Why you should subscribe to our e-mail spam and virus filtering service

When analyzing how much of the email that comes into web hosting accounts, we discovered that it’s 94% spam and viruses. Thanks to our mail filtering device, most of that is blocked or quarantined. I went to google to look for stats, and found that our figure agrees with what’s reported by most other ISPs. A graph from one of our mail filters shows the severity of the spam problem, which is universal.

Spam or junk mail is out of control

Increases in junk mail has required us to invest in mail filtering appliances and software, which is the case for many large companies and universities. However, not all companies can afford to make this investment. We offer mail filtering for web sites whether they are hosted with us or not. For a low monthly rate, your domain’s email can be protected. Pricing starts at $15.00 per month, for up to 10 mail accounts.

Using the service is easy. A simple change is made to your DNS. No software needs to be installed on any of your systems. We do still recommend that each of your machines has an anti-virus application installed. While most viruses are email borne, there are still risks associated with simply being connected to the Internet.

For more information, or to sign up, please contact us.

Please keep your passwords private!

There are individuals who may send email to you, asking for your account password, or asking you to login to a web site to change your password. These people are posing as technical support people in an attempt to get your account password from you. Once they have your account password, they login to webmail and use your address to send out thousands of “spam” messages across the Internet.

There are a few steps you can take to make sure your account isn’t “hijacked” to use for spamming (sending junk email). First, and most important, never give your password to anyone who is requesting it by email. Don’t login to any web site to change your password or enter your current password on the request of anyone by email. If we feel your account has been compromised we’ll change your password for you. We’ll never email to ask you to do it.

You can read more about this kind of activity, called “phishing,” by going to the following URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing

Second, please make sure your password is strong enough to prevent someone from guessing it. If your username and password are the same, you’re a potential target for account hijacking. Your password should contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and some other character(s), such as symbols or punctuation. Here are a few examples of good and bad passwords.

GOOD passwords
————–
M9ADu%3wQ! (good)
NtiL@e_D5o1sig (even better – more characters)

BAD passwords
————-
1234 (one of the most commonly used and easily guessed passwords)
spaniel (a word in the dictionary)

Please check your password here:
http://tinyurl.com/safe-passwords
If your password strength is not rated “strong” or “best,” it should be changed immediately!

If you have ANY reason to believe that someone has guessed your password, please call us to change it immediately.

I use your mail filter and am still receiving spam messages

If you’re a ConnectNC web hosting customer enrolled in ConnectNC spam and virus filtering and are still getting spam messages, here’s what you can do.

  1. Google how to “view full headers” for the mail program you use
  2. Look for the word barracuda in the internet headers of the junk mail received
  3. If the word barracuda or IP address of 65.162.17.8 is seen then:
    1. The users that use outlook can go to http://mailfilter.connectnc.com:8000/cgi-mod/index.cgi and download the outlook plugin to report the spam directly to the manufacturer
    2. For users not on outlook they will need to copy and paste the internet headers into a text file – 1 text file per header please – and send to us. We do not need the headers of all emails just a few examples. If more are needed we will request them.
    3. If the word barracuda or IP address of 65.162.17.8 is not seen in the internet headers then the end user will need to go to http://www.spamcop.net/ to report the spam.

Spammers will sometimes use old DNS to send spam messages in hopes of bypassing filters and if that is the case we cannot do anything about them. It would be nice if we could force them to update the DNS to see the filter but unfortunately that is just not the case.

Another thing to keep in mind is to not advertise your email address on your web site use Contact forms instead. This will ensure that your email address remains hidden from spammers. Contact us if we can be of any assistance in helping you create forms for your site.

Barracuda Reputation System

Why have I received a message from the ConnectNC Mail Filter, telling me that my IP address listed on the Barracuda Reputation System as having a “poor” reputation?

Answer:
The “poor” reputation may have been caused by one of the following reasons:

  • Your email server contains a virus and has been sending out spam.
  • Your email server may be misconfigured.
  • Your PC may be infected with a virus or botnet software program.
  • Someone in your organization may have a PC infected with a virus or botnet program.
  • You may be utilizing a dynamic IP address which was previously utilized by a known spammer.
  • Another customer of your ISP/hosting provider is a spammer, or has been reported as a spammer.
  • Your marketing department may be sending out bulk emails that do not comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
  • You may have an insecure wireless network which is allowing unknown users to use your network to send spam.

Barracuda Networks is not attempting to block your individual emails in particular. The reputation system uses automated algorithms for determining its results — very similar to the anti-fraud mechanisms used for credit cards.

What you should do: Contact your Hosting or Internet Service Provider to inform them of the problem. If the IP address displayed in the message does not belong to ConnectNC, tech support will direct you to call the provider who owns that IP address, since the IP address owner will need to remedy the situation.

You should also request removal here:

http://www.barracudacentral.org/rbl/removal-request

Password Policy

User Password Policy

For your protection, we require you to create passwords with a combination of alpha (mixed upper and lower case), numeric and special characters.

Passwords comprised entirely of common words in the dictionary, numbers only, names or identical to your ConnectNC userid are not acceptable.

New accounts with insecure passwords will be disabled until the insecure password is changed.

Bad Passwords:

  • Pinehurst
  • captainkirk
  • secret
  • 121212

Good Passwords:

  • 975P’nhursT
  • 3F4Ub$fx
  • X_Sec2r3t!

Remember, if your password is identified by someone else, your Internet access account can be used to deface a web site or engage in other malicious activity. This isn’t only for your protection, it’s to protect our entire network!

To create a secure password, you can use this strong password generator plugin for Firefox
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/135/

You can also generate strong passwords online at http://www.safepasswd.com/