Tag Archives: addresses

I Love Email, But….

imageI love email – I do – really. I have to love it – I certainly get enough, and send enough; so I have to kind of, sort of – love it. There are some issues with personal email though, that tone down the love quotient – “unlovely” issues.

Number one on my “unlovely” list – the “forward to everyone you know” email. Too often, this type of email turns out to be plain old B.S – otherwise known as a myth. I do wish that my connections who forward this type of aggravating nonsense would drop by Snopes.com (the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation), before hitting the send button.

I wish I’d written the following rant regarding forwarded emails – it sums up my perspective, nicely –

If you’re going to forward something, at least send me something mildly amusing. I’ve seen all the “send this to 10 of your closest friends, and this poor, wretched excuse for a human being will somehow receive a nickel from some omniscient being”.

Show a little intelligence and think about what you’re actually contributing to by sending out these forwards. Chances are it’s our own unpopularity.

The point being? If you get some chain letter that’s threatening to
leave you shagless or luckless for the rest of your life, delete
it.

Don’t piss people off by making them feel guilty about a leper in Botswana with no teeth who has been tied to the ass of a dead elephant for 27 years and whose only salvation is the 5 cents per letter he’ll receive if you forward this email.

Now forward this to everyone you know.

Otherwise, tomorrow morning your underwear will turn carnivorous and will consume your genitals.

Number two on my list – the “hang my email address out there for everyone to see” email – or, the famous “I’ve never heard of the Bcc (Blind Carbon Copy) option in email.”

Here’s an example of this type of email I received just yesterday, in my private email inbox, from a friend. There are more than three times as many exposed email addresses as I’ve shown in this screen capture.

Lazy email 2

So what’s the big deal? Well, here’s the big deal –

This email has taken away my control of who has access to my private email address. I have no way of controlling how often my email address gets forwarded or, to whom.

Experience has taught me – there is now a good chance that this address will end up on a spammers list. Spammers comb the Web specifically seeking out email address which have been published in the clear. Since I have lost control over this address it’s now fair game for spammers. Drat!

Contrast this with the following forwarded email (again, from a friend), who has had the courtesy to use Bcc in order not to expose the recipients email addresses.

Lazy email 1

My good buddy Rick Robinette, over at What’s On My PC, has written an excellent piece on Bcc – Tip: Bcc Protects Private Email Addresses – which is definitely worth a read.

Here’s a sample from that article –

The benefits of using the Bcc field is simply this. You are protecting the privacy of other people. Currently I have approximately (5)-five email accounts that I use for specific purposes, from a variety of email services, with one of those accounts being my primary email account. I am very protective of that primary email account address and do not want it thrown about for the spammers to get hold of or for strangers to see.

For example, I have found people’s email addresses in forwarded emails that I know and have not seen for years. They are very surprised when I contact them; and, will often ask, “How did you get my email?”. I explain that I simply pulled it from a forwarded email.

Number three on my list – the “religious and political commentary” email. This type of email (usually a forwarded email), often tends to lean, more than slightly, to a rightwing extremist point of view – an unbalanced opinion, decidedly unsupported by facts.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate political commentary or discourse but, I can’t help wondering if any consideration is ever given (by the sender), to my personal point of view. It seems – not. Annoying as hell.

There you have it – my rant for the month of September.   Smile

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Filed under Email, Myths, Opinion, Point of View

Will The Epsilon Data Breach Affect You? Don’t Be Surprised!

imageThe damage yet to be realized from the Epsilon Data Management breach, in which 250 million consumers names and e-mail addresses were compromised, has the potential to be staggering.

With 2500 client customer databases residing on their servers, Epsilon likes to characterize itself as the world’s premier email marketing service. Since they are responsible for over 40 billion (generally unwanted) emails annually, I tend to characterize Epsilon less favorably.

To this point, all of the companies involved in this breach (and the list is growing daily), are aggressively making the point that customer financial and confidential information, remains secure – and, has not been stolen. However, in a cover their ass move, many of the affected companies slip in a caveat – “based on everything we know”, or words to that effect.

Now, if one fell off the turnip wagon yesterday, that response might seem acceptable, or even encouraging. Personally, I’ll be guided by what experience has taught me in relation to situations such as this; and that is – there’s a very good chance that what we’re  seeing today, is no more than the tip of the iceberg.

In the short term we can expect the following:

The incidence of targeted spam (since names, addresses, and most importantly, company affiliations are available), is sure to rise dramatically;  with a corresponding increase in malware laden email.

Based on the same information accessibility, spam phishing attempts will move up the list of cybercriminals’ preferred scams. Unfortunately, the success ratio is likely to increase dramatically.

Long term impact has yet to be determined with any accuracy – but, since the type of companies impacted by this breach tend to operates in the Twilight Zone when it comes to safeguarding their customers privacy, heightened vigilance on the Internet, particularly not responding to unsolicited emails, takes on a new urgency if you are one of those who has had previous, or current dealings, with any of the affected companies.

Quick questions: Why wasn’t this enormously sensitive customer information encrypted? Have things gone so far, that we need to legislate common sense?

Internet security provider Kaspersky, has put together a list of the companies impacted by Epsilon’s data breach which is worth reviewing – if you’re unsure of a relationship with an affected company.

From Kaspersky Lab’s Threat Post:

The number of companies that was affected by the attack on online marketing firm Epsilon Data Management has continued to grow, virtually by the hour.

Many retailers, banks and other firms sent out notification letters to their customers on Monday, and to help you keep track of who’s affected, we’ve compiled a list of known companies victimized by the Epsilon attack.

There are likely to be even more companies that send out breach notification letters in the coming days, so check back for updates. Here is a list of companies known to have been affected so far: List of Companies Hit By Epsilon Breach.

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Filed under Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Email, email scams, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, spam, Windows Tips and Tools