What Can Go Wrong with BCC

What Can Go Wrong with BCC?

Try to find someone who has not “replied all” when meaning to send to only one individual. It’s embarrassing and can aggravate those people with more emails flooding their inbox. Another common email gaffe is misusing the CC and BCC fields in outgoing messages. This mistake can prove costly for business.

You’ll have noticed those extra fields below the “To” field in your email client. CC stands for carbon copy, and BCC for blind carbon copy.

When you use CC, it’s like you’ve imprinted your message on an old blue sheet of carbon paper. The email copy sends to your To recipients as well as anyone you have CC’d. All recipients can see who else you sent your message to. This is a great way to encourage collaboration and accountability.

When you use BCC, your To recipient and anyone else you BCC’d gets the email, but you’re not showing where you sent the message. This is for when you’re addressing a large group of contacts that may not know each other, or when you are sending a group message but you want to respect the privacy of all your recipients.

The Blind Carbon Copy Nightmare

A big problem is using To or CC when meaning to use BCC. You inadvertently expose all your contacts’ email addresses. Personal contact information needs protection, and people’s privacy demands respect. You don’t want to make this mistake with a single or a few emails, or worse still hundreds or thousands of emails.

There are many examples of BCC blunders. West Ham United Football Club faces the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office fines for confirming all season ticket holders with email addresses in the CC field. In another example, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was fined US$260,000 for exposing possible victims of child abuse in the same way.

Scotland’s National Health Service messaged transgender patients with their addresses in the To field. Instead of using BCC, the sender used an open distribution list. This shared 86 Glasgow patient email addresses and, perhaps, patient names and dates of birth when the addresses incorporated those details. You can bet there were some heated replies to that message, although the reports didn’t share whether they were “reply all” or not.

Also, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on a real estate company employee mistakenly CC’ing 300 customer emails. A customer complained. The error resulted in a six-figure aftermath. Lawyers, a consulting firm, and eight full-time employees worked on a data breach response plan for weeks.

What’s Better Than BCC

Any CC or BCC blunder could be a data breach. Take care. Don’t risk the loss of customer trust and possible compliance issues.

When you need to send out an email to a large group of people when you’re not necessarily expecting a response, use mailing software such as Mailchimp. Email marketing platforms send an individual copy of your message to every person on your mailing list, so there’s no risk of your contact list being exposed.

Need help setting up your email client or getting up to speed on an email marketing platform? We can help. Contact us today at 319-227-7000

2019-12-01T17:59:03-06:00December 3rd, 2019|Email, Security|0 Comments

Don’t Let Crooks Hijack Your Domain

Don’t Let Crooks Hijack Your Domain

Don't Let Crooks Hijack Your Domain
Doing business today you are as likely to give out your website address as your email or phone number. Your Web domain is your business identity on the internet. Don’t risk falling victim to the cyber-threat known as domain hijacking.

You build up a business site to represent your brand online. Every bit of content, and all the fonts and images you selected, reflect your business. You probably also have email addresses at the domain name (e.g. [email protected]). So, imagine the pain of finding out that someone else has stolen your domain.

When your domain gets hijacked, you lose control of your website, its email addresses, and all associated accounts. And it’s not easy to recover them.

The Infosec Institute shares examples:

An advertising agency spent US$15,000 and 19 months recovering its stolen domain.

The owner of ShadeDaddy.com lost US$50,000 and had to lay off six of its eight employees. He said domain name theft is “like your house got stolen.”

How does a domain get stolen?

There are several ways this can happen to a business or individual.

The simplest is that your domain name expires, and you don’t know it. Domain registrars must send notice one month and one week before the domain expires. But the reminders might go to an email address that is no longer active or to the Web company that set your site up years ago and with whom you no longer communicate.

Once your domain rights lapse, the site gets disabled. After that, the domain name goes back into a pool of domain names for anyone to buy.

There are people who make money from purchasing domains. They hope to make money off your company’s desperation to get its domain back. Or they profit from redirecting traffic from your reputable Web address to their own.

Then there are the hijackers. These cyber-criminals also want to profit from Web traffic redirects or to access your domain emails to send false invoices. They might intercept emails sent to your domain to learn proprietary information. They could change the content on your site or redirect traffic to a hub for online gambling, or worse.

The hijackers might steal your domain by gaining access to the email account you used to set up the domain. Cyber-criminals might use phishing emails to obtain the access credentials. They use the password reset mechanism to take over your account and transfer the domain to a different registrar.

