Here is our growing list of answers to questions that we're often asked at
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?'Overview of eMail Delivery'
...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:
1--PRESSING THE SEND BUTTON...
...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.
2--SENDER'S SMTP HOST LOCATES THE RECIPIENT'S SMTP HOST'S IP ADDRESS...
...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.
3--SENDER'S SMTP HOST PASSES MESSAGE TO THE RECIPIENT'S SMTP HOST...
...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
4--RECIPIENT'S SMTP HOST PASSES MESSAGE TO ANOTHER SMTP HOST...
...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.
5--RECIPIENT'S SMTP HOST PLACES MESSAGE INTO RECIPIENT'S MAILBOX...
...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
10 WAYS TO STOP SPYWARE
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
***Have your eMail address aliased
-Have your eMail address setup as " firstname.lastname@example.org ", or "
email@example.com " NOT " firstname.lastname@example.org ", or " email@example.com ".
Spammers use "dictionary attacks" to sort through possible names hoping to find a
valid address. Thus, a common name such as “ firstname.lastname@example.org “, or “ email@example.com “
will be much more likely to receive SPAM than a unique name like “ firstname.lastname@example.org “,
or " email@example.com ". 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
-Help make spammers known and put them out of business; Use services such as Spamcop.net to report SPAM.
OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST...
* HOW TO DISPLAY eMAIL HEADERS *
**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)
...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.