Verizon Gives Up on Email Service

Do you use a Verizon email account? Pretty soon, that could be an AOL account. I missed this story entirely until my dad called me asking what he should do with his Verizon email account. At first I thought my dad was a victim of a phishing attack… but as is usually the case… my dad was right and I was wrong.

So after my dad called I did a little research and this is what I discovered.

Verizon has recently been notifying customers that it is giving up control of 4.5 million customer email accounts and will be migrating those accounts to AOL — a move that may give some flashbacks to the 1990’s. (Although I do not expect any free CD’s!)

Customers have 30 days to choose one of three options before they lose access to their accounts:

  1. Head over to AOL.
  2. Transfer their email to another provider or
  3. Leave their accounts alone to be deleted.

Verizon users who choose the AOL option will still be able to keep their existing addresses, which will carry the “verizon.net” ending. They will, however, have to let Verizon know that they want to hang on to their addresses and log in through AOL’s system from now on.

Why the change? According to an information page on Verizon’s website, the company stated that it realized there are “more capable email platforms out there”, including AOL Mail, which has been owned by Verizon since 2015.

Migrating from Verizon to AOL will apparently be easy. Users interested in keeping their email addresses will not have to do much. Verizon will migrate the contacts, calendars, email and other information to AOL for them.

Depending on your situation AOL may actually be the right choice, however this will also be a good time for many to look at service providers like Google & Microsoft.

For my dad, I am thinking AOL will be his best option.

Share This:

Building Fuzzy Engine

While the very notion of a lightweight email search tool may seem quaint in this mobile/cloud era, Microsoft may actually be on to something here. Its new Email Insights app for Windows 10 promises faster, more relevant email searches than what’s possible today in Microsoft Outlook or Gmail.

“Searching through emails can be tedious at times,” the Email Insights website notes. “You might have to keep scrolling to find that elusive email. We present a lightweight no-frills email application to alleviate these problems.”

Searching your email can be a daunting and frustrating experience and Email Insights strives to finally rectify this problem. That app works with both Outlook 2016 and Gmail. You can download Email Insight from the Windows Store.

I tested the new app today and I can report that it works as advertised, and seems to work quickly. Email appears inline in the search results, and you can expand each message individually to read more.

Be aware that the install took almost 10 minutes for me (Surface Book) and I really enjoyed some of the messages during install like, “Building Fuzzy Engine” which I have no idea what it means.

I believe that Email Insights will be a big deal for Outlook users, since that application is so terrible (with searches). Further, this would be a much bigger deal if Microsoft simply integrated this technology into Outlook 2016 itself.

According to Microsoft, the reason for Email Insights was simple enough: Email search sucks. (Remember that these are Microsoft guys, so they are probably using Outlook. Email search in Gmail is excellent.)

“The email search experience today lags far behind the web search experience,” Microsoft notes. “A user might search for an email with some keywords and keep scrolling down the search results to find that elusive email. A user has to remember the keywords from an email or the spelling of peoples’ names to get to the required email. Moreover, having a complex application with hundreds of features is an overkill for doing some quick tasks like send one liner emails.”

If regularly searching email for specific content is an issue for you, Email Insights is worth checking out. However I do hope that this solution will simply become a part of Microsoft’s email services and applications at some point.

Share This:

New Phishing Scam Alert

We’ve been seeing plenty of phishing scams lately.

What are Phishing Scams?

These are when cybercriminals try to get unsuspecting victims to click on a malicious link to steal their private information. It’s usually carried out through an email where the scammer imitates a legitimate person or business.

Image result for phishing scam

Thieves will go through great lengths to create a message that appears to be from someone you trust. The latest attack that you need to know about is a malicious email claiming to be from Microsoft.

Current Active Phishing Scam

The email has a subject line that states, “Your Banking Assets Are Blocked.” The message claims to be from Benedict Brown, who is representing Microsoft Security Office. Warning: This is a fake email and contains a malicious link.

