Friday, January 29, 2010

It's time to say goodbye to IE6.

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It can be hard to say goodbye to something familiar. A favorite toy, an old coat, a well-used picnic blanket... they all hold fond memories. But if Internet Eplorer 6 were an old coat, it would be a flammable polyester one infested with bugs, that was secretly giving you a rash every time you wore it. It's time to say goodbye to IE6.

The security breach at Google, amongst other locations, targeted computers that have IE6 installed, because they have so many security vulnerablities. IE6 is notoriously HTML non-compliant, so web pages can look substantially different on IE6 than they do on modern web browsers. (Test your browser, to see how standards compliant it is!) Because of its non-compliance and limitations, more and more companies are refusing to support IE6 browsers, including Google Apps, and more and more organizations are pushing people to upgrade, like the German Government.

IE8 is not perfect, and still has security vulnerabilities that are being discovered. But it is light years better. Like most modern browsers, it will warn you about phishing attempts, which protects not only from computer viruses, but also identity theft, and even the possibility of giving hackers access to your bank account.

If you have a custom application that requires the use of IE6, it may not be possible for you to upgrade your version of IE. If that's the case, please download Firefox, and use it whenever you are not using the custom application. The security holes in IE6 may mean that you are compromising all the data on your computer, or that spammers are using your computer (and your Pobox account!) to send spam and viruses, if you continue to use it for your daily browsing.

Nearly 90% of Pobox customers have already made the switch. We hope that you guys will spread the good word to friends and family members you might see using IE6, or even do them a favor, and help them upgrade their computer! For the last 10%, it's time to make the switch.

Yes, Jenn, I'm talking to you.

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Feature: Spam to Report folder

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Mailstore customers have an easy new tool for reporting spam directly from their email program!

We've added a "Spam to Report" folder to all Mailstore accounts. (If you don't see it, you may need to resynchronize your account, or quit your email program, then reopen it.) To report a message as spam, just drag or save it to that folder. Our spam reporter checks those folders for spam regularly. When it finds a message, it is sent to Cloudmark as a spam report, and deleted from your account.

Cloudmark analyzes the message content, to find elements that may have come from different email addresses or locations, but that have all been reported as spam. All Pobox accounts run the Cloudmark spam filter, unless you're an old custom user who hasn't upgraded to Pobox Recommendations. So, submissions to Cloudmark work to improve filters that are automatically applied to your account!

Webmail users have been able to report messages as spam for some time, and we are very pleased to be able to extend this feature to all Mailstore customers, regardless of where they are reading their messages.

In order to take advantage of "Spam to Report", your Mailstore account must be using IMAP. That's because only IMAP synchronizes changes you make on your computer with our server. POP3 accounts could put mail in the Spam to Report folder, but we would never see those messages when the reporter ran, because they would only be on your computer. If you need to switch your account to IMAP, you can find instructions in the Help section.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Where in the World is Carmen Spamdiego?

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Spam comes from all over the world. But, like the future, it's not evenly distributed. According to a 2009 security report by Cisco (pdf), the top geographic producers of spam, in trillions of messages per year, are:
  1. Brazil: 7.7
  2. USA: 6.6
  3. India: 3.6
  4. South Korea: 3.1
  5. Turkey: 2.6
  6. Vietnam: 2.5
  7. China: 2.4
  8. Poland: 2.4
  9. Russia: 2.3
  10. Argentina: 1.5
Tired of getting spam that's traveled around the world to reach you? Pobox offers geographic-based filters that lets you block mail from specific countries, or whole continents! They will block all mail from that country or continent, so don't block mail from Europe if you've got a pen pal in Poland or a grandma in Germany. But if your only encounter with South America is eating brazil nuts, you might take a big bite out of your spam by blocking that mail.

"Where's Nigeria?" you might ask, examining this list. Nigeria and other places are the source of many, many email scams, which have been going on much longer than you might suspect. Sometimes known as 419 scams, these are the messages you receive promising you untold millions for a small measure of assistance. There's actually a human being at the other end of these messages, as a story of trickster vs. trickster on This American Life showed. So, the volume tends to be smaller than the bot and zombie-driven traffic of other countries.

Do you represent part of the 6.6 trillion messages coming out of the US this year? OK, you don't if you live anywhere else, but are you part of your country's spam output? Infected PCs are one of the major sources of spam worldwide. Running up-to-date anti-virus software (or avoiding a virus in the first place) is the best way to make sure you're not part of the problem. "But, Vanessa, anti-virus software is so expensive!" Not so, my friends. Immunet is now offering free anti-virus software, so go download it today.