Tag: email

Supplier discovers a quarter of Brits have been scammed

nigeria1A quarter of UK adults have been scammed online in the past, according to research conducted by the supplier Misco.

Apparently only a third can tell if an email is real or not, which might be the main problem.

In light of recent high-profile cyberattacks, Misco tested the nation’s ability to spot whether an email is real or fake. The research used screenshots of both real and fake emails and texts from banks, online money transfer services and Apple’s iCloud.

When asked to identify which of two near-identical emails – one real, one fake – was a genuine online account statement update from a bank account, 12 percent were fooled by the phishing email, believing it to be legitimate.

Those aged 16 to 24 were twice as likely to be duped, with 25 percent of this age group believing the fake email was genuine. Sixty-one per cent believed both to be fake, even though one was authentic.

Only 60 per cent of those surveyed could correctly identify another fake phishing email, this time a supposed security update from a bank. Sixteen percent believed the email to be authentic, while 24 percent admitted they were unsure as to whether it was real.

Afsar Chaudhury, Misco practice lead for network and security at Misco said: “We live in a digital age, where everything from our boarding passes to our bank accounts are accessed online. This makes it easier for hackers to gain access to our details, and this is shown in the increasing level of sophistication that goes into phishing emails.”

Chaudhury advised people to look out for certain clues, such as poor spelling or grammar, and high levels of impersonalisation to prevent phishing attempts.

“Services will never ask you to enter your details through a message, so avoid clicking those links or sending personal information in a message. We recommend using a different, secure password for each account you hold and changing them regularly, as this makes it harder for your accounts to be hacked. Regularly updating the security software on your computer can also stop any malware in its tracks, in case you do accidentally click through on a phishing link.”

Google increases targeted advertising power


google-ICGoogle has released a new advertising project called Customer Match, lets advertisers upload their customer and promotional email address lists into AdWords.

The new targeting capability extends beyond search to include both YouTube Trueview ads and the newly launched native ads in Gmail.

It is the first time Google has allowed advertisers to target ads against customer-owned data in Adwords. Google matches the email addresses against those of signed-in users on Google. Individual addresses are hashed and anonymized. Advertisers can set bids and create ads specifically geared to audiences built from their email lists.

In the past Advertisers could serve ads to site visitors and customers with display ads using retargeting lists captured in Google Analytics. Another product, Retargeting Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), allows users to bid on and serve ads tailored to audiences when they search on Google. Retargeting lists are built with cookies, which users can delete or block and aren’t suited for mobile. Email addresses and user sign-ins, on the other hand, are more stable across devices.

The Customer Match offering brings Google into line with those available from both Facebook and Twitter. Enabling CRM uploads and targeting has been incredibly successful for Facebook, and Twitter and advertisers have been pushing for Google to do the same.

In addition to reaching existing segments such as newsletter subscribers, recent buyers or loyalty program participants, advertisers can target new prospects with an expansion of Similar Audiences.

To get started with Customer Match, advertisers upload their email lists to Audiences within AdWords either manually or via the API. There is no limit to the number of lists.

Top encryption software project nearly went under

Glens_EnigmaA free email encryption software project which was used by whistleblower Edward Snowden nearly went under this week when the bloke behind it ran out of cash.

Koch’s code is behind most of the popular email encryption programs GPGTools, Enigmail, and GPG4Win.  If he packed it in, he would create a nightmare scenario for the security industry.

Werner Koch appealed for cash to keep his Gnu Privacy Guard project going.  He wrote the software, known as Gnu Privacy Guard, in 1997, and since then has been almost single-handedly keeping it alive with patches and updates from his home in Erkrath, Germany. Now 53, he is running out of money and patience with being underfunded.

He has been running the project more or less for free because he believed there was a need to have some sort of open saucy encrypted software.  In 2013 he was all set to pack it in and then the Snowden news broke, and he realised that this was not the time to cancel.

It is not as if the industry has been particularly helpful, despite its dependence on him, the security industry has not been that helpful.