Your domain registration company could be compromised, too. It helps to pick an accredited registrar for your domain registration.

Any of these scenarios can have a serious, lasting impact on your business. Once someone else has access to your domain address they can do whatever they want with it.

Protect Against Domain Hijacking

The first step is to protect your access credentials. Leveraging two-factor authentication can also help prevent hijackers from stealing your domain. A registry lock can also help. It requires more communication if someone tries to change domain registration. This lets you know of suspicious activity and gives you some time to react.

It’s also important to know who is managing your domain name and how it is being managed. A Managed Service Provider can take care of this ongoing process for your business. Reach out to our Web experts today! Call us at 319-227-7000.

2019-12-02T13:42:54-06:00December 1st, 2019|Cloud Services, Email|0 Comments

Stop the Inbox Insanity

Stop the Inbox Insanity: Tips for Better Email ManagementStop the Inbox Insanity

A staggering 269 billion emails are sent every day. Your business is receiving only a small fraction of those emails. Yet your staff likely feel as if at least 269 of those are coming their way daily. In fact, the typical employee in 2018 received 90 emails, and sent out 40.

Email is a powerful tool. But its help with doing business ever faster creates added business pressure. Consider these five strategies for better email management.

  1. Don’t start your day with email. Many people do. It’s how they set up for the day. However, beginning the day with a cup of coffee and clicking through your inbox, can backfire. Many of those emails become items on your to-do list. You put off important tasks from your day responding to other people’s requests. Plan your day around your business needs first. Even knock off some of the more important tasks, before diving into that inbox!

 

  1. Think twice about checking email constantly. It’s tempting to open emails as soon as they arrive. But, you only want to tackle your inbox when you have the time to take action. If you open an email planning to get back to it later, you’ll likely forget. When you have to revisit an email to remind yourself what it’s about, you’re doubling the time you spend on that message. Avoid interrupting your momentum by turning off email alert notifications and phone badges. Instead, set regular times to read and respond to accumulated emails.

 

  1. Write clear, concise emails. Avoid contributing to a colleague’s inbox chaos. Provide as much relevant information as possible. Now, that doesn’t mean writing a War and Peace-length email. Focus your message for your audience, anticipate questions, and answer in that email. Starting the message with an informative subject line can make a big difference too.

 

  1. Save time with reusable messages. You often end up answering the same questions over and again. Create template emails that you can have at the ready to provide relevant details. Depending on your email software, this capability may be built in or you may need to add a plug-in.

 

  1. Use filters and folders to sort email. Learn how to automatically filter your messages into the appropriate folders. For example, if the email is from [email protected] then send it to your”Accounting” folder. This can save hundreds of hours a year. The better your folder system, the less time you’ll spend looking for specific emails when you need them. In Outlook, you can also set up a filter to change the color of email for different senders. Your boss could be red, and you’d know to handle that one first. Also save time by setting up strong filters for junk and spam. Unsubscribe from mailing lists that you don’t need any longer. Cleaning out the clutter can make your inbox much less overwhelming.

Email is an essential tool in business today. Don”t let it become a drain on your energy and attention. Make the most of the time you spend in your inbox with smart strategies for email management.

Need help selecting the right email or setting up useful mailbox management tools? Give us a call at 319-227-7000.

2019-04-26T18:59:26-05:00May 21st, 2019|Email|0 Comments

Don’t Fall Victim to Webcam Blackmail

Don’t Fall Victim to Webcam Blackmailwebcam blackmail

Don’t Fall Victim to Webcam Blackmail. Many users have reported recent scam messages from individuals claiming to have intercepted their username and password. These messages often state they have been watching your screen activity and webcam while you have been unaware.

Typically, attackers threaten to broadcast footage to your contacts, colleagues, or social media channels. Demanding payment in Bitcoin, malicious hackers blackmail their victims to keep confidential information private.

Where Have the Attacks Come From?

In many cases where hackers have claimed to have a victims’ password, this has turned out to be true.

In the last few years alone, many large websites have suffered enormous hacks which have released confidential details on many of their users. LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Myspace all suffered massive and devastating hacks. Some users of these services are still feeling the consequences today.

The details leaked from these sites, and others facing the same issues, are sold online for years after the initial breach. Hackers buy username and password combinations in the hopes of reusing them to access services, steal money, or blackmail their owners.

How to Respond

If you have been contacted by one of these hackers, it is a scary reality that they could have access to your credentials, data, and online services.

The only thing you can do in response to this type of email is to ignore it. This “we recorded you” email is a scam made much more believable because they probably do have one of your real passwords gained from a site hack.

