it samples of spam and non-spam messages. This is especially useful for the medical and finance industries, where certain keywords are “spammy” to one industry but not the other. This feature also helps reduce false positives (legitimate messages mistakenly marked as spam) or false negatives (spam messages that were not marked as spam).

So how does Bayesian Learning work & how can users use it to train their inboxes to recognize spam? Keep reading to find out!

How to Use Bayesian Learning – The Short Version

Before we get into the details of how to use MDaemon’s Bayesian Learning features, let’s start with a high-level overview of how to use it. First, the administrator enables Bayesian Learning in MDaemon. Then, the administrator creates the Spam and Non-Spam public folders and grants users Lookup/Insert access rights to those folders. Ham/Spam forwarding addresses can also be enabled, so that messages sent to them as attachments can be fed to the Bayesian Learning engine accordingly. Users who receive false-negatives or false-positives can then feed those messages to the Bayesian Learning engine using various methods. By default, after 200 spam and non-spam messages have been collected, Bayesian Learning takes place & the contents of these messages are added to a database of “tokens.”

Instructions for Administrators

The administrator needs to enable Bayesian Learning in MDaemon, and configure Bayes folder access and optionally configure forwarding addresses, as outlined in the following steps.

  1.  In MDaemon, navigate to Security | Spam Filter, and click on Bayesian Classification in the left-hand navigation menu.

    MDaemon Bayesian Learning
    Bayesian Learning in MDaemon
  2. Check the first box to enable Bayesian classification.
  3. By default, the second box (Schedule Bayesian learning for midnight each night) is checked. If you have a lot of spam/non-spam messages to learn from, you may want to schedule Bayesian learning at more frequent intervals by un-checking this box and entering a value in the following blank (Schedule Bayesian learning once every __ hours).
  4. Most spam messages are relatively small, so to improve performance, you can enter a value in the “Do not learn from messages larger than” blank. 50,000 bytes is the default value.
  5. Before we discuss the checkbox to enable spam/ham forwarding addresses, we need to create public folders for spam and non-spam messages. Click on the Create button to populate these fields with the default location for these folders, or use the buttons to the right to specify a different location. By default, access permission to these folders is only granted to local users of local domains and is limited to Lookup and Insert rights. The postmaster’s default permissions are Lookup, Read, Insert, and Delete. To prevent users from placing spam in the non-spam folder and vice-versa, you could remove access to these folders for all users except the administrator (via Setup | Public Folder Manager), and create another pair of spam/non-spam folders, then grant users Lookup and Insert rights to those folders instead. This allows the administrator to review the contents of these folders for improperly placed messages before placing them in the Bayesian Spam and Non-Spam folders.
  6. You can optionally check the box “Enable spam and ham forwarding addresses.” When this box is checked, users can forward false-negatives or false-positives to spamlearn@yourdomain.com or hamlearn@yourdomain.com to feed these messages to the Bayesian Learning engine. This process is explained in greater detail later in this post.
  7. Users who have been granted Lookup & Insert access rights to the Spam and Non-Spam folders can use the thumbs-up & thumbs-down icons in WorldClient to feed spam (false-negatives) and non-spam (false-positives) to the Bayesian Learning engine. Administrators who wish to remove these icons for all users can edit the MDaemon/WorldClient/Domains.ini file and add the following:
    [Default:UserDefaults]
    DisableSpamButton=Yes
    DisableHamButton=Yes 
    Save the file and restart MDaemon (or IIS, if WorldClient is running on IIS).
  8. Administrators who wish to remove these icons for a specific user can edit the User.ini file for the user (located at MDaemon/Users/example.com/(username)/WC) as follows:
    [User]
    DisableSpamButton=Yes
    DisableHamButton=Yes

Instructions for End Users

Now that Bayesian Learning is properly configured in MDaemon, users can begin feeding the Bayesian Learning engine samples of spam and non-spam messages to train the spam filter to become more accurate. There are various ways to train the Bayesian Learning engine – using the thumbs-up & thumbs-down icons in WorldClient, using drag & drop to drag messages to the Spam and Non-spam folders (when using IMAP or Outlook Connector), or forwarding messages as attachments to the assigned spamlearn@ or hamlearn@ addresses (useful for POP users).

Using WorldClient

The easiest way to train the Bayesian Learning engine is to select “This is Spam” or “This is Not Spam” (in the WorldClient theme) or the thumbs-up and thumbs-down buttons (in the LookOut and WorldClient themes) in WorldClient. Simply click once on it to highlight it, and then select “This is Spam” or click on the thumbs-down icon. If a legitimate, non-spam message was placed in your Spam folder, you can highlight it, and then select “This is Not Spam” or click on the thumbs-up icon.

