Here is our growing list of answers to questions that we're often asked at Internet Partners,

along with some helpful links to provide even more answers. If you have a problem that isn't

addressed here, please try browsing our list of how-to guides, or our collection of net resources.

-Why you should NEVER click on a URL in an eMail message...
...Often times you'll see Internet addresses within emails (links to web pages or other online content). Read this to find out why you should NEVER click them.

-Why you should NEVER use the “unsubscribe” link in an eMail...
...If you use an unsubscribe link in an eMail, not only are you saying 'this is a valid eMail address,' you are also taking the risk of downloading a Trojan Horse program that turns your computer into an open relay for sending SPAM, Viruses, and other Trojan Horse programs.

"Why do I need a password, or anything more than a simple password?"
...Computerworld - Study: Weak passwords really do help hackers. Four computers left online for 24 days were hit by 270,000 hacking attempts. Click here for details.

-Why do I need to update my computer?
...Even if your computer is behind a firewall, NAT [Network Address Translator], Proxy, or any other device that denies direct access from the outside world, you still need to keep all of the software on your computer up-to-date. The reason is that there are a number of ways that your computer can be attacked. When you connect to another host computer on the Internet you have opened a connection that allows two-way communication with that host. This is one of many ways your computer can be attacked. What are called “Spybots” are one of many ways that your computer host can be attacked.
Read these facts if you're not already alarmed...
...On July 12 of 2001, a computer virus classified as a “worm” type, later named "Code Red", propagated and unleashed its destructive power on the Internet. After the smoke cleared and the damage was done, Code Red had cost private business, U.S. government and military institutions over $1.2 billion. Microsoft had already released a patch in May of 2001 for this problem; however, a very large percentage of the computer systems around the world where not updated.
           Code Red response article excerpt - "On July 19, 2001 more than 359,000 computers were infected with the Code-Red (CRv2) worm in less than 14 hours. At the peak of the infection frenzy, more than 2,000 new hosts were infected each minute. Forty three percent of all infected hosts were in the United States, while 11% originated in Korea followed by 5% in China and 4% in Taiwan. The .NET Top Level Domain (TLD) accounted for 19% of all compromised machines, followed by .COM with 14% and .EDU with 2%. We also observed 136 (0.04%).MIL and 213 (0.05%).GOV hosts infected by the worm."
If you're STILL not alarmed, please read on...
...As an example of what can happen once a computer inside the network is infected, let us take a look at the “W32.Spybot.JPB” Worm. This is a worm that tries to do a number of things. One of the first things it does is try to attack Microsoft Windows systems on the LAN [Local Area Network]. If these local computers are not patched they themselves will become infected, and for the most part be turned into what are termed ‘zombie’, or "bot" computer hosts. Not only will these units turn around and (in concert with the computer that infected it) try to infect even more systems on the LAN, they will also try to infect systems on the Internet. In the future, if this worm is not removed it will listen for commands that allow the attacker to perform even more actions against host computer system on the LAN, and the Internet.

-Why does it sometimes take a long time to deliver an eMail message?
...We have come to expect eMails to take seconds to be delivered. We often regard eMail-ing as an instantaneous method of communication-almost like a telephone call. We then are very surprised if an eMail takes over one hour to deliver...but did you know it can take DAYS? This article gives the reasons for the speed of delivery and also the reasons why delivery can take days:

'Overview of eMail Delivery'

...After the eMail has been composed and spell-checked, the SEND button is pressed. This causes the eMail to be sent from the PC to a mail host known as a SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) Server.

...If the sender's domain name is different from the recipient's domain name the SMTP host cannot deliver the eMail to the recipient. It needs to pass the message on to an SMTP host that knows how to deliver the message. The sender's SMTP host tries to find the IP (Internet Protocol) address of the recipient's SMTP host. The Internet is a busy and congested place and this request could fail. But the SMTP host does not give up at that point. It will try many times before giving up. Most SMTP hosts will try for five days before throwing in the towel! Our SMTP hosts will inform the sender if the message cannot be sent within 4 hours, but still it will continue to try. Eventually, the SMTP will find the IP address of the recipient. Now it can try to pass the message on.