How this phishing attack works

fake-email

If you receive this email, delete it immediately. You also need to know how to prevent falling victim to a phishing scam.As you can see in the image above, the message tells the recipient that suspicious activity has been found with their bank accounts. It goes on to claim that their computer is infected with a virus or an exploit impacting banking operations.

The scammer says they have included a full report containing all relevant information pertaining to the suspicious activity. The recipient is then asked to download the report from an official server by clicking a link at the bottom of the message.

The link will actually take you to a malicious site that could infect your gadget with malware. Once you get to the site, you’ll be asked to open a malicious Office document. Then you will be asked to enable macros to view the document.

If you enable macros, your gadget will be infected with Neutrino bot malware. This malware allows the scammer to do several things:

  • Steal personal data – The cybercriminal can capture keystrokes, do form grabbing, and take screenshots from your gadget.
  • Perform DDoS attacks – DDoS stands for “distributed denial of service,” which is a techy way of saying “crashing a system or the whole internet.” It works when a targeted website or server is flooded by an overwhelming amount of requests from millions of connected machines in order to bring it down.
  • Download more malware
  • Make spoof DNS requests – Domain Name Server (DNS) spoofing is when cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities found in the domain name server. They do this to redirect traffic from legit servers to fake ones.

Tips for Avoiding Phishing Scams

  • Be cautious with links – If you get an email or notification that you find suspicious, don’t click on its links. It’s better to type the website’s address directly into a browser. Before you ever click on a link, hover over it with your mouse to see where it is going to take you. If the destination isn’t what the link claims, do not click on it.
  • Do NOT enable macros – You should never download Word or Excel files attached to unsolicited emails to begin with. If you do open one of these documents and it says that you need to turn on macros, close the file and delete it immediately.
  • Do an online search – If you get a notification about something that seems shady, do an online search on the topic. If it’s a scam, there are probably people online complaining about it and you can find more information.
  • Watch for typos – Phishing scams are infamous for having typos. If you receive an email or notification from a reputable company, it should not contain typos.
  • Know what phishing emails look like – Typically, there are obvious signs that give away the fact that an email is fake.
  • Use multi-level authentication – When available, you should be using multi-level authentication. This is when you have at least two forms of verification, such as a password and a security question before you log into any sensitive accounts. .
  • Have strong security software – Having strong protection on your family’s gadgets is very important. The best defense against digital threats is strong security software.

Share This:

Beware Holiday Email Scams

It’s the holiday season, which means shopping is buzzing more than usual. Many of us are are using online storefronts to purchase our gifts. While this is quite convenient, it can also lead to some problems.

holidayscams-100532824-primaryidge

We know that scam emails are nothing new, but recently a fake email claiming to come from Amazon has cycled around. The message reads as follows:

Hello,

There was a problem processing your order. You will not be able to access your account or place orders with us until we confirm your information.click here to confirm your account. We ask that you not open new accounts as any order you place may be delayed.

 

For more details, read our Amazon Prime Terms & Conditions.

Of course, this is garbage. Clicking on the link in this email leads you to a fake “Amazon” login page, where the scammers ask you to kindly enter your credit card information. Once you’ve done so, it redirects you to the real Amazon website, but the damage is already done.

It’s worth reiterating email safety tips so you don’t fall victim to traps like these. Never click through links in emails that ask for personal information. If you receive an email you aren’t sure about, go to amazon.com in your browser and sign into your account from there. Amazon and other reputable companies will never ask you for your password or other sensitive info via email.

Amazon also asks that if you receive a spoofed email like this, forward it to stop-spoofing@amazon.com so they can review it.

Of course, this is garbage. Clicking on the link in this email leads you to a fake “Amazon” login page, where the scammers ask you to kindly enter your credit card information. Once you’ve done so, it redirects you to the real Amazon website, but the damage is already done.

It’s worth reiterating email safety tips so you don’t fall victim to traps like these. Never click through links in emails that ask for personal information. If you receive an email you aren’t sure about, go to amazon.com in your browser and sign into your account from there. Amazon and other reputable companies will never ask you for your password or other sensitive info via email.

