Secure Email, Spam Filters & Virus Protection

With all the sophisticated programs around, viruses and spam are a thing of the past, right?  WRONG!!  They continue to evolve, with new threats daily, threatening to swamp your business or put your computers out of action.

What’s the solution? Careful vigilance by staff will help, but it isn’t enough.

At Elevate PC, we process thousands of messages every day that either contain viruses, or are junk mail (spam). Statistics show that around 90% of all email traffic coming through our servers falls into one or other undesirable category.

Elevate PC recommends and supplies preEMPT, a service provided by Postini, one of the world leaders in email screening. Postini’s preEMPT will remove the vast majority of viruses and spam emails before they even arrive in your network. Management is easy – you can view and control the quarantined messages for your entire organization through one easy-to-use web-based management console, even if you have multiple domains.

Elevate PC will help you set up an SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record for each of your domains. This helps prevent spammers from impersonating your email address. One benefit of SPF is that the legitimate owners of forged e-mail addresses can be swamped by large quantities of error messages and other auto-replies. Email receivers who check SPF can reject forgeries, thus reducing or eliminating the amount of backscatter.

Additionally, an SPF-protected domain is less attractive to spammers and phishers, because the spoofed address is more likely to be spotted and rejected by spam filters. A protected domain, therefore, is less likely to be blacklisted by spam filters and legitimate e-mail is more likely to get through.

Elevate PC will help you implement the latest developments in TLS (Transport Layer Security) to ensure email privacy and integrity. The TLS protocol allows client/server applications to communicate across a network in a way designed to prevent eavesdropping and tampering.  Elevate PC will check your web browser supports TLS and, if required, help you set up a TLS connection.

What is SPAM costing your business?

Direct IT Costs

Spam has some obvious direct costs. Unlike standard postal mailing where the sender pays the postage, the recipient of spam has to pay to receive the e-mail. Delivering the message costs money in Internet bandwidth and disk storage.

Productivity Costs

Along with the direct costs associated with IT resources there is a large indirect cost in terms of employee productivity. Apart from being very irritating, managing and deleting unwanted e-mail takes time and effort. Many spammers are using techniques to disguise e-mail and to trick users into opening messages.

Business Risk

Pornographic and offensive spam create a specific problem for businesses, because employers have a ‘duty of care’ to protect their staff from these types of messages. There have already been well-publicized cases where employees have  successfully brought legal cases against employers, primarily in the area of sexual harassment via e-mail. Considering the growth in pornographic spam and the increasingly litigious business environment, the legal risks associated with not protecting employees must be considered.

Where does SPAM come from?

Spammers typically have access to significant IT resources and believe they can make a profit out of this form of bulk advertising. Most spammers are selling a product or a service and often go to great lengths to disguise their identity. To persuade you to open the email the sender may often pretend the email came from you.

Much of the world’s spam emanates from the USA, where one million e-mail addresses can be purchased for as little  as $1 US dollar. Even with a 0.01% response rate its possible to see how spammers might make their money.

Spammers have developed a number of different techniques to harvest e-mail addresses. Originally spammers targeted news groups and bulletin boards, writing software to trawl through and capture e-mail addresses. Email addresses that are displayed on websites are often captured such as info@ and sales@  Increasingly spammers are directly targeting corporate networks using a technique called a ‘directory harvest attack’. Spammers attempt to deliver messages to multiple addresses, such as user@yourcompany.com  user2@yourcompany.com, etc . Addresses that are not rejected by the receiving mail server are determined as valid. These addresses are compiled and sold to other spammers worldwide. Within hours, a brand new email box can be full of unsolicited, junk email.

What can you do?

There are a number of techniques available today for spam detection, but the best way of protecting yourself from spammers  is to have your email screened before it even arrives at your mail server. This is where the Postini Service comes in. Postini will immediately remove up to 95% of spam email and viruses before they even reach your email server., with some customization these figures will increase.

Companies should also have policies in place warning staff of their stance on spam mail, and the procedures in place to try and deal with it. There should be a reporting procedure if spam gets through the system. This shows that the company has shown that it is attempting to deal with spam as best as possible and reduces its exposure to possible legal cases.

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