...Now that the sender's SMTP host knows the IP address (similar to a telephone number) of the recipient's SMTP host, it calls it and asks for permission to send the message. Most times this works but sometimes the recipient's SMTP host will reject the call. This can be for many reasons, such as the host is too busy (specially when viruses are being propagated around the world). If it does fail, the sender's SMTP host will continue to try before giving up. Usually, the message will be sent to the recipient's SMTP host before the five days has passed. However, this is not the whole story... A recipient usually has 2 SMTP hosts. Some organization have many more - AOL has at least 4. If the main host is busy, the sender's SMTP host will also call any of the other recipient's hosts.

...If the message was not passed to the recipient's SMTP host than can deliver the mail, the message will be passed to another SMTP host that may be closer to the recipient. Like the previous section, this could take seconds, minutes, hours or even days. This situation occurs a lot in business where the main receiving SMTP host is owned by a third party and checks all incoming eMails for viruses and spam. If they pass the tests, the message is passed to the recipient's SMTP host.

...At last, the message has arrived at a SMTP host that knows where the recipient's mailbox is located. Once the message is in the mailbox it can be seen and viewed by the recipient.

-How Long Does it Take?
In over 95% of cases the above process takes less than a minute. (Far quicker than it took to read the explanation!) In most cases when the message is not delivered within a few minutes it is delivered within a few hours. In a few cases the message could take as long as 5 days to complete its trip from sender to recipient. It rarely takes MORE than 5 days, as one of the SMTP hosts will send the message back as 'undeliverable'. And yes, the error messages could take 5 days to get back!

Spyware cleaners fall short; follow these steps to stamp out Spyware for good.
By James E. Gaskin, Network World, 03/28/2005
...Sometimes the truth hurts, but here it is anyway: You will struggle with Spyware at work, home, and on family and friends' computers for the next several years. Spam will be choked down to a manageable stream this year, but Spyware will fill the gap, costing you precious hours cleaning the infected (and re-infected) computers of your friends and family. Click here for the complete article.

Security and your connection
...The Linksys Instant Broadband EtherFast Cable/DSL Router is the perfect option to connect multiple PCs to a high-speed Broadband Internet connection or to an Ethernet back-bone. Allowing up to 253 users, the built-in NAT technology acts as a firewall protecting your internal network. www.linksys.com See a review by Mark Gibbs at http://www.nwfusion.com/columnists/2000/0814gearhead.html about these devices as firewalls.

Signs your PC's under siege, and what you can do By Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz
USA TODAY : If your Windows PC is being used as a zombie, you may notice recurring slowdowns of e-mail and Web browsing. Or you may not be able to e-mail or browse at all. If your PC has been infected with a self-replicating network worm, a dormant backdoor Trojan horse or several other types of stealthy programs, you may not notice anything. Click Here for article

Are hackers using your PC to spew spam and steal? By Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz
USA TODAY : Since early 2003, wave after wave of infectious programs have begun to saturate the Internet, causing the number of PCs hijacked by hackers and turned into so-called 'zombies' to soar into the millions. Click Here for details

-Sites for Personal Firewall software:

1)ZoneAlarm , 2)Outpost and 3)ESafe

-Can I check my email from anywhere in the world?
Internet Partners, Inc. has added a new secure version of Horde’s IMP web based eMail program with OpenSLL. Through IMP's intuitive interface, you'll be able to access and manage your IMAP mail account using the simplicity of a standard web browser using a secure connection from anywhere in the world via the Internet. (Click here to access it now)
  ...Some of the new features are the ability to send and receive attachments through this interface, and to use a spell-checker. The spell-checker cannot show you words that are not in its dictionary. To look for correct spelling you may wish to use an on-line dictionary like Merriam-Webster's Online.

Got SPAM? Here's How to help Stop It:

***Never respond directly to junk "SPAM" eMail
-If you respond to junk eMail then the sender knows that they have a valid eMail address. So do not reply in any way.

***When posting to Newsgroups do not use a valid address
-Mailbots are used to harvest eMail addresses from newsgroups, so never use a valid eMail address.

***Have your eMail address aliased
-Have your eMail address setup as " john.smith@ipinc.net ", or " j.t.smith@ipinc.net " NOT " john@ipinc.net ", or " jsmith@ipinc.net ". Spammers use "dictionary attacks" to sort through possible names hoping to find a valid address. Thus, a common name such as “ john@ipinc.net “, or “ jsmith@ipinc.net “ will be much more likely to receive SPAM than a unique name like “ john.smith@ipinc.net “, or " j.t.smith@ipinc.net ". NOTE: our eMail host limits your address to eight charters so we would set up an underlying non-standard aliases address.