That said, accounts that share the same password should be changed immediately. Security on additional services you use should be updated too.

Self Defense On the Web

When using online services, a unique password for every site is your number one defense. A good password manager makes this practical and straightforward too.

Using a different password for each site you use means that hackers can only gain access to one site at a time. A hack in one place should never compromise your other accounts by revealing the single password you use everywhere.

Often, people think that maintaining many passwords is hard work or even impossible to do. In truth, it’s almost always easier to keep tabs with a password manager than it is to use the system you have in place today.

A high quality and secure password manager such as LastPass, can keep track of all your logins efficiently and securely. They often offer the chance to improve your security by generating random and strong passwords that hackers will have a tougher time cracking.

Password management services offer a host of features that help you log in, remind you to refresh your security, and make your safety a number one priority. After using a manager for just a short time, you can be forgiven for wondering how you managed without it.

If you think you might have been hacked already, or want to prevent it from ever happening, give us a call to at 319-227-7000 update your security.

2019-03-01T13:15:08-06:00March 12th, 2019|Email|0 Comments

Has Your Email Been Hijacked?

Has Your Email Been Hijacked?email been hijacked

A common complaint by many users in recent months has been spam emails appearing to come from their own accounts. Despite not knowing why, reports of friends, family, and contacts receiving spam email that appears to come from them has worried many people.

Some have had their accounts suspended or shut down by their service providers as a result. For many, this experience can be highly disruptive. It’s a problem that can cause many issues in both your professional and personal life.

The key to defense is learning how these attacks happen, and figuring out what you can do to protect yourself and your contacts against them.

Hackers Using Your Email Against You

Scammers that send out spam messages are continually looking for ways to make the process faster, cheaper, and more efficient. It’s the best way in which they can make more money every day by scamming unsuspecting victims for even more cash.

One of the most efficient ways they do this is by hijacking ready-made, trusted email accounts like your own. Hackers have several tools at their disposal to attempt to hijack your accounts.

Some of the principles which make email fast and easy to use means that details, such as those in the ‘from’ field, are easy to fake. A hacker might change the information supplied to make it appear as if the email comes from anyone.

There’s not much you can do to defend your email against such an attack. However, you can work to verify that an email, even one you expect to receive, does come from the person you believe it to. If your email provider flags up an incoming email as ‘suspicious’, or ‘untrustworthy’, it may well be.

Stolen Credentials

Hackers often buy large bundles of email addresses and passwords from the dark web. Leaked emails are often put up for sale following hacks of major companies and service providers.

The value of these details comes from passwords being unlikely to have been changed, the details attached to them are trusted, and often get hackers access to additional services too.

How To Detect an Email Intrusion

It can take a long time before you’re aware that malicious hackers are using your details. You might even be the last person in your contacts to know.

The first sign to look out for is a large number of unexpected emails in your inbox. These are likely to be replies to emails you never sent in the first place. Out of office, automatic responses, people complaining about spam, and people responding to the email as if it were genuine may all come to you first.

Keep a close eye on unexpected emails appearing suddenly in either your inbox or outbox. A hacker may be spear-phishing someone that you do business with or trust. By acting as you, using your address and details, they may be able to divert payments or confidential information to their accounts instead.

Protecting Yourself Against Hackers, Attackers, And Hijackers

Sometimes your computer might have been compromised to give hackers access to your services. Malicious software may have infected your machine to steal data and infect your contacts.

Take extra care to change your passwords if you believe your email has been accessed by a hacker. Use a different, more secure password for your email. Your email account is often the key to accessing many of the services you use most.

Run a virus scan and maintain security updates if you think your computer could have been infected. Have your machine and services looked at by a professional if you believe there is a risk your data is being used.

If you think your email could have been hijacked, or your details used elsewhere, give us a call at 319-227-7000 to clean up today.

2019-03-01T13:01:57-06:00March 5th, 2019|Email|0 Comments

Struggling with Email Overload?

Struggling with Email Overload?

Email has allowed us to send and receive messages more easily than ever before. While this is a good thing, it can lead to problems. You may receive dozens or even hundreds of emails in a day. At this point, it feels like you’re wasting your entire day dealing with those incoming messages. Even worse, it makes it difficult to find important messages in your inbox. You can quickly become overloaded with emails.

So how can we deal with this overload? The first step is to reduce the number of emails you receive overall and there are a few ways to do this.