Mark as Non-Spam
Mark as Non-Spam

Using Drag & Drop (IMAP & Outlook Connector)

IMAP and Outlook Connector users who have been granted Lookup and Insert access rights to the spam and non-spam folders can use drag & drop to move the message to the appropriate spam/non-spam folder.

Forwarding as Attachments (POP3)

POP3 users can forward these messages (as an attachment from an authenticated session) to the spamlearn@ and hamlearn@ addresses. Messages sent to these addresses must be received via SMTP from a session that is authenticated using SMTP AUTH.

Considerations

As explained under step 5 above (under Administrator Instructions), when granting users access to the Bayesian Spam and Non-Spam public folders, it’s possible for users to feed samples of spam and non-spam to the wrong folders, making the Bayesian learning process less effective, thus, you may consider creating a separate pair of Spam/Non-Spam public folders and having users place messages in those folders instead for administrative review.

Conclusion

When used properly, Bayesian Learning is a powerful tool for reducing spam and ensuring legitimate messages are not blocked by the spam filter. More information can be found in the following knowledge base articles:

Bayesian Learning Information:
http://www.altn.com/Support/KnowledgeBase/KnowledgeBaseResults/?Number=227

Training the Bayesian Learning Process in MDaemon:
http://www.altn.com/Support/KnowledgeBase/KnowledgeBaseResults/?Number=378

Bayesian Learning Tips & Tricks:
http://www.altn.com/Support/KnowledgeBase/KnowledgeBaseResults/?Number=379

Are you taking the security of your email account seriously?

WEmail Securitye begin a series of posts on the importance of email security and why it should be a top priority for organizations. In this post, we share some insights from the founder of Alt-N Technologies, Arvel Hathcock, to get his perspective on security tips for email users.

Most everyone has an email account. Many have more than one. Email is really at the core of online life because it is tied to so many of our online services. Look at your phone. Many of the service apps you see connect with you via your email account. This is why I believe the wide-spread practice of “password reset via email message” or “Forgotten Password” has crowned the email account password the most significant and important of all passwords.

Password Controls in MDaemon
Password Settings in MDaemon

That’s not to say that password management for services like online banking are not critical. They are. But having a strong password for banking and not your email can expose you to some real dangers, as well.   Imagine if a hacker or other bad actor can figure out your email password. One of the first actions they could take is to login and change your password. This locks you out. Next, they check through your inbox and folders looking for anything interesting, such as popular online services or banking portals. Now, they login with your email address and use the “Forgotten Password” feature. Soon an email will show up in your inbox (which is no longer controlled by you) allowing them to verify the change and now another important service is not controlled by you. This email and others like it will allow a hacker to change all of your online passwords – all because they found your email password.

This is not good and it leads me to security tip #1: Put effort into the security of your email account password.

It can be the key to all your other passwords. Also, do not use your email account password with any other online account or service because you do not know and cannot control when it will be that service’s turn to get hacked.

Because of the risk mentioned earlier, I would also recommend users disable “Forgotten Password” features where possible and use an alternative method. As bad as “Forgotten Password” can be to reset access, the Question and Answer options can be risky, too. I was horrified years ago to discover that an online app for a banking chain reset my password using only the “Question and Answer” method – no email at all! You know – the questions some services ask like “What’s your mom’s name?” or “Where did you grow up?” etc. If someone can get the answers right, they can change the password.

This idea assumes that would-be hackers will always be outsiders without access to even basic information about their targets. You should use caution before completely trusting these methods. One trick I recommend is to select the question (it’s usually in a drop-down list) and enter a totally random and completely unpredictable answer (but one that you can remember, of course).

I realize these features exist for convenience but remember that security can be reduced and new attack options exposed by these methods if not managed properly.

 

 

MDaemon 16.5 – with Automatic Updates, WorldClient Categories & More!

Earlier this year, we introduced several new security and convenience features for MDaemon, including contact synchronization via CardDAV, two-factor authentication in WorldClient, spambot detection, and an ActiveSync migration client for migrating from any mail platform that supports ActiveSync protocol version 14.1. If you’re running an older version of MDaemon and would like to see what you may be missing, check out our MDaemon Features by Version page for all features by release version.

For MDaemon 16.5, we continue the trend of packing in new features for both administrators and end users.