Koch could not raise enough money to pay himself and to fulfill his dream of hiring a full-time programmer. He has been living off $25,000 per year since 2001 — a fraction of what he could earn in private industry. In December, he launched a fundraising campaign that has garnered about $43,000 to date but he needed $137,000 to pay himself a decent salary and hire a full-time developer.

A lifeline was thrown to him this week. He was awarded a one-time grant of $60,000 from Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative. Donations flooded Werner’s website donation page and he reached his funding goal of $137,000. In addition, Facebook and the online payment processor Stripe each pledged to donate $50,000 a year to Koch’s project.

The cash gave Koch, who has an 8-year-old daughter and a wife who isn’t working, some breathing room. But when Propublica  http://www.propublica.org/article/the-worlds-email-encryption-software-relies-on-one-guy-who-is-going-broke asked him what he will do when the current batch of money runs out, he shrugged and said he prefers not to think about it. “I’m very glad that there is money for the next three months,” Koch said. “Really I am better at programming than this business stuff.”

Email does your brain in

stressyResearchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have come to the less than startling conclusion that continually checking your email is a stressful business.

It’s been known for ages that getting snotty emails from your boss, your ex or the taxman can give you a real headache. But, to be fair to the scientists at UBC, they have put it to the test.

The university assembled 124 adults ranging from students to financial analysts, medics and others and told them they had to limit checking their email to three times a day for a week.

Others were told to check their email as often as they wanted to.

The situation was then reversed with both sets of people while they also answered daily surveys including info about stress – presumably not by email.

Kostadin Kushlev, a PhD candidate at UBC’s Department of Psychology said people felt less stressed when they didn’t check their email as often as they did.

But, and there is a but: “Most participants in our study found it quite difficult to check their email only a few times a day.  People find it difficult to resist the temptation of checking email, and yet resisting this temptation reduces their stress.”

Kushlev suggests organisations might reduce stress levels in their staff by getting them to check emails less often rather than constantly replying to messages.

Financial analysts are probably stressed if they don’t check their emails every few minutes, we’d hazard to guess.

Spam drowns business mail

Penny Blacks - Wikimedia CommonsA survey showed that 69 percent of organisations polled report that day to day business operations are severely disrupted by spam related incidents.

GFI Software commissioned the independent report that surveyed 200 IT decision makers.

Thirty six percent of the respondents said they have been affected up to three times in a year, meaning expense if PCs and servers need to be cleaned or re-installed after malware has been opened and executed by people.

Some respondents – 15 percent – said tthey had major spam related IT failures over 10 times in the last year.

The most common types of spam is phishing – 49 percent of respondents said it was the most prevalent type of spam.

Banking spam from real companies is the second biggest problem at 44 percent.

Third was dating site spam. 34 percent of respondents said it was their main worry.

And 56 percent surveyed said they’d notice a rise in spam levels over the past year.

Sergio Galindo, general manager at GFI software said crooks are using spam more and more to throw malware into the workplace for malicious reasons, to hold companies to ransom or to steal information that can be used for fraud.

SME email falters

pc-sales-slumpAlthough SMEs want the best enterprise class tech available to them, many are struggling with mundane yet profoundly annoying problems such as email outages, according to a survey.

At least 60 percent of respondents had suffered from an email outage over a three month period, the report found.

Imerja, an IT infrastructure company that conducted the survey, warned that the importance of effective communication channels, including email, can’t be overlooked. Even a small outage can negatively impact business and hit revenues.

As SMEs are being told they’re the way out of economic misery and as part of the recovery, they should probably make sure their basic communication networks are secured, Imperja warned.

Managing director Ian Jackson said: “Investing in the right IT can add significant value to a business, but companies won’t be able to reap the rewards of technology fully if they’re still having problems with essential business systems like email”.

A way forward can be outsourcing business critical IT, whether that is for email, infrastructure hosting, or videoconferencing as a service. This “takes away risk and reduces the overhead of running an in house system, often with added security benefits too,” Jackson said.

“Managed services for IT can really boost productivity because any problems that arise are identified quickly and dealt with before they have the chance to escalate and cause problems,” Jackson said.