Restrict who you give your email address to. It’s important to think carefully about who you give your email to. For example, if you enter a lot of contests, this often automatically subscribes you to several email campaigns. If you type your email into every popup box asking for it, these add up. Reduce who you give your email to.

 

Unsubscribe

Go through your inbox and unsubscribe to newsletters that you never read. If you haven’t opened one of their emails in months, chances that you’ll start to later are low. Turn off notifications from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like emails from these networks, then at least adjust the settings so they email you highlights once a week or month rather than allowing them to spam your inbox several times per day.

Do you need that notification?

If you receive emails that contain information you can find elsewhere, switch those notifications off. For instance, you might run an e-commerce site that sends an email for every sale. If your website already has a record of this, you don’t need it in two places. Make sure not to use your email as a to-do list. When you need to remember to do something, put that on a list elsewhere to clear up your inbox. If this is a hard habit to break, at least make a folder for things you need to do and move emails there and out of your general inbox.

Change your email habits

Change your own email sending habits. If a topic is complex and will require a lot of back and forth conversation, consider discussing it in person or over the phone. Sending fewer emails will reduce how many you receive in return. Remember that you don’t need to respond to every email you receive. A response indicates a willingness to continue to conversation.

Resist the urge to send messages with a single word like “Thanks!” or “Ok” and you’ll notice others will stop sending you similar, unnecessary messages. When sending group emails, you can also remind others not to use “reply all” unless it’s information relevant to the entire group.

Start clearing out

Now you can start emptying out your inbox and getting rid of any old emails you don’t need to keep. Delete old calendar invites, advertisements, or any emails where the problem has already been resolved. Respond to any messages that can be answered within only a few minutes. File everything that is left until you have a completely empty inbox. Archive messages where you don’t need to take an action, but you think might be useful. You can search and find these later if necessary. Put other emails into folders based off of the type of email and the priority level.

From now on, all of this can be automated. You can have receipts automatically go into a receipt folder, calendar invites go into another, etc. A cluttered inbox leads to your mind feeling just as cluttered.. Free up your inbox to free up your mind and create more time in your day-to-day life. Let email overload become something of the past.

If you need help with your emails, give us a call on 319-227-7000.

2018-10-06T22:08:07-05:00August 29th, 2018|Email|0 Comments

Outlook – Policy does not allow granting permissions at this level

Outlook – Policy does not allow granting permissions at this level

Cause:
This issue occurs when an internal recipient is also in your Contacts list in Outlook. When you add this recipient to a Calendar Sharing message, the autocomplete feature of Outlook adds the recipient to the recipient list by using the recipient’s external email address.

Solution:

To work around this issue, select internal recipients directly from the global address list. To do this, follow these steps:

1. In the Sharing invitation, click the To button. The Select names window opens.
2. In the Address, select Global Address List.
3. In the Search box, type the recipient’s name.
4. Select the recipient to whom you want to send the invitation, and then click To.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each internal Exchange recipient to whom you want to send the invitation.
6. Click OK, and then click Send.

 

Source

2018-10-06T23:05:00-05:00June 26th, 2018|Email|0 Comments

Why Spam is a Small Business Nightmare

Why Spam is a Small Business NightmareSpam

15 years after the world united to crack down on spam emails, we’re still struggling with overloaded inboxes. All that unwanted email continues to flood the internet, much of it targeted towards small businesses, and the impact goes wider than you might think. Here’s the full breakdown of how modern spam works and how it’s hurting your business.

What is spam? Generally speaking, spam is any unwanted message that lands in your email, comes via text, social media messaging, or other communication platform. It might be sent to your main business account, eg your ‘contact us’ email, or direct to your employees. Most of the time, spam is annoying but relatively innocent messages from another business inviting you to buy/do/see something. They’re newsletters, reminders, invitations, sales pitches, etc. You may know the sender and have a previous relationship with them, or they might be a complete stranger. Occasionally, spam may even be part of a cyber attack.

Why you’re getting spammed. Maybe you or your employee signed up for a newsletter or bought a $1 raffle ticket to win a car. Perhaps you got onto the mailing list accidentally after enquiring about a product, not knowing that simply getting a brochure sent through would trigger a spam-avalanche. Often there’s fine print that says they’ll not only use your details to send you their marketing, but they’ll share your details with 3rd parties so they can send you messages too. That single email address can be passed around the internet like wildfire, and before you know it, you’re buried under spam. Sometimes, and more than we’d like to think, your details are found illicitly, perhaps through a hacked website for example, like the recent LinkedIn leak. More often though, your email is simply collected by a computer ‘scraping’ the internet – scouring forums and websites for plain text or linked emails and selling them as prime spam targets. It’s easy to see how individual office employees receive an average of 120 emails daily, over half of which are spam!

