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.

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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.

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.

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.

Microsoft’s Clutter Wants to Help Your Inbox

Last November, I reported that Microsoft made a new service, “Clutter” available to Office 365 users. Of course I had to check it out back in November and found it an extremely useful tool to de-clutter my inbox. I have been using it ever since.

I am glad to see that Microsoft is now enabling the de-cluttering feature by default as part of its email experience for Office 365 users. I bet many users do not even know this existed because it had been off by default and not promoted very well by Microsoft. However enabling this by default soon, default users will probably come to love it.

What is Clutter?

As mentioned previously, “Clutter” was a service introduced by Microsoft for Office 36 last November. The service utilizes machine learning to help keep your inbox organized; Clutter can learn from the user and tailor the email inbox allowing for a more productive experience.

Everyday email like newsletters and advertisement may not be spam but they certainly can clutter up your inbox. With clutter messages like these automatically go into a special “Clutter” folder where you can look at them when you want to. This keeps your inbox cleaner and you will be less likely to miss important email messages.

More Enhancements & Control of Your Email Clutter

Starting June 1st, Clutter will be activated by default for those in the First Release program. This will be followed up by a release to standard participants on June 15th. With the mainstream release, Microsoft will also introduce administrative controls and status reports for Clutter. These reports will show you exactly how Clutter is organizing your email and inform you when new email is being moved.

Although Clutter will be enabled by default, users will still have the ability to opt-out and disable the service on Outlook’s webpage, Outlook 2016 Preview, or clicking the the disable link at the bottom of each status report.

Check out my original November 14, 2014 article when “Clutter” was first introduced by Microsoft.

Amazon to Offer Email Service

I am not so sure about this one Amazon.com.

While I am a big fan of your amazon.com website for purchasing and Amazon Prime is amazing, and both your Kindle and Amazon Fire TV are winners I am not sure that on the heels of the disaster that was the Amazon Fire Phone trying to sell yet another email service is the best move.

Amazon has reported that they will launch an enterprise email and calendar service that competes against products from Microsoft and Google.

Called Work Mail, the product will “focus on security and ease of use”, because Amazon claims many companies view enterprise email applications as expensive and difficult to use.

“Customers are not happy with their current email solution,” Adam Selipsky, an Amazon Web Services official, told the Journal. “A lot of customers feel those solutions are expensive and complex.”

I simply do not buy this reasoning. I have heard very few people complain to me that their email service is “too confusing” or “not secure”.

Details are few today on the technology behind WorkMail and Amazon has been vague on the service details itself. WorkMail will apparently work with existing email client applications, such as Microsoft Outlook, and provide the back end email and calendaring functionality. It will compete primarily against Microsoft’s Exchange Online, which is part of the Office 365 cloud suite for businesses, and against Google Apps for Work’s Gmail component.

With the new service, Amazon is joining a host of others in the quest to upend Microsoft as the king of email and other office productivity tools. Competitors in the crowded field already include Google, with its Apps for Business, as well as many  start-up companies, including Dropbox, Evernote, Box.com, and Quip.

Good-luck Amazon.com. I will be pulling for you but I have a bad feeling about this one.

Face to Face is Best

Don’t you just hate it when you are in the middle of something and “bing” someone sends you an email. Not another interruption! But of course you just “have to” see what that bing was and you stop what you were doing to read the message. It has been said that on average we check our email an average of 37 times an hour. That’s more than once every On the other hand we typically spend only six seconds on each email.

Email hits your productivity. If you don’t manage your email, you are less able to work effectively. Research consistently shows that email is one of the biggest hits on your time and on your ability to concentrate on the work you need to do.

A study published last year confirms that the break in continuity of work due to email can affect your productivity and can actually act as constant source of disturbance.

This all suggests that we are so supremely social and that we need social stimulus to keep us going. Therefore when it comes to the office being interrupted by constant emails you become less productive than being interrupted by your work mates. Rather then getting people to send you an internal email you will do better at your job if you ask them to come over to your desk and talk to you.

There are also additional benefits in taking this kind of approach. Not only does it boost the ability to get on with the job, it also helps staff feel happier because they are now in much more real, face-to-face contact with each other. Plus there are health benefits of the increased wandering around the office, perhaps leading to fewer days off sick.

If you want to boost your personal and business productivity, the best thing you can do is to start managing your email, switching it off for most of the day, moving around and actually speaking with people directly, even your co-workers.

Archiving By 365

If you are a Microsoft 365 customer be aware that your email will be archived from time to time. While I understand why Microsoft does this it can be confusing, especially the first time this happens.

What Does This Mean?

  • Any (old) email that you have received, even if it was deleted or moved into a special folder will be moved (by Microsoft) to your “Online Archive”.
  • You can access this ‘archived mail’ on the left  pane of your microsoft Outlook client. You will find this near the bottom of the left pane. Look for “Online Archive —-your email address”.
  • Click the arrow to the right side of this and your archived email will be here. The first time you do this – it may take a minute or two depending on how much email is in your archive.