Amazon also asks that if you receive a spoofed email like this, forward it to stop-spoofing@amazon.com so they can review it.

Share This:

Technology Training for November 10, 2016

Today’s Technology Training shared for all of our dedicated readers.

Share This:

FBI Probes More Emails from Clinton’s Private Server

This is not a political blog. We cover technology. In an example of just how technology is tangled in our lives is the current presidential election. This year’s presidential election has been tied up and may hinge on something that we should all be aware of.

Email management.

I have spoken about it, I have written about it, and I have taught classes on it. Over the past 20 years we have all become so comfortable with it that we often use it unwisely. Countless people have lost their job over it. This included General David Petraeus who in the November of 2012 was forced to resign as Director of the CIA. Although there were other behaviors that resulted in this resignation, General Petraeus’ email management played a role as well.

Of course we all use email, both at home and at work for many topics. Most will not get you in trouble. However it is easier then you may think to get in legal trouble.

Who Our Next President Is May Rest on Email Management

Now less then 2 weeks from the election for the presidency of the United States one of the candidates is answering questions about her email management and the conversations found.

The FBI has uncovered new emails related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, prompting federal authorities to investigate them.

The FBI discovered the emails as part of an “unrelated case,” FBI Director James Comey said in a letter to a congressional committee that was later tweeted on Friday.

103894270-gettyimages-534816054-530x298

These emails “appear to be pertinent” to the FBI’s original investigation into Clinton’s private server use, which the agency wrapped up back in July, Comey said. Clinton, now the Democratic nominee for U.S. president, used the private server while she served as Secretary of State.

Comey said he agreed to allow the FBI to determine if the newly uncovered emails contain any classified information, “as well as to assess their importance” to its original investigation.

The FBI can’t say whether the emails are significant or how long the agency will take to probe them, he added.

On Friday, the FBI confirmed that a letter was sent out to members of Congress but declined to offer further comment.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, said on Twitter the FBI had essentially reopened its investigation into Clinton’s private email server use.

“She was entrusted with some of our nation’s most important secrets, and betrayed that trust by carelessly mishandling highly classified information,” he said in a statement.

He’s asking the U.S. director of national intelligence to suspend all classified briefings with Clinton until the matter is resolved.

Clinton and her presidential campaign have yet to respond to the FBI’s new investigation.

In July, the FBI concluded that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her use of a private email server, but the agency didn’t recommend filing any charges against her.

The FBI said Clinton’s server faced ongoing cyber threats from possible hackers, including phishing email attacks and failed login attempts. However, the agency found no evidence confirming that the server was ever compromised.

The letter from FBI’s director didn’t mention how the newly uncovered emails were obtained or where they came from.

However, recently stolen emails from a Clinton aide have been published through WikiLeaks and include allegedly thousands of private messages between U.S. officials and her staff.

The Fate of a Nation

What happens in the next 2 weeks no one knows. The course of the the most powerful nation this world has ever seen may rest on…. email.

Share This:

Checking your Email Security with Hacked

Hardly a week goes by when we do not hear about a security breach at some company that results in the loss of user credentials and other personal information. The sheer numbers of these events can also be challenging to keep up with these days.

Screenshot: See all the breaches your email was found in and exactly was was taken in that breach

This past week a new Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app arrived for Windows 10 that can provide us all with the ability to easily keep up with these breaches and it just takes a little initial work from us to get started.

Hacked is from Lancelot Software and you will find it available through the Windows Store for both desktops, tablets and mobile Windows 10 devices.

The features of Hacked? according to the software developer include:

  • Easy to use: All you need to do is enter the email address you want monitored – Hands-off: Background monitoring of all your email addresses
  • Safe: The app uses the industry-trusted Troy Hunt’s massive haveibeenpwned database of breaches
  • Updated: the haveibeenpwned database scans pastes frequently, you’ll always have fresh data to compare against
  • Privacy: This app will never share your email addresses with anyone outside of the haveibeenpwned API (which itself uses the secure HTTPS protocol)
  • After testing this app I have one big request for the author – cloud sync of the accounts I add to Hacked? on different devices.