***Filter your eMail
-Check your eMail software to see if you can add filters, or blocks.

***Use third-party software like MailWasher
-How to setup MailWasher not to bounce eMail Click here

***Report SPAM
-Help make spammers known and put them out of business; Use services such as Spamcop.net to report SPAM.



**Check Blacklists Check this site to see if your eMail server is blacklisted. If you where blacklisted, and have fixed the problem on your eMail server, this is the site you need to check to see if you are on any other list. Click Here for more details

-How big is the virus problem?
...MICROSOFT : There are at least 60,000 known viruses and more are written every day. About 95-98% of viruses come through e-mail and instant messaging. Often viruses arrive with e-mail disguised as something entertaining, like pictures, music, or greeting cards.

Why can people not send me email? Is there an issue with Internet Partners refusing email from certain servers?? I have a few people who can not email me.
...In most cases where people are having problems sending you email, the sender's email server is configured incorrectly (and it can serve as a security risk to everyone on the Internet). We at Internet Partners are willing to work with the administrators of these servers to help solve such problems.

-What do I do if my DSL connection has problems?
Click here to see the steps you need to take if your DSL connection is not working.

What is a DoS/DDoS Attack?
...Short for "Denial of Service Attack," a type of attack on a network that is designed to bring the network to its knees by flooding it with useless traffic. Many DoS attacks, such as the 'Ping of Death' and 'Teardrop' attacks, exploit limitations in the TCP/IP protocols. For all known DoS attacks, there are software fixes that system administrators can install to limit the damage caused by the attacks. But, like viruses, new DoS attacks are constantly being dreamed up by hackers.

...Distributed Denial of Service - A hacker (or, if you prefer, cracker) begins a DDoS attack by exploiting a vulnerability in a computer system on the Internet and making it the DDoS "master" zombie. It is from the master zombie system that the intruder identifies, and communicates with other computers that can be compromised. These systems are then made into zombie systems used in the attack. The intruder loads cracking tools available on the Internet on multiple -- sometimes thousands of -- compromised zombie systems. With a single command to the "master" zombie, the intruder instructs the "master" zombie to send commands to the other zombie controlled systems to launch one of many flood attacks against a specified target. The inundation of packets to the target from these multiple zombies causes a Denial of Service.

...Always keep your computer's software up-to-date with software updates and patches. This is the best way to keep your computer from becoming a zombie.
...This graph from Internet Traffic Report website shows the current Backbone DDoS activity.

-How Do I Upgrade Qwest ADSL Modem Firmware?
...In case you find you must upgrade a Cisco 675 or 678 external DSL Customer Premise Equipment (CPE, incorrectly known as a "modem"), here's the procedure to do this. Note that upgrades to prevent trouble from Nimda scans are NOT necessary if the CPE is running in Bridged mode, but Qwest.net is generally using PPP mode.

-10 Digit Dialing : how do I set up my computer?
...Starting October 1, 2000 the 503 area code will be switching to 10-digit dialing. This will soon be true also in the 360 area code. This means all of our dialup customers will need to change the phone number you dial to connect to us to reflect the new 10 digit dialing. (for instructions click here)

-Personal Websites
...One question we get asked quite a lot is "How do I access my personal website?" Read our FAQ on personal websites at Internet Partners for help.

-What is FTP?
...File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a type of protocol supported on the Internet that allows you to easily transfer files from your computer to another computer. To use FTP, you need the address of a server that supports FTP and a client software package that supports FTP running on your computer. FTP allows uploading and downloading of files to users with valid logins to the FTP site. If you do not have a valid login to the FTP site you can use what is called the 'anonymous' login. Anonymous logins are available on most FTP sites and allow anyone to login to the site with limited access. When using an anonymous login, downloading is usually allowed but uploading is not.
...To use the anonymous login, log in to the site as anonymous, or just ftp, and use your entire email address as the password. You can download files from an FTP site through two methods: ASCII (plain text) or binary (machine language). Certain FTP software packages require you to set the transfer type when installing the package, so be careful not to download a software program as a text file, or it will become corrupt and you will not be able to run it.

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