The Stovebolt Forum 'IT Short Bus'
-=- About E-Mail and You -=-

When you register at the forum, we need your e-mail address so we can send you your 'key to the kingdom', and we won't allow it to be used for anything but business between we and thee.  If you want to keep your address private, we respect that, but if you don't use a valid address when registering, we can't confirm your registration.  Once signed on, there are two ways other members can contact you: through the mail address that you put in your profile or in your posts, or through the forum's "Private Messageing" function.  If you don't want your address directly visible to other's, you can chose in your profile to not enter it, or to use as an intermediary, where folks use a form on the site to write a mail to you, and we forward that mail to you.  The mail you receive that way will mention the stovebolt forum, but be from the sender so you have their address for a reply.  Our servers are quite secure, and no "general surfer" can see your profile, only members who are logged in, so although nothing in life is fool-proof, you can rest easy about your mail address here.

E-mail is a method of composing, sending, and receiving messages over the internet.  In fact it's really how and why the internet started.  Now e-mail is being threatened by three phenomena: spamming, phishing and e-mail worms.  The first two require your vigilence to avoid - possibly with some help from filters in your mail program, or on your providers mail server.

spam Usually the spam, or marketing mails, are easily recognized by the subject, or the To and From fields, but now there are spam mails that appear very nearly normal, and include their message in an image or a message that seems like a "friend" sending a "link of interest".  Junk Mail filters can catch much of the spam so you never have to see it, but the spammers are always devising new tricks to get past filters.  DO NOT respond to these mails, as it will simply get your name on more lists, because it tells them they've found a valid address where someone reads their junk!!

If you get a mail from E-bay or Paypal or a bank, that you aren't expecting, even if you do have an account with them, it will be a phishing scam - they DO NOT send unsolicited mail to request information from you.  DO NOT reply to it or click any links in it.  The best response is to click the command "View all Headers" and then forward the mail to "spoof@ the-site-it's-from" so they can deal with it. E-bay and Paypal both have the 'spoof' address.  If it's a real mail from them they'll get back to you, but more likely you'll receive a confirmation of it's nature and a thanks for informing them.

headers Note that the "To" and "From" fields displayed are not necessarily related to an address to which the e-mail is delivered to or from. The actual adresses are in the full header content, which can be viewed in most mail programs by the command "View all Headers". It's very easy to fake the "From" field and let an e-mail seem to be from any innocent mail address, but there will be some record of the true originating address in the full header field, which must be displayed before you forward the mail so the "relevent authority" can see it.  Note here the "" doesn't match the real originating site in the "received from" fields,, which is an "anonymous mail" site.

worms The worms, or virus mails, can usually be detected with AntiVirus applications, but even with virus protection, some may get in, and the very best protection is to NOT open any mail or especially any attachments, unless you're sure it's from someone you know and you are expecting the attachment. Another good security measure is to set the options or preferences in your mail program so it does not display HTML or images from the internet, as the codeing in HTML can contain bugs. Your mail server may have good virus protection that can detect hidden file types that may contain virus code and disable it - check your providers mail account information.

One giant step you can take toward mail security is to use an E-mail program other than the default Windows Outlook Express.  There are a number of good programs available, including free ones.  Mozilla Thunderbird (used by the editor and many here at the 'bolt) has excellent anti-spam and anti-phishing filters, is easy to set up to avoid virus problems, and best of all, it's free, like it's companion Mozilla Firefox browser, which is a good alternative to Internet Explorer.

Have a question about mail?
Drop it in the ShortBus and we'll get it in here!

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