Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How Important is Email?

Do you need to save emails?

Are you stymied or just plain frustrated by spam?

Do you want - are you willing to pay for - email protection from spam and malware?

Do you demand 100% absolute certainty that your emails - sent and received - are safe, secure, delivered & received?

For my humble opinions on email, read on....

If you answered "Yes!" to the first three, I can help. If you answered, "But, of course YES!!!" to the last one, well, sorry. No one can guarantee that.

The good news is that most email programs and webmail offer some form of spam blocking and gives protection through anti-virus software. Let's look at the two types of email.

Web-based Email
My personal email is a Gmail address free from the good folks at Google. They do a fantastic job of filtering out spam and storing it in a spam folder for me. I have seen only one spam mail in the past four months. And that's genuine spam, not something that I got because I bought something somewhere or registered on a website.

Just the other day, I noticed Gmail decided that one of my subscriptions was spam and began filing these in the Spam folder. I noticed the lack of these emails, went looking for them in the Spam folder and found them there. I was able to identify them as "Not spam" and now they show up again in my Inbox. I really should look at 'em once in a while, though - no wonder Gmail thought they were spam!

I also hold a Yahoo email account, their basic free email. It is similar to Gmail with similar spam blocking protection.

Email Clients
I also use Thunderbird, which is similar to Outlook and Outlook Express. Email clients that save emails on the local hard drive. Emails that you've already downloaded can be viewed even after disconnecting from the Internet. Since my emails from Thunderbird are saved on my hard drive, I can back 'em up. And I save all of my HFTPC emails. All of 'em, incoming and outgoing. And, yes, I do back my email folders up.

Another Option
Tom Merritt and his guests at Tech News Today, as well as Leo Laporte at This Week in Tech promote MailRoute.Info for spam and virus filtering.The key benefit of MailRoute, as I see it, is a virtually invisible layer of protection and spam filtering for any email account.

No protection you choose, however, can or will stop you from clicking on a link to a scam, or going to a bad website, uploading a virus from a flash drive, or opening an attachment that turns out to be a Trojan. There is no substitute for common sense and a healthy amount of skepticism when facing unknown entities.

If you're not sure, ask around. Feel free to email me with your questions.

The only 100% certainty, however, is that there are no 100% guarantees! Have you backed up your important files today?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Comcast Adopts Norton, Drops MacAfee

If you're a Comcast Internet customer, you can now download the Norton Security Suite - free of charge.

All of Norton's anti-malware offerings include Norton AntiVirus, the heart of Internet security. In 2009, Symantec completely rebuilt the Norton AntiVirus program lineup. They now install (and uninstall) much faster, boot faster, and run faster than ever before, as well as faster than the competition.

The retail version of Comcast's Norton is called Norton 360. It has an excellent Backup utility. Have you backed up your data, your photos, your music, your financials recently?

Go to - or contact me. I can install it remotely for you and help with a handful of critical settings. Of course, I'm always happy to schedule onsite appointments for you.

If you're a Verizon customer, you can buy Norton. Note that Verizon will provide MacAfee for you, but there is a monthly charge for it. Not a very good deal, in my book.