Skip to content

Tag: email

Bellsouth Rejects Email

For two years, I have battled with this issue of Bellsouth.net (and AT&T in general) blocking email from any domain hosted on my web server.  I set up all kinds of security precautions, set up SPF records, and ran all sorts of tests in order to subdue the fears that somehow my server was being used as an open relay for spam.

I was so sure that it was all correct, and was so frustrated that the problem wouldn’t go away.  It only appeared to happen with Bellsouth addresses.

I used the AT&T Unblock request twice, which helped for a short time, but I would soon find email being blocked again and many of my hosted clients complaining.

But today, scouring through the CPanel user forums, I discovered the cause and solution!

I had a hosted client who wanted me to forward all of her email to her Bellsouth account a couple of years ago.  I did this, and then she soon complained that she wasn’t receiving any email. I never stopped to consider the fact that the forward itself was the cause of the problem, and that Bellsouth thought that there was spam being relayed from my server!

So, I have removed that forwarded email account (got her to set up a GMail account), have re-filed a request with Bellsouth to unblock my server, and all should be good again.

I hope this helps someone out there!

Backing Up Tons of Email

MailStore HomeI have about a dozen email accounts I try to manage locally with Thunderbird.  By and large, things run pretty smoothly until I need to move it all, as I did recently when upgrading from XP to Vista.

I have been a big fan of MozBackup in the past, but as my email accounts grew and I had more and more email stored in folders, MozBackup started taking a long time to process it all.  After my move to Vista, I realized I had over 2GB of mail backed up, and restoring it from Mozbackup didn’t work.  It recreated all my accounts and folders, but all the folders were empty.

After the initial panic faded, I found some forum threads discussing the manual opening of MozBackup archives and restoration of email.  I finally got it all back, but it wasn’t without more than a few sweat bullets hitting the keyboard.

Since this episode, I have been looking for something to put my mind at ease in regards to email storage, backup, and even reduction. I don’t know why I had never heard of it, but I stumbled across MailStore, which offers a free home version called, get this, MailStore Home.

MailStore Home will back up and archive email from many different clients, including Outlook, Thunderbird, Exchange, GMail, Yahoo mail, and others. At first I thought it was too good to be true, but after installing it I was quickly impressed with the simplicity and ease of use.

I had soon archived my two biggest email accounts, and even burned them to DVD through the MailStore application itself. Knowing DVD’s aren’t indestructible, I also backed up the archive using Carbonite (another of my favorite apps).

Going back into a MailStore archive is very easy, and it lets you read email, open, and even search mail and contents of attachments.

Once I was convinced that I had succesfully archived and backed up all my email, I was able to go through my Inboxes and delete over 1GB of email.  Hopefully, this will allow MozBackup to run more smoothly, if I ever really need it again in the first place.

If you find yourself with an unweildy inbox and a nagging feeling that you haven’t done anything to back it  up, go grab MailStore Home now.

mailStore Home: http://www.mailstore.com/en/mailstore-home.aspx

Practical Security: Secure Email on Public Wifi Spots

In my revised capacity at my current job, I’ve been handling a lot of
security issues: hardening of systems, software, and processes. I’ve
also been studying for the Security+ certification, so needless to say,
security has been at the top of my mind the last 5 months, and I wish it
would be at least a little closer to the tops of the general public’s
mind.

I’m going to start a new series of blog posts here called Practical
Security in which I will pass on some of the more relevant best
practices relating to the typical internet user, in hopes of helping to
raise awareness amongst anyone who happens to read this blog. (Yes, all
4 of you).

Using Email on Public Wifi
(and the high level of risks therein)

Question:
How often do you stop at a coffee shop to check your email with your
laptop, or leech that open ‘linksys’ network while sitting at a traffic
light with your PDA to shoot off a quick note to your boss? OK, maybe
I’m the only one who does that at traffic lights, but you get my point.

If you have a portable device that can access the Internet, my guess is
that your answer is “quite often”.

Question:
How many of you have configured your email to use some sort of
encryption? (Cue the crickets chirping).

