How-to: Secure the Weakest Link behind the Keyboard – Part II

Image: chain link 2 by unknownNow for the seriously weak link – you.We busy little bees rush in, skim-read, ignore warnings, know better than everyone else, are highly suggestible, insatiably curious and when on-line, generally risk-blind.

And that’s on a good day. The rest of the time we go skipping through the online minefield with gay abandon and the kind of blasé wilfulness that would get us killed crossing the street. Continue reading

How-to: Avoid Dangerous Email Attachments

Quarantine - by unknown, Creative CommonsEmail. It can’t really be ‘dangerous’ can it? Short of some bad news giving you a heart attack, no. But email attachments can harbour all kinds of nasties; trojans, worms, rogue executable code and other viruses. How do you know what’s safe to open? Even from people you know?

The trouble is, any type of file can be attached to an email, and whilst most mail servers run some sort of virus scanning and either remove or ‘quarantine’ suspicious emails, anti-virus software isn’t perfect. In this game, the buck stops with you; look after yourself and avoid loss of your data, money, identity and time.

Suspect email attachments are blunt weapons of mass destruction; indiscriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re a targeted corporation or government department, bank, shop, business, or the retired old lady at the end of your street. So how do you spot the suspect package in your inbox? Continue reading

Review: Outlook.com Web Mail 2013

Outlook.com Welcome messageHotmail gets the Metro treatment to become Outlook.com. Microsoft’s web-based email service remains solid, without starting a revolution.

Realising that Hotmail was getting long in the tooth, and was hardly a unified experience sitting in the Windows 8 browser, Microsoft is now adopting Outlook as a brand for personal, web-based email services.

The accompanying facelift – or face-flattening when you look at the Fisher-Price Metro/Modern-UI look imported from Windows 8 – means it sits comfortably in the Metro browser.

I finally got ‘upgraded’ from Hotmail to Outlook.com, which I put off as long as I could: as we know, not all such upgrades are an improvement. Continue reading

How-to: POP and IMAP Your E-mail

Mailbox Background by George HodanSmart-phones, netbooks, tablets; more devices on-line, more services to choose and set up. More technology, more terminology. More users who are coming to this for the first time. Surely it just works – doesn’t it?

E-mail, then. What’s the best way to ensure the best connectivity and the best mailing experience? Web-based? Server based? Cloud? Let’s cut through the confusion and cover the basics. E-mail comes to you via two methods: POP and IMAP.

If you have set up e-mail clients yourself, you will have certainly come across the terms POP and IMAP, without necessarily understanding what they are. Lets start with the definitions: Internet Message Access Protocol, and Post Office Protocol. A protocol is a set of rules and mechanisms by which something is achieved. Both POP and IMAP allow you to read emails locally using an intermediary program; you probably use some already Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora, GNUMail, or  simply Apple Mail on Macintosh and iPad. Continue reading

How-to: Synchronise Windows 8 Mail app

Windows 8 Mail app settingsTwo things in my defence, here; one, I spent a couple of days working through these settings, convinced I had done something dumb. Two, I hadn’t, but for some reason, my Hotmail decided in those two days that it wasn’t going to synchronise with my Windows 8 machine.

Fortunately reader Jason Ward (@jasongw) restrained his sarcasm and gave us a very coherent summary of how to get Mail to show you more recent emails or refresh the inbox.

“These are very simple, very basic tasks which are revealed in the same manner as extended options are revealed in every single Modern UI application yet published, and in the new Start Screen itself. Continue reading

How-to: Keep Spam out of your Hotmail

Hotmail Spam counter measuresUnwelcome. Invited. The plague of the email inbox is spam – that’s electronic junk mail and not Spiced Ham. Microsoft’s Hotmail, one of the first truly global free webmail systems, used to suffer massively from spam; it was too easily hacked and addresses harvested; it was used as the platform to send spam; the tools were simplistic and inadequate for managing and blocking spam.

Fortunately, things are much improved. Hotmail uses multiple tools to keep unwanted junk mail out of your inbox. I rarely get any spam in my Hotmail inbox these days. Continue reading