Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What to do if you get hacked.

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A friend of mine had her Hotmail account hacked today.  A message went out to everyone in her address book, telling them she had been mugged in London, and could they possibly help her get back to the states?  Needless to say, she was safe and sound in New York.  However, scams that prey on your personal contacts are incredibly effective for quick scams.  So, what can you do if your email account is compromised by scammers or hackers?

1. I can't overstate enough the importance of good, single use passwords for your email account.  Keeping people out of your account will always be the best way to protect yourself.

2.  Assume you won't have access to your primary email account.  The first thing the scammers did was change the password on her account, so she couldn't log in.  She had a second account set up, so she could still access her email, and tell people that she was ok.  As a Pobox customer, you can always send mail out through us.  You can also forward mail to more than one account.  And, of course, if your forwarding address is compromised, you can always log in to your Pobox account and change where we send it (or keep it with us by upgrading to a Mailstore account.)

3. Make sure you have a copy of your contacts on your computer.  Especially if you use a webmail provider as your primary email account, you may have many addresses that only appear in your online address book.  Keeping an up-to-date copy on your computer means you can tell as many people as possible that everything is OK. (Find out how to export your contacts from Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail.)

4.  Set up security questions for all email accounts that are open.  The scammers in my friend's case used her old Hotmail account, which was still active, even though Gmail is her primary email address now.  She has still not been able to get back into the account, because she did not have secondary verification information set up. Update your Pobox security question.

5.  Shut down your old accounts.  An account you don't log into is the one you won't notice getting compromised, until someone calls you from out of the blue to tell you you're spamming them.

What should you do if you get an email from one of your contacts, asking you to send them money in a hurry?  The best and easiest way to verify that they're ok is, as AT&T used to say, "reach out and touch someone."  Pick up the phone and call; until voice replicators become common, someone's voice will be the hardest thing for a scammer to fake.

Getting hacked can happen to the best of us.  Open wireless networks, getting online in a cafe,  using an open terminal to print out a boarding pass from your hotel -- there are many, many ways a malicious user could get access to your password.  Taking some simple steps now can help take the pain out of recovery if something should happen in the future.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Introducing Mailstore Archive!

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We're pleased to announce a new feature for Mailstore accounts today -- Mailstore Archive!  Archive offers two new options, in addition to the standard delivery to your Inbox:
  • Inbox + Archive: to have your mail to go to both your Mailstore Inbox, and to your Archives folders
  • Archive Only: Don't send messages to your Inbox, just store them in your Archives folders
Archives can be separated on daily or monthly basis.  We've been testing them in-house, so I'll tell you how we've been using them by way of example.

I read all my mail on Mailstore.  I'm using Inbox + Archive, and storing my archived mail in monthly folders.  Now, when I read my email in my Inbox, I only move messages that I need to be able to find quickly by topic into folders, and delete other messages as I deal with them or respond to them, and use my Archives folders as my stored copy.

Otto uses his Mailstore account as a secondary backup account.  He  reads his mail at one of his forwarding addresses, and uses his Mailstore account in case his forwarding address is unavailable.  He uses Archive Only, and stores mail in daily folders, so he can quickly look at messages from the last day or two only.

Tim prefers managing his mail manually.  After testing Archives, he switched back to Inbox Only, so his mail just goes to his Inbox, and he moves it to folders as he likes.

The standard behavior for all Mailstore accounts is Inbox Only right now, but we hope you'll check out the Archive options.  If you turn on Inbox + Archives, we'll begin putting all mail that comes to your Mailstore into Archives folders.  If you use Archives Only and you also use email filters to direct messages into specific folders, messages that are not assigned to another folder will go into the Archives folders.

If you have any questions about the new Mailstore Archive feature, or need any assistance, please let us know!