Category Archives: Security

Keeping users safe online.

Don’t Panic: How Anxiety Aids the Bad Guys

Fear and anxiety are the biggest allies spammers have. Every month, for instance, that more of our customers than usual have problems with their bill, there’s also a corresponding uptick in the number of them that fall for phishing attacks. The reason why seems clear: people who are worried or feeling guilty that non-payment will cause us to shut down their accounts tend to take the phishing bait more easily, which is exactly what the bad guys want. Specifically, anxious users tend to respond far more readily to emails appearing to be from Southwest Cyberport and demanding that they log in or reply than other customers do. There’s no shame in this: these criminals are very clever, and their sneaky methods are evolving all the time. They’re constantly looking for new ways to get you to react without thinking first. It used to be that such emails had a “Reply to:” address, but that was too easy for us to block; so nowadays they more often use a Web address that is disguised to look like ours. However, the link actually goes off to some poor hacked website somewhere, where they’ve set up a small customized password-stealing page designed to look like our webmail page or like a bank or some other standard-looking login.¬† As soon as you enter your information, the spammers are quick to use or sell that info to other spammers to send out junk mail. Sometimes, … Continue reading

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Private Email – Part 2

In our last post we showed you how to install the Mailvelope browser extension and generate PGP public and private keys, and how to import someone’s public key. Now we’d like to actually use this structure to send encrypted email. At this point if you use Gmail or Yahoo mail you’re actually ready to encrypt. Roundcube requires some additional configuration to work with mailvelope. Go to Options in your Mailvelope page, and select list of email providers, then Add New Site. The site name can be “Roundcube SWCP” and the domain pattern should be * Now when you compose a new message you’ll see a button in the compose window that looks like a pencil and paper.   If you press this a new window will pop open like the one below. Type a message and press encrypt. You’ll get a dialog box that allows you to select the key you want to use to encrypt the message. This should be the key of the person you’re sending the message to. Add that key, then press OK. Now you’ll see the encrypted message which will look something like this: Press Transfer and that message will be copied to your compose window and you can now send the message to your friend. That’s it! Inline Encryption You may want to make the process easier to use by allowing inline encryption. This will allow you to do the encryption in the compose … Continue reading

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Private Email – Part 1

In that last few years we’ve come to see more and more that things we thought were private, simply aren’t. Whether it is companies that want to sell you things, the government wanting to find terrorist plots, or thieves looking for personal data to aid with ¬†identity theft, there are many players out there looking at your data. Is there anyway to protect ourselves from prying eyes? One way is to use strong encryption. PGP, Pretty Good Privacy, has been around since 1991. It’s a public key encryption system, which means it uses a pair of encryption keys, one that is public and can be freely given out to anyone and one that is private/secret and must be protected. In addition to the keys there is a passphrase that is known to the owner of the keys and is required to decrypt a message. PGP has been a useful tool for techno-savvy folks, but has been difficult to use for the more techno-casual person. I recently attended a CryptoParty. The aim of these events is to help put privacy tools in more hands. I discovered some new (and more modern) packages for working with PGP and integrating it into tools you may be familiar with, so I thought I’d share my experience of setting up PGP for use with Roundcube. Roundcube is an open source webmail client that is available for use with your SWCP account. A little background In … Continue reading

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