More to Know

  • Unfortunately Microsoft cannot recreate any folders you made. Theerefore all of your old email will simply be in the archive inbox. To me this is the biggest problem here. I for one am crazy for organizing everything in my life, even my inbox and to see all of this taken away is somewhat frustrating.
  • If you move any of your archived email back to its original folder it will simply revert back to the online archive. So don’t do this.
  • If you want to re-organize the archived email you will have to recreate the folders again, inside the online archive.
  • You can search the online archive in the same manner as your regular inbox.
  • You can also access your “online archive” through your Outlook client or on the Microsoft 365 Portal.
  • The online archive cannot be accessed via mobile devides (smartphones) and most tablets.

How to Set Up Multiple Email Signatures in iOS 6

Today I was asked if you can have multiple signatures on your IPhone & IPad. The good news is that yes you can, as long as you have upgraded your Apple device to iOS 6. This upgrade was made available earlier last year, so hopefully you have already completed the upgrade.

Before iOS 6, you were allowed only one common signature that appeared on each email account. Other then deleteing and adding a new email signature for each email message there was really no other way to deal with multiple email accounts.

With the new iOS each of your accounts can have it’s own distinct signature. Isn’t technology womderful! So, your work email can give all your professional information while you’re personal account can have more of a personal signature.

Here’s how to set it up:

Go to Settings on your home screen, select Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Scroll way down until you see the Signatureoption. Tap on it and you’ll see the options shows in the image below.

All Accounts will enable one signature to be sent from all your email accounts. Tap Per Account and each of your accounts will pop up, allowing you to create personalized signatures for each of them. (see image below)

Now, when you send an email, iOS 6 will automatically know which account it’s coming from and apply the correct signature.

Tis’ the Season for Email Scams

The holidays are almost here and sadly in the cyber world that means a new onslaught of potential computer risks to all of us. For example security researchers from Symantec are warning about a recently intercepted flood of Christmas themed malicious and fraudulent campaigns. Each year these malicious campaigns become more complex and dangerous. The recent campaign is an excellent example of this. Not only are the senders completely unknown by the recipients, but also, users are exposed to fraudulent e-shops for counterfeit shops.

Over the past year, there have been numerous attempts to entice users into clicking on links to fraudulent e-shops by impersonating a legitimate message or notification from respected, trusted and well known brands. These dangerous emails will without a doubt become more prevalent  as we get closer to the holidays.

As a result of these fraudulent emails I recommend common sense.  You should avoid clicking on links found in suspicious messages. Remember this lesson, “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is”.

Chase recently posted some examples of fraudulent email messages sent referring to their company. You can check them out here.

During the holiday season I will keep an eye on this situation and try to post updates when possible.

4 Computer Security Risks

Computer security is a big issue for the average computer user. But what about the security threats that are not so obvious? Here are  common computer security risks you should be aware of.
Take some time to think about these risks and protect your personal information.
Discarded Computers
People give away computers or simply send them to the dump for disposal. My friend buys old discarded computers from the DUMP store and many a time the Pcs are still full of data and personal information.

Here is what you might find on a discarded computer:

1. Sometimes there is still entire email accounts setup in email software on these computers. Simply logging onto the internet will allow you to download new emails. Wow. This means you can easily get emails to reset passwords too.

2. Personal photos and documents. Don’t know about you but I would not like a complete stranger to be viewing my personal files and photos.

3. Saved login details. For example you might have your password saved to login into your Facebook account. Bang, auto login is such a breeze!

4. Evidence of a crime. It might not be that serious but the person that gets hold of your computer could blackmail you by threatening public exposure of whatever they have discovered.

Your Own Children

Kids are natural born computer geniuses compared to most adults. Even a 5 year old is technology wise and needs to be treated as an experienced computer user.

Children are fantastic at learning what they need and altering parental controls on a computer is often an easy task, easier than it was for the adult to set them in the first place.

When children get free run on a computer they can get into all sorts of mischief. They might change the settings on the computer, use the computer for banned activities, or maybe crash the computer altogether.

The best and only way to supervise a child on a computer is to place your computer in a public area in your house and personally watch their computer time.

Fake Emails

Everyone or most people now are very aware of the risk of fake emails. These are called phishing attacks and they are emails that claim they are from a reputable company when they actually are not.

Some of these emails are obvious while other emails are professionally crafted. You might get an email saying your Ebay account has been suspended or your Paypal account has been compromised. These are the most common examples of security risks.

The best way to protect you and your computer from these emails is to never click a link from inside an email. Always go to your web browser and type in the address of the website to see if the email is in fact genuine.

Fake FREE Software

Everyone loves free stuff, especially computer software.

Here are some precautions to take:

1. Read online reviews before trying software. What’s the rush?

2. Ask yourself, do you really need this software? Will it be installed on your computer and just take up space and simply slow your computer down?

3. Download free software from sites you trust. For example I only download Microsoft freebies from the Microsoft website. This software is often repackaged with malware and spyware, so the only safe way to download is to go to the source.

4. After downloading, take the time to scan executable software with your virus scanner before installing on your computer.

Tip: Adding A Signature To Your Email

Many of you have asked from time to time, “How can I add a signature on the bottom of my email messages?”. I thought I would take the time to demonstrate one of the ways you can do this easily.

If you access your email through Web Outlook, select the “options” menu on the bottom of the left side toobar.

Then browse down and open “edit signature”.

Finally, enter what you would like your signature to look like and save. That’s it. You now have a signature that will appear on all of your email messages.

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