Virgin Media Spam Filter is Blocking Legitimate E-Mails

Not so long ago, Google stopped providing their e-mail service to ISPs which forced them to look elsewhere for an alternative. As a result, Virgin Media’s new e-mail platform doesn’t have a sophisticated and accurate e-mail filtering service which resulted in many genuine messages being undelivered. Many customers have already let their displeasure known via the company’s forum. One frustrated user said:

“I’ll add a ‘me too’ to this. All my emails to ntlworld and blueyonder addresses have been rejected for some time, which is infuriating as I have clients who use these. One such client has decided to jump ship from VM because of the problem—he can’t afford to have legit email rejected.”

Virgin Media responded to this message and clarified:

“Hi All,

Apologies for the rejected email issues, if problems remain ongoing please drop me PM and I can provide contact details for our postmaster, they’ll be able to look into why these emails are being blocked for you.”

Clearly, the system is incapable of properly judging which e-mails are spam and the problems appear to be fairly widespread.

According to The Register, a Virgin Media spokesman described the situation and said:

“Since Google removed its service for ISPs from the market we’ve moved to a different email platform, meaning some emails may have not been getting through. We are helping businesses who feel their emails have been wrongly blocked.”

Doing this on a case-by-case basis isn’t ideal and only going to make customers angry while their vital business e-mails are lost. This could dramatically impact on their profit margins and nullify contracts where communication is key. Virgin Media needs to sort this out as a matter of urgency or business customers will leave in great numbers.

Mozilla Describe Thunderbird Client as “a Tax” on FireFox Development

Mozilla’s Thunderbird e-mail client is often overlooked and hasn’t received any major updates since 2012. Nevertheless, I still find it quite useful and think it’s a pretty good piece of software to organize multiple e-mail accounts. Clearly, Mozilla is right to focus on Firefox development as a large quantity of people view their e-mails on mobile devices or through a web browser. While Mozilla has ceased active development of Thunderbird it still appears to be having a detrimental effect. For example, Mozilla’s chairperson, Mitchell Baker said in a memo published on the company’s public governance forum:

“Many inside of Mozilla, including an overwhelming majority of our leadership, feel the need to be laser-focused on activities like Firefox that can have an industry-wide impact. With all due respect to Thunderbird and the Thunderbird community, we have been clear for years that we do not view Thunderbird as having this sort of potential.” 

“Given this, it’s clear to me that sooner or later paying a tax to support Thunderbird will not make sense as a policy for Mozilla.”

“The current setting isn’t stable, and we should start actively looking into how we can transition in an orderly way to a future where Thunderbird and Firefox are un-coupled.”

Baker’s comments here suggest that any resources or support going into the Thunderbird project will end fairly soon. From the wording, it’s clear they don’t want to just abandon it and looking for other alternative strategies. It makes sense to focus on Firefox especially with the huge competition from Google and Microsoft. To put this into perspective, I personally use Thunderbird to manage one personal and two business e-mails. I would be sad to see it go as it’s easy to use, and quite functional.

Orwell Estate Sends Copyright Takedown Over Use of “1984”

George Orwell, a great writer of the classic book Nineteen Eighty Four. A book that describes the future with surveillance and control as themes.

George himself sadly passed away in 1950, currently all his rights are controlled and protected by the Orwell estate. Recently, the estate itself has started to gain a reputation for exerting tight control of copyrights and trademarks. TorrentFreak discovered that Josh Hadley, an Internet Radio host on 1201 Beyond had experienced this first hand. Hadley used the show to gather and distribute his shows and writings.

Before he set up a fully fledged website and store he used Cafepress to sell T-Shirts. Although he never actually sold any shirts in the time that it was running it was noticed by the estate. Last week he received an e-mail from Cafepress informing him that one of his designs has been taken offline due to copyright infringement. The design that breached the law contained the string “1984”:

According to the complaint, the design that he used contains George Orwell quotes. However, the only reference was the four numbers that made up the book title, 1984. Hadley has stated that he is offended by what he believes to be an illegitimate request and something that George Oswell would be against. He told TorrentFreak “First off is the irony of the estate of George Orwell being all Orwellian but second is that you can’t copyright a number,”

Cafepress has kept the designs offline and now listed as pending in his dashboard. He could appeal if he wishes, yet has no plans to do so.

CIA Director Hacker Reportedly a 13-Year-Old Stoner

Yesterday, we brought you news that CIA Director John Brennan (pictured) was the victim of a hack, with the attackers gaining access to the AOL account he used to share confidential, work-related details. It has now emerged that the hackers taking credit for the attack are two 13-year-old, pro-Palestine stoner boys, who together form the “hacker group” CWA (Crackas With Attitude).

In a series of instant messages with Gawker’s Sam Biddle, one of the hackers said “Me and phphax know each other irl, most of our school and grade are smokers and stoners, so i mean it just kind of describes us in away…I dont find it insulting in anyway. [sic]”. When asked about the hack, he added, “since only 13 i am pretty hype about it.”

The Twitter account that purportedly belongs to one of the hackers, @phphax, has been posting taunting tweets aimed at the CIA for the last couple of days.