Administrators will Benefit From these New Features:

Centralized Management of Outlook Users

Outlook Connector Client Settings

Outlook Connector allows Outlook users to share their email, calendars, contacts, tasks and notes. In previous versions of MDaemon and Outlook Connector, users would configure all settings on the Outlook Connector client, including host names, SSL and port settings, and other preferences. Beginning with MDaemon 16.5 and Outlook Connector 4.0 (also released today), these settings can now be stored centrally in MDaemon and pushed out to clients. When a new Outlook Connector profile is created, only the username and password are needed. All other settings are retrieved from MDaemon with the click of a button.

Unique Public Key Management for Encryption Security Control

OpenPGP Encryption Settings

OpenPGP uses public/private key pairs to encrypt and decrypt messages. If I want to send you an encrypted message, I would need to obtain your public key, which is used to encrypt the message, and you would decrypt it with your private key. WorldClient, MDaemon’s webmail client, can now be used as a basic public key server for exchanging public encryption keys. This allows WorldClient to honor requests for your users’ public keys using a specially formatted URL. Additionally, MDaemon’s OpenPGP feature now supports collection of public keys over DNS. This helps to automate the process of exchanging encryption keys.

Automatic Product Updates

Automatic Updates
Automatic Updates

It’s easier to ensure that you’re running the latest version of MDaemon, Outlook Connector, and SecurityPlus with the new Automatic Updates feature. Updates can be automatically downloaded and installed at a designated time.

For end users, we’ve added these new features:

Easily Identify Trusted Email & Confirm Message Authenticity to Prevent Spearphishing

 

DKIM Verified Sender
DKIM Verified Sender

MDaemon’s OpenPGP features can now verify embedded signatures found within messages. This helps the recipient ensure that the message is authentic. WorldClient will display an icon or text label for verified messages. WorldClient will also display labels for messages with valid DKIM signatures, messages decrypted by OpenPGP, and messages signed with an OpenPGP key.

WorldClient Categories for Easier Inbox Management

WorldClient Message Categories
WorldClient Message Categories

When using the LookOut and WorldClient themes, WorldClient has new category selections for easy sorting and identification of email messages. Messages can be sorted by category, and multiple categories can be assigned to a message. Authorized users can also create their own custom categories in addition to using the built-in categories.

Connect with most IM Clients

XMPP Chat Server
XMPP Chat Server

MDaemon 16.5 includes two separate chat systems. In addition to WorldClient Instant Messenger, users can now chat with each other using their favorite third-party chat (XMPP) client. With the addition of this feature, users now have the flexibility to chat from any device with a compatible XMPP client, including mobile devices.

There are many XMPP clients to choose from, including Trillian (Windows), Adium (Mac OSX), and Mozilla Thunderbird (Linux, OSX, Windows). A list of XMPP clients can be found here: http://xmpp.org/software/clients.htm.

Features may vary depending on which XMPP client is used. WorldClient Instant Messenger’s features can be found here:

http://www.altn.com/Products/MDaemon-Email-Server-Windows/WorldClient-Instant-Messenger/

Other improvements include:

Additional SMTP authentication settings

SMTP Authentication from Local IPs
SMTP Authentication from Local IPs

The SMTP Authentication screen has a new option which, when enabled, will require all incoming messages from local IP addresses to use SMTP authentication. When this setting is enabled, if a message that is not authenticated arrives from a local IP address, it will be rejected. We recommend enabling this setting for added security.

Modification of “From” header as additional protection from spoofing

Sometimes users are fooled into thinking an email comes from one person when it is actually from an attacker. This happens because email clients often display only the sender’s name and not his email address. This new option defeats such an attack  by altering the From: header value. If enabled, when a message arrives for a local user, its From: header is modified. For example: From: “Spartacus” <crixus@capua.com> would become From: “crixus@capua.com — Spartacus” <crixus@capua.com>.

WorldClient can check for attachments if they are mentioned in the subject/body.

WorldClient Attachment Notification
WorldClient Attachment Notification

When an attachment is mentioned in the subject or body of a message, yet no file is attached, WorldClient can be configured to remind the sender of a possibly missing attachment when clicking the Send button.

These are just the major new features for MDaemon 16.5. For a complete list of all new features & enhancements, view the MDaemon release notes. Or if you’re ready to try MDaemon for free, click here to download your free trial!