Currently you must manually enter all of the accounts you want tracked on each device which unfortunately can be very labor intensive.

Share This:

Avoiding Email Scams with 10 Easy Tips

Recently I have been asked about a couple of suspicious email messages, which were both of course not legitimate messages but scams in which the sender, a truly bad guy was “phishing” in order to steal money from the receiver.

Every day countless phishing emails are sent to unsuspecting victims all over the world. While some of these messages are so outlandish that they are obvious frauds, others can be a bit more convincing. So how do you tell the difference between a phishing message and a legitimate message? Unfortunately, there is no one single technique that works in every situation, but there are a number of things that you can look for.

This article lists 10 of them.

1: The message contains a mismatched URL

One of the first things I recommend checking in a suspicious email message is the integrity of any embedded URLs (or website addresses). Often the URL in a phishing message will appear to be perfectly valid. However, if you hover your mouse over the top of the URL, you should see the actual hyperlinked address (at least in Outlook). If the hyperlinked address is different from the address that is displayed, the message is more then likely fraudulent or malicious.

2: URLs contain a misleading domain name

People who launch phishing scams often depend on their victims not knowing how the DNS naming structure for domains works. The last part of a domain name is the very telling. For example, the domain name info.brienposey.com would be a child domain of brienposey.com because brienposey.com appears at the end of the full domain name (on the right-hand side). Conversely, brienposey.com.maliciousdomain.com would clearly not have originated from brienposey.com because the reference to brienposey.com is on the left side of the domain name.

I have seen this trick used countless times by phishing artists as a way of trying to convince victims that a message came from a company like Microsoft or Apple. The phishing artist simply creates a child domain bearing the name Microsoft, Apple, or whatever. The resulting domain name looks something like this: Microsoft.maliciousdomainname.com.

I have found that sadly this often works because most people trust companies like “Microsoft” and “Apple” so when long standing names like this are used people often let their guard down. The lesson here is to never let your guard down when it comes to email messages.

3: The message contains poor spelling and grammar

Whenever a large company sends out a message on behalf of the company as a whole, the message is usually reviewed for spelling, grammar, and legality, among other things. So if a message is filled with poor grammar or spelling mistakes, it probably did not come from a major corporation’s legal department.

4: The message asks for personal information

No matter how official an email message might look, it’s always a bad sign if the message asks for personal information. Your bank does not need you to send it your account number. It already knows what that is. Similarly, a reputable company should never send an email asking for your password, credit card number, or the answer to a security question.

5: The offer seems too good to be true

There is an old saying that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That holds especially true for email messages. If you receive a message from someone unknown to you who is making big promises, the message is probably a scam.

6: You didn’t initiate the action

Just yesterday I received an email message informing me I had won the lottery! The only problem is that I have never-ever bought a lottery ticket. If you get a message informing you that you have won a contest you did not enter, you can bet that the message is a scam.

7: You’re asked to send money to cover expenses

One telltale sign of a phishing email is that you will eventually be asked for money. You might not get hit up for cash in the initial message. But sooner or later, phishing artists will likely ask for money to cover expenses, taxes, fees, or something similar. If that happens, you can bet that it’s a scam.

8: The message makes unrealistic threats

Although most of the phishing scams try to trick people into giving up cash or sensitive information by promising instant riches, some phishing artists use intimidation to scare victims into giving up information. If a message makes unrealistic threats, it’s probably a scam. Let me give you an example.

Just recently a workmate received an official looking email that was allegedly from a co-worker. The email went on to ask for our “account number” and “routing number”. Although it appeared to be an email from one staffer to another staffer the email originated from a hidden domain and as I mentioned in Tip #3 the spelling and grammar was poor.