As this excellent StopDesign article explains:

What you may not realize is how easy these low security settings
allow someone else on the same network to spy on the data passing around
on that network. Just because you’re the only person who can see your
laptop screen, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the only one who can see
the email message you just got from a friend. Just as easily as someone
could sit near you in a quiet cafe or library and overhear your entire
verbal conversation with another person, so could they “listen in” on
all the usernames, passwords, and messages passing to and from your
computer. (And everyone else’s computer for that matter.)

Kinda scary, huh? If you think about it, once they have your email
account password, it’s not too hard to go to your bank and generate a
“lost password” request, which will get sent to your email address,
which they now have control of. Or they might simply decide to send a
breakup letter to your boyfriend on your behalf if they are not feeling
so malicious. Or maybe they thought it would be funny to email your
boss and tell him how good he looks when he gets out of the shower.

By default, email is not secure!

Yes, this includes you, Mac user. Yes, this includes you, Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail/AOL user.

Make sure your email is on a secure connection!

The Lowdown
If you use a webmail service such as Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Gmail, or the
like, make sure your web browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox,
etc) is in “secure” mode by looking for the lock icon. Alternately (or
additionally), look at the address bar of your web browser to make sure
the address showing starts with https and not just http.

If you use Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Mac Mail, or any other
‘program’ on your computer to manage your email, there are ways to set
up these applications to run only on secure connections using SSL, TLS,
SSH, and other methods. You may need to consult your local IT guru or
read the rest of the StopDesign article, or this well-written article entitled “5 Steps to Make Your Email Secure“.

Whatever you do, stop checking your email at Starbucks unless you know
it is secure!

Practical Security : Using Email on Public Wifi

In my revised capacity at my current job, I’ve been handling a lot of
security issues: hardening of systems, software, and processes. I’ve
also been studying for the Security+ certification, so needless to say,
security has been at the top of my mind the last 5 months, and I wish it
would be at least a little closer to the tops of the general public’s
mind.

I’m going to start a new series of blog posts here called Practical
Security in which I will pass on some of the more relevant best
practices relating to the typical internet user, in hopes of helping to
raise awareness amongst anyone who happens to read this blog. (Yes, all
4 of you).

Using Email on Public Wifi (and the high level of risks
therein)

Question:
How often do you stop at a coffee shop to check your email with your
laptop, or leech that open ‘linksys’ network while sitting at a traffic
light with your PDA to shoot off a quick note to your boss? OK, maybe
I’m the only one who does that at traffic lights, but you get my point.

If you have a portable device that can access the Internet, my guess is
that your answer is “quite often”.

Question:
How many of you have configured your email to use some sort of
encryption? (Cue the crickets chirping).

As this excellent StopDesign
article explains:

What you may not realize is how easy these low security settings
allow someone else on the same network to spy on the data passing around
on that network. Just because you’re the only person who can see your
laptop screen, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the only one who can see
the email message you just got from a friend. Just as easily as someone
could sit near you in a quiet cafe or library and overhear your entire
verbal conversation with another person, so could they “listen in” on
all the usernames, passwords, and messages passing to and from your
computer. (And everyone else’s computer for that matter.)

Kinda scary, huh? If you think about it, once they have your email
account password, it’s not too hard to go to your bank and generate a
“lost password” request, which will get sent to your email address,
which they now have control of. Or they might simply decide to send a
breakup letter to your boyfriend on your behalf if they are not feeling
so malicious. Or maybe they thought it would be funny to email your
boss and tell him how good he looks when he gets out of the shower.

By default, email is not secure!

Yes, this includes you, Mac user. Yes, this includes you,
Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail/AOL user.

Make sure your email is on a secure connection!

The Lowdown
If you use a webmail service such as Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Gmail, or the
like, make sure your web browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox,
etc) is in “secure” mode by looking for the lock icon. Alternately (or
additionally), look at the address bar of your web browser to make sure
the address showing starts with https and not just http.

If you use Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Mac Mail, or any other
‘program’ on your computer to manage your email, there are ways to set
up these applications to run only on secure connections using SSL, TLS,
SSH, and other methods. You may need to consult your local IT guru or
read the rest of the StopDesign
article, or this well-written article entitled “5 Steps to Make Your Email Secure“.

Whatever you do, stop checking your email at Starbucks unless you know
it is secure!

Clicky