5 Steps to Achieving Inbox Zero

Inbox-ZeroUnless you live in a cave, chances are you use email as a primary method of business communication. You’re also likely to receive tons of annoying, non-business related email, such as newsletters, press releases, mailing list messages, and follow-up messages that clutter up your Inbox. Without a clear strategy for dealing with all of this distracting junk, valuable time is wasted on unimportant tasks, and productivity suffers. In other words, you may be afflicted with “email overload.”

So how do we deal with the influx of email that grabs at our limited supply of attention?  Merlin Mann invented the concept of Inbox Zero. From TechTarget, Inbox Zero is defined as “a rigorous approach to email management aimed at keeping the inbox empty — or almost empty — at all times.” According to Mann, zero does not refer to the number of messages in your Inbox. Instead, it refers to the amount of time one spends thinking about his Inbox. A key point that is made is that when one confuses his Inbox with a to-do list, productivity suffers. Mann states, “It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That zero? It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox – especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.”

So with the daily influx of email, how can we achieve Inbox Zero? Mann says that for every email message, there are five possible actions to take:

  • Delete
  • Delegate
  • Respond
  • Defer
  • Do

Let’s take a closer look at these actions.

Delete:  When a new message arrives, the first thing you should ask yourself is “Am I REALLY going to read or respond to this email?” If you’re not sure, then chances are you’re not going to make it a priority, and then it will sit there in your Inbox while other messages that should have been deleted come piling in after it. As Merlin Mann says in this article, “every email you read, re-read, and re-re-re-re-re-read as it sits in that big dumb pile is actually incurring mental debt on your behalf.” So if you’re not going to do anything with a message, simply delete it and move on.

Delegate: If there’s a message that can be best answered by someone else, then immediately forward it on. Don’t try to handle it if it will take you twice as long as someone else.

Respond: Immediately respond to any new messages that can be answered in two minutes or less.

Defer: If a message cannot be answered in two minutes or less, or if a message can be answered later, then move it to a separate “requires response” folder and reply later.

Do: Set aside time each day to respond to email in the “requires response” folder or respond to mail in this folder throughout the day when you have time.

Mann also recommends what he calls “Email dashes.” Here are his recommendations.

  • Check for new email & look for items that can be responded very quickly: Two minutes every 20 minutes.
  • Non-critical responses – Every 90 minutes, answer 5 emails or spend 10 minutes responding.
  • Processing “the pile” – Two minutes every hour, plus 15 minutes at the end of the day.
  • Metawork – 15 minutes twice a week.
  • Further culling, responding & cleaning out “the pile” – Throughout the day, when available, in 5-8 minute dashes. These email dashes help you prioritize, avoid constant email notifications, and manage your time and attention.

Other tips for achieving Inbox Zero:

Don’t leave your email client open. An open email client can be a persistent distraction. It could be too tempting to check email when you’re working on another project while your email client is running in the background.

Use templates: You can use templates for often repeated messages that may only require a short or generic response, such as “Thank you” responses or responses to common questions. If you’re using WorldClient, MDaemon’s webmail client, this article has instructions for creating email templates.

Use Filters: Filters are useful for dealing with frequent, non-urgent items that can be dealt with later. Some examples include:

  • Mailing lists and forum threads
  • Social media “Friend” requests from sites like Facebook and Google+
  • Newsletters and product updates
  • Blog comments
  • Twitter follower notifications

Be careful when creating filters to ensure that you are only filtering out content that isn’t important. It is possible to filter out too much – for example, important but non-urgent messages that would be better addressed by dealing with them according to a schedule.

Use labels or folders: This tip could perhaps be combined with the above tip on using filters. The idea is to automate the process of acting on message that meet certain criteria by applying certain labels or moving them to designated folders. For example, I get a lot of blog comments from spambots, so by creating a filter that filters on the subject of a comment notification message, I can send those messages directly to my “Blog Comments” folder. Sometimes, I’ll get up to 200 comments in a day, so this saves me lots of time and headache weeding through all of that stuff in my Inbox.

Unsubscribe from email lists: How many times have you been asked by a retailer for your email address, or left the box checked when making a purchase on a company’s website authorizing them to bombard you with sales pitches on their other products?  Taking the time to unsubscribe from these mailing lists now can save you from having to deal with all that Inbox clutter later.

The concept of Inbox Zero is not to have zero messages in your Inbox. It’s to set up processes that allow you to spend as little time as possible THINKING about your Inbox. Merlin Mann created the concept several years ago, when there was far less email and far fewer distractions than there are today, so his ideas are even more relevant today. I hope you find these tips useful & that you can use them to take back any control your Inbox may have over you.