But he now claims that he himself was not responsible, saying only that “CWA as a whole” pulled off the attack:

How true the claims that the hackers are 13-year-old, pot-smoking, High School kids are is anyone’s guess. I suppose, if the CWA member do “get raided”, we’ll find out for sure.

Image courtesy of New York Post.

CIA Director Has AOL Account Hacked by Teen

A teenage hacker has claimed to have compromised the AOL account of CIA Director John Brennan. If the news is to be believed, Brennan was stupidly using his AOL e-mail account to send classified and sensitive work-related documents, including a 47-page application for confidential security clearance, details of the government’s “harsh interrogation techniques”, and even the personal details of high-level intelligence officials.

A law enforcement source close to the matter told the New York Post that a full investigation is underway and that they hope to press charges against the hacker. “I think they’ll want to make an example out of him to deter people from doing this in the future,” the source said, describing the use of a personal e-mail address to send CIA documents as “just wild” and “crazy.”

“I can’t believe he did this to the head of the CIA,’’ added the source. “[The] problem with these older-generation guys is that they don’t know anything about cybersecurity, and as you can see, it can be problematic.”

The New York Post also spoke to the hacker, after he contacted them to brag, and the paper later verified that his Twitter account @phphax was genuine.

The CIA has issued the following statement: “We are aware of the reports that have surfaced on social media and have referred the matter to the appropriate authorities.”

Image courtesy of New York Post

Spam E-Mails Drop to a 12 Year Low

Security specialist Symantec have conducted an extensive research programme into the amount of spam plaguing email inboxes. The results are fascinating and thorough scans reported less than 50% of received emails were junk, the lowest amount in the last 12 years. In June, 49.7% of emails contained spam content and continued the steady decline over the past few years. This trend accelerated in mid-July which recorded a figure of 46.4%.

The statistics can be a little deceiving as cyber criminals employ newer, more effective scams to access sensitive data. Malware abuse has risen exponentially at an alarming rate. For example, in June, approximately 57.6 million pieces of malware were discovered which is double the recorded amount in May. As a result, it appears malware is becoming a complete nuisance and the primary target method of attacks in 2015. Ransomware also managed to reach 500,000 entries which aggressively scaremongers users into thinking their PC is inoperable unless a financial payment is made. Unfortunately, those who aren’t technically minded find it difficult to distinguish between unscrupulous emails and the genuine article.

A spokesperson from Symantec said,

“This increase in activity lends more evidence to the idea that, with the continued drops in email-based malicious activity, attackers are simply moving to other areas of the threat landscape,”

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of AdNetworkSolutions.

Gmail Now Officially Supports ‘Undo Send’ Feature.

The convenience of instant, permanent communication via e-mail is a technological marvel but one which has caused an abundance of embarrassing moments. Whether you’ve accidentally sent your spouse’s sister a romantic e-mail or insulted business contacts in a drunken rage, it’s difficult to forget each moment of shame. Thankfully, these cringeworthy escapades can become a thing of the past providing your able to click ‘Undo Send’ within 10 seconds. This time period can also be extended to 30 seconds which helps you to deliberate about the message content. However, this doesn’t help users who are blind drunk at the time and require at least a 24 hour to 5 month period to remember even sending the e-mail.

By default, the ‘Undo Send’ command is disabled unless you are involved in the Google Labs programme. To enable this feature, simply navigate to the cog just below your Google account picture and click settings. Ensure the general tab is active and manually check the ‘Undo Send’ function.

I do find it rather perplexing that it has taken over 6 years for this vital Gmail component to be official supported and presume most power users are already familiar with it using Google Labs. The question remains if the average user will be aware of the added functionality and how often it’s utilized.

Let us know your most embarrassing e-mail blunders and we promise not to judge.

Three Spammers Accused of Largest Data Breach in History

The US Department of Justice has charged three men with what could be the biggest data breach in the history of the internet. The three spammers are accused of stealing billions of e-mail addresses from the databases of e-mail service providers. Two of the men, Giang Hoang Vu and Viet Quoc Nguyen, are Vietnamese citizens residing in the Netherlands, while the third, David-Manuel Santos Da Silva, is Canadian.

A statement from Assistant Attorney General Caldwell read: “These men… are accused of carrying out the largest data breach of names and email addresses in the history of the Internet. The defendants allegedly made millions of dollars by stealing over a billion email addresses from email service providers.”

The three men targeted the largest e-mail providers in the world, including Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Hotmail. Considering the scope of the operation and the volume of addresses accrued, it is quite likely that someone reading this has had their e-mail address stolen by these spammers. Only addresses were gathered, though: no passwords were compromised during the data breach.

Santos Da Silva is alleged to have laundered money that Hoang Vu and Quoc Nguyen earned through their spamming through his website, Da Silva and Hoang Vu have been arrested, but Quoc Nguyen remains at large. Huoang Vu has pleaded guilty to computer fraud.

