The Weekly HELO – February 21st

This week: censorship spreads, moldy plans, bagle spam, and some phish tips. Yum!

Welcome to the fourth edition of Return Path’s new feature, The Weekly HELO! Each week, Melinda Plemel synopsizes some of the most interesting current happenings in email technology and messaging abuse.

When Will They Learn?

There are a few things that continually baffle me: how is it possible that “To Catch a Predator” never runs out of suspects to catch, and how it it possible that countries believe that suppressing information or the internet will result in compliance from their people? Every week another government is trying to keep their people from the rest of the world, ignoring the news that their neighbors’ recent attempts to do the same thing failed.

This week, it’s Bahrain. According to the article, it’s unknown exactly what that government is censoring, but it does appear that they are not completely shutting off access like Egypt did recently.

“Data from 100 Internet providers around the world suggests Bahrain has significantly increased its filtering of Internet traffic in response to growing political unrest,” said Arbor Networks.

This is a definitely a trend. It looks like we might be discussing Algeria next week, if these reports are accurate. I say good luck.

No Hurry, Right?

Let’s talk about our Government and how quickly they work. Well, maybe not that quickly. According to an article in Internet Evolution, the pentagon — yes, the people responsible for our country’s safety — is planning on updating their system and getting a new computer system online. They plan on having this system completed in eighty-one months — yes, you did read that correctly, eighty-one months. This is where we pause and basically say “OMG!!”

I’m not sure if they realize what that actually means in the world of technology, but for some fun I found an article that might put that into a bit more perspective. Remember back in 1994, when we first started to hear about the internet in the news, and how that was sooo confusing for some to understand? The Today Show, in particular, did some groundbreaking research.

Basically my point is if the Pentagon is going to take almost seven years to get a new system online, what good will it be when they’re finished? Will they even be able to find spare parts for it anymore?

Move Over Rustock, There’s a New Kid In Town

Well, not really, but another botnet that has claimed the top spot in spamming. AllSpammedUp reported that Bagle has the lead in spam sent this year.

“So far this year the Bagle botnet is in the lead for most spam volume, and is currently responsible for 1 out of every 5 spam messages sent.” Ummmm, I’m sure Bagle is proud to be the king (for now), but personally I think that’s nothing to brag about.

Protecting Your Users from Phishing

Last week AllSpammedUp gave some advice on how to help stop spam; this week, The Email Admin gives some helpful tips to admins to help protect their users from phishing messages.

1. Design a proper template for emails from the IT department
2. Establish authenticity using digital certificate and an official email address
3. Training users to detect phishing
4. Send follow-up messages

We’ve recently published some advice on using DKIM to keep phishing messages out, at least for your most important messages — and of course, this is all far easier with Return Path’s new Domain Assurance product.

Photo by stu_spivack on flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

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