More than annoying. We all know spam is annoying, but did you know it’s also resource hungry? Your employees are spending hours each week sorting their email, assessing each one for relevance and deleting the spam. Too often, legitimate emails from clients and customers get caught up and are accidentally deleted. Add in the temptation to read the more interesting spam emails and productivity drops to zero. On the other side of the business, your email server might be dedicating storage and processing power to spam emails, occasionally to the point where inboxes get full and real mail is bouncing out. While most spam is simply an unwanted newsletter or sale notice, there’s also the risk that any links may be a cyber-attack in disguise. After all, one click is all it takes to open the door to viruses, ransomware, phishing or other security emergencies.

How to stop the spam. The 2003 Can Spam Act (a global set of anti-spam laws) requires all marketers to follow certain rules, like not adding people to mailing lists without permission, and always including an ‘unsubscribe’ link. So firstly, make sure you’re not accidentally giving people permission to email you – check the fine print or privacy policy. Next, look for the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. Unfortunately, not all of them include the link, or they hide it somewhere impossible to see. The worst spammers take that ‘unsubscribe’ click to confirm that your email address is valid/active and then sell it on.

Talk to us about your anti-spam protections. Call us at 319-227-7000

2018-10-07T10:53:55-05:00March 6th, 2018|Email|0 Comments

Is it Worth Having Your Email Server On-Premises?

Is it Worth Having Your Email Server On-Premises?Email Server On-Premises

There’s not a business around who doesn’t use email on a daily basis. Whether for sending internal memos or communicating with clients and customers, email is a core necessity of any modern SMB. What many modern businesses are doing though, is dropping the in-house email server and moving to a cloud solution. Here’s why you should do the same.

Reduced network problems

Your network operates in a delicate balance, and when one piece breaks chaos soon follows. Connected systems and processes tend to fail, dropping productivity to flatline levels as all focus shifts away from normal activities. It becomes a mad scramble to get the network up again, especially the email servers. The last thing you want is for all your client/customer emails to bounce back! While it’s good to have confidence in your on-site administrator, the assumption that any crashes will always happen during business hours has caused many regrets and panicked phone calls that could be avoided. When you move to a cloud solution, you’re able to say goodbye to onsite servers and all the accompanying drama, making your remaining infrastructure easier to maintain.

Lower hardware and maintenance costs

Maintaining your exchange servers is no doubt costing a tidy sum from hardware repairs and license fees alone. Add in the cost of scaling your server to keep up with your business growth, and suddenly keeping your email in-house doesn’t make financial sense. Instead, consider what it would be like to have predictable costs for your email hosting that covers everything, including the latest technology and around the clock administration. Many solutions offer on-demand plans, so you only pay for the options you want.

You’re still in control

One of the main arguments for keeping your Exchange server is to make sure you have complete control over your email; you’re able to limit physical access, no 3rd party has access to your critical data, and you always know where your data is. While control may have been the deciding factor in the past, the fact is cloud solutions have evolved so much that these arguments are void. Physical security at one of Microsoft’s data farms, for example, goes far beyond that of your locked server room and digital access is strictly limited to those you specify.

Greater protections

Cloud solutions provide automatic protection against many threats, including fire, power outages, viruses and flood. While your own in-house server has anti-virus running and a backup plan, it’s still incredibly vulnerable. Backups get forgotten, virus definitions don’t get updated in time, and you’re very lucky if your own server can survive fire or flood intact. Moving your email hosting to a cloud solution removes all that risk, usually with an uptime guarantee that lets your business get on with essential tasks. As email is a critical tool for your business, isolating your systems from risk may be one of the best decisions you make all year.

We can help you with your email server needs, call us today at 319-227-7000.

2018-10-07T11:27:06-05:00February 6th, 2018|Email, Hosted Exchange|0 Comments

Exchange Server Migrations in Cedar Rapids, IA

Exchange Server Migrations in Cedar Rapids, IA

If you are looking for Exchange Server Migrations in Cedar Rapids, IA and surrounding communities of Waterloo, Iowa City, Marion and Hiawatha consider IT Professionals of Iowa, LLC your best choice. Affordable Computer Repair Service. Networking, server and workstation support.

Exchange Server Migrations in Cedar Rapids, IA

Contact us Now 319-227-7000

2018-10-07T14:12:52-05:00November 18th, 2017|Email, Office 365|0 Comments