Source: Cyber Kendra

Google Inbox to Support Custom e-Mail Addresses

The main complaint about Google Inbox – Google’s new Gmail app that displays related incoming message as ‘bundles’ – is that it doesn’t support custom e-mail addresses. On Wednesday, however, the Gmail Inbox Team, during a Reddit AMA, announced that custom address functionality, as part of its Google Apps support, is on its way, but no release date for the feature was given. The AMA response read:

Supporting these accounts comes with other demands and we’re working hard on addressing them so we can get Inbox to Google Apps users.

We were pleasantly surprised to see how open-minded Inbox users are to making big changes to their work email workflow, and the high demand for Inbox on Google Apps accounts has already caused us to speed up our efforts to bring Inbox to all of you. Hang tight!

The team also assured Reddit users that support for browsers other than Chrome was on its way.

Source: TechCrunch

E-Mail Startup Acompli Acquired by Microsoft

Startup e-mail app Acompli has been snapped up Microsoft. The moves surprised no one, since news of the deal accidentally leaked last week when a blog draft with the url, written by Microsoft Vice President Rajesh Jha, turned up on RSS feeds.

Acompli’s free e-mail app, for iOS and Android devices, has garnered many positive reviews since its release earlier this year. It supports Gmail and Microsoft Exchange integration – which likely brought the app to the attention of its new owner – as well as Dropbox, iCloud, and OneDrive.

Source: engadget

One Simple E-Mail Ended With Complete Worldwide Chaos Inside The BP Corporation

If you are an employee in a corporation, most notably a worldwide corporation, then you are most likely required to send out e-mails to different departments. That’s what happened at BP, where an employee wrote an e-mail to a Mr. “Shahid” where he mentioned that an employee by the name of “Anant Prakash” was removed from the OMS Navigation Users distribution list. However, the mail did not reach only the employees in question, but the whole worldwide group of employees.

Having sent an e-mail to different users than required (in this case all BP employees), the next reasonable step was to send another e-mail in reply, notifying upon the mistake. Something like “Please disregard the previous e-mail” or “Kindly ignore the e-mail” are just a few examples that follow such an error. However, before he was able to rectify his mistake, replies were rolling in.

It started off with e-mails such as “I have no idea who this is and can you remove me from this email,” or “Similarly I think I was added to the distribution in error”. From here, others have tried to contain the thread with messages such as “OK we have all been added in error and the guy who sent the original email has already recognised his mistake!”. Alas, that did not stop the spark generated.

Soon after, all employees from different time zones were starting to wake up or take an interest in this spamming thread, some even sending replies such as “Keep me in the loop please, I love this madness! :)”. It is not uncommon for people to be amused by such mistakes, however there were other more monotonous employees who did not find it so amusing thinking it will make a difference by expressing their frustration with capital letters and hitting the ‘Reply All’ button. A glimpse of the thread can be seen below:

“CAN YOU ALL STOP SELECTING ‘REPLY ALL’ …… just reply to Patsy.”



“Who on earth are all you people and why are you bombarding my inbox?”

Just out of curiosity; do you have a distribution list that reads “Everyone in the world”? If so, please remove me from that list.
Thank you”

There were even employees which missed out on the topic and were asking for someone to resend the original e-mail, followed by some employee stating that he has spoken with officials at Guiness World Recors about the thread and thought they could even break the world record with this developing spam:

“I missed the original email. Can you please resend it again………. THANKS………..!!!!!!!!!”

“Keep calm and
Keep replying All!!!”

“Don’t stop, please, keep moving”

“Have just put the phone down from the Guinness people, they say another 64 replies and we have the new world record !!!
We can do this !”

And as a grand finale to this epic spam thread, the person in cause, Mr. “Anant Prakash” replied at last, having ‘restored’ order to his fellow co-workers’ inbox folders, with the following:

“To the whole BP family who have taken the time to email me today Have a wonderful weekend – I’m off to the pub.”

Thank you

Galaxy Gear Gets Custom ROM With Third-Party App And Web Browsing Support

XDA Developers working on the Galaxy Gear cooked up a new custom ROM for the device, which unlocks quite a few nifty features. The smartwatch sold only about 50,000 units, a remarkably low number for the effort put into it, but given the recent change in restrictions (and thanks to XDA developers), things might change in the future.

The ROM mentioned is named Null, a completely deodexed and rooted custom ROM, which allows the watch to run a tweaked version of stock Android, with a custom launcher called Nova and live wallpaper support to boot. Thanks to plenty of hard work, the ROM is also able to allow the Gear to perform full web searching, as well as install third-party applications as you would any other device. There is even a feature that lets you check your e-mails right on your wrist.

Here are the features included in this particular custom-made ROM:

  • MK7 BASE
  • CM10.2 BROWSER
  • CM10.2 GALLERY

It’s definitely an interesting development for the smartwatch, but since it is still only compatible with TouchWiz devices, we are still stuck at square one. The issue is, hardly anyone owns this thing. So until you see this watch on a lot more wrists, you can continue to expect a low number of developers offering any of their time to work on it.

For those of you who indeed own such a device, instructions on how to install the Null ROM and download link can be found here.

Thank you Droid Life for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of XDA Developers