Archive for the ‘How To’ Category

Keeping Your Email Server’s Reputation Clean

I was recently asked about some general steps to ensure an organization’s email server is “clean.” Here is the advice for doing this (forward to your technical contacts).

  1. Use a service to check and monitor your email server’s reputation. A good example is
    You can sign up for a free monitoring service (2 hosts for free) to monitor your server for being placed on a blacklist. It gets checked daily, and they send you an email if you server’s blacklist status has changed.
  2. Make sure you have “SPF Records” defined for your domain. This proactive tool allows an organization to state explicitly what servers will be sending email for its domain.
  3. Make sure your have special email accounts defined:
    • (required)
    • (recommended)
  4. If you have listserves or send a fair amount of email (especially marketing content), you may want to create an account with, but there is a small annual fee for their service. I found it particularly useful when an email server was blocked by the “Barracuda anti-spam service”.

How-To: Killing “Fake Anti-Virus” Pop-ups

A client called today to report a “fake anti-virus” on her screen. Luckily she left it on her screen so that I could remote in, see the problem, and fix it.

Here is a quick how-to on defeating this right when it occurs so that the “malware” does not get installed on a Windows machine with the Internet Explorer browser:

  1. Run Windows Task Manager by using [Start],[Run] from the task bar, type in taskmgr and click on [OK].
  2. Click on the Applications tab.
  3. For each Application listed, select and click the [End Task] button. If you get the prompt to either “wait” or “end now”, choose “end now.”
  4. Close the Task Manager window.
  5. Open the Control Panel and then open “Internet Options”.
  6. Find the option to delete temporary files. In IE8, there is a [Delete…] button in the “Browsing History” section.
  7. Choose the option to delete “Temporary Internet Files”. This is really the only item that needs to be checked.
  8. Close control panel.
  9. Reboot your machine.

WARNING: If you do not close the applications using the Task Manager, you will likely cause your machine to get infected when you reboot. It’s a long story as to how this happens — just be careful. Otherwise, you will likely need to make a call for IT support.

ANOTHER CAVEAT: If your machine is already infected, this will not disinfect it. This only prevents the “Fake Anti-Virus” from getting installed the first time.


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