Also – As I mentioned in Tip #4 – legitimate companies will not ask for sensitive information by email and you – of course should never-ever send this type of information via email.

9: The message appears to be from a government agency

Phishing artists who want to use intimidation don’t always pose as a bank. Sometimes they will send messages claiming to have come from a law enforcement agency like the IRS, the FBI, or just about any other entity that might scare the average law-abiding citizen.

I can’t tell you how government agencies work outside the United States. But here, government agencies do not normally use email as an initial point of contact. That isn’t to say that law enforcement and other government agencies don’t use email. However, law enforcement agencies follow certain protocols. They do not engage in email-based extortion.

10: Something just doesn’t look right

In Las Vegas, casino security teams are taught to look for anything that JDLRjust doesn’t look right, as they call it. The idea is that if something looks off, there’s probably a good reason why. This same principle also applies to email messages. If you receive a message that seems suspicious, it is usually in your best interest to avoid acting on the message.

Share This:

Microsoft Begins to Introduce “Outlook Premium”

Recently, Microsoft very quietly started testing a Premium subscription for Outlook.com. I love this free email service & interface. It is easy to use and compatible with every service that I can find.

Now, Microsoft seems to have updated the official registration page for Outlook.com Premium, which now states that the service will cost $3.99 per month. However, users will be able to try out the feature free for a year, which is quite impressive. It is worth noting that Microsoft could possibly allow Office 365 users to use Outlook.com Premium for free, which will be a good offer, too. For those unfamiliar, here are just some of the features of Outlook.com Premium:

The upcoming Outlook.com Premium features:

  • Five personalized email addresses: Get personalized email addresseslikemichael@smithcrew.com* for up to five people. Your new email syncs with your existing Outlook.com mailbox, so there’s no additional setup.
  • Staying connected has never been so easy: Share calendars, contacts, and documents with ease. Sharing relationships are set up automatically between the people who have email addresses on your domain.
  • An ad-free inbox: Outlook.com Premium has no banner ads, so you can enjoy a distraction-free view of your email, photos and documents.
  • Powered by the new Outlook.com: Gain access to a new, modern inbox that includes enhanced security, privacy, and reliability features. Outlook.com gives you new ways to collaborate, manage your time, and get things done.

 

Outlook.com Premium is currently in the Pilot stage, and Microsoft is allowing users to sign-up for the service. I hope to be included in this pilot program soon and will of course report here if it is worth the $3.99 a month.

Share This:

Email Issues with Outlook 2016 for POP3 Arise

Having any issues with deleted or duplicated emails lately?

A recent Microsoft Support Knowledge Base article has been posted that describes a problem with POP3 accounts.

POP3 accounts are what providers such as Verizon and Comcast rely on for their email service.

outlook

The article, KB3145116, describes the following as the symptoms that are indicative of this issue:

  • After Outlook downloads your email, all the email messages on the server are deleted from the Inbox.
  • Email messages are downloaded multiple times in Outlook, causing duplicate items.

The issues described above occur if you are using Outlook 2016 version 16.0.6568.2025 and have setup any email accounts that are accessed using the POP3 protocol.

There are three settings that may cause the inadvertent and unexpected removal or duplication of emails if you have the Leave a copy of messages on the Server enabled along with these options:

  • If Remove from server after X days is enabled it may cause emails to be deleted from your account on the server.
  • If Remove from server after X days is disabled it may cause emails to be duplicated in your local account.
Outloook 2016 POP3 Account Settings

Microsoft is currently looking into this problem and will update the knowledge base article once they have more information. I am sure an appropriate update will also be shipped once they know what needs to be updated/modified.

In the interim they have published two workaround options for this which include using IMAP instead of POP3, if your service provider supports it of course, while the second method is to revert back to a previous version of Outlook/Office 2016.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to use either of those options so hopefully this gets resolved sooner rather than later.

If you can take advantage of either workaround you can get the full step by step process on the KB3145116 page at Microsoft’s Support site.

Share This:

1 2 3 4