Simple Rules for Avoiding Malware in Email

Here’s a bit of a writeup I did for some folks who were being hit with a bout of malware email messages (the actual attachments were being removed by our filters).

The message(s) you received were an attempt to infect your computer with malware, the mail server on receiving the message removed the dangerous attachment but in general if you receive an attachment that you’re not expecting, do not open it – malware writers are creative and may come up with something that the mail server won’t block, at least not while the attack is new. This is the first attempt I remember seeing that pretended to be travel arrangements, but it’s not a surprising development.

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ESVACommunity.com is the new home for ESVA (Email Security Virtual Appliance) (2011-August)

Information and links about the ESVA anti-spam prebuilt VM. Its current home is now http://www.esvacommunity.com/ since the creator & original maintainer have become inactive. […]

(Fix) postfix: Recipient address rejected: Domain not found

We had a problem last weekend with Postfix not accepting email for a single domain when it was coming from outside our network, while messages from hosts on the local network were accepted and routed with no problems. Messages from outside the network were rejected with a 450 (temporary) code and the error message “Recipient address rejected: Domain not found”. The cause did end up being a DNS problem (apparently the most common kind of issue with Postfix), but not one that I would have expected (a missing host entry for the top-level domain, so example.com wouldn’t resolve even though mail.example.com did). Finding the source of the problem was complicated because of a set of several changes during a weekend maintenance window.

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Email Marketing - Use A Service

I occasionally get requests from clients for assistance with sending out email marketing to their existing clients. My advice in these situations is always the same: Use A Service.

Every client that I’ve dealt with that’s interested in this kind of marketing starts out planning to do it using their regular email account, but there are good reasons not to do so. The reasons for using a service break down into three key areas: creation of your content, distribution of your content, and management of your address list. Keep reading for some notes on those.

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Fix for Outlook 2007 Trying to Load InfoPath (Error 1605)

Just ran into this situation after a client uninstalled & reinstalled Office 2007 Pro. When Outlook was opened, it complained twice about being unable to open InfoPath because it wasn’t installed.

I found multiple other complaints about this, but no solutions (though some suggested removing and reinstalling Office). A bit of digging with SysInternals’ Process Monitor, turned up mention of not finding the somewhat promising value “DisableInfopathForms,” so I took a stab and created the value as a DWORD under the location ProcMon was reporting. Setting the value to 1 cleared the problem on Outlook startup.

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NEVER Give Out Your Password

IF support staff for a service you are using need access to your account or information within it, they can get that access without needing your password. Nobody should be asking for your password.

This applies to email (e.g. Hotmail/Windows Live, Yahoo, Google and many others), social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc.), online photos (Flickr, etc.), and especially applies to your banking and finances. NO bank or financial services employee should ever ask for your password – bank policies generally prohibit them from doing so as a firing offense.

Think of someone asking for your password the same way you’d think about a stranger walking up to you on the street and saying “Hi, I’m with the village. I need your home address and your house keys.” No matter how friendly and professional looking, would you just give your keys to a stranger like that?

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