Paradigm Computer Consulting Blog

Paradigm Computer Consulting has been serving the Bedford area since 1994, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Email Security Basics

Email Security Basics

Email is a modern classic as far as business solutions are concerned, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an office that didn’t use it in some capacity or another. However, because email is so popular, it has become a favorite attack vector of malicious users. Fortunately, there are some basic practices that will help keep your email account secure and your communications private.

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Tech Term: Opening the Spam Folder

Tech Term: Opening the Spam Folder

Spam is a tricky subject to talk about, as it seems everyone has a different definition for it. Yet, most have come to the conclusion that spam is a bad thing. For today’s Tech Term, we want to delve deep into the different kinds of spam out there, as well as theorize where the term even came from.

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Tech Term: What Does “Encryption” Mean?

Tech Term: What Does “Encryption” Mean?

Email is a solution that needs to be protected, lest you expose important information to any onlookers while messages are in transit. Encryption is one of the key ways you can make sure that your messages are safe, but email hasn’t always used this method to secure messages. In fact, it wasn’t until relatively recently that encryption became a staple of the major email providers.

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Tip of the Week: Managing Gmail with Labels and Filters

Tip of the Week: Managing Gmail with Labels and Filters

Gmail is a great way to take advantage of business email, but do you know all of the ins and outs of how to use some of its finer details? Today’s tip is dedicated to going over some of the more useful features of Gmail, like filters and labels--both of which will be helpful in controlling your inbox.

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Do You Have a Unified Strategy to Your Business' Communications

Do You Have a Unified Strategy to Your Business' Communications

Communication is one of the cornerstones on which your business functions, and without it, you will find that going about your daily duties is considerably more difficult. Communication is one of the many ways your organization accomplishes both major and minor tasks, so you want to pay especially close attention to how your business handles phone calls, email, and even mobile devices--both in and out of the office.

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Hitman Email Scam Threatens Your Life, Instead of Your Data

Hitman Email Scam Threatens Your Life, Instead of Your Data

Email scams have become a sort of punchline, often featuring Nigerian princes or wealthy, unknown relatives in need of funds to get home. However, another email scam is anything but amusing, as it uses a unique possession of the target to entice them to comply: their life.

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Is Your In-House Email Server Worth It? Probably Not

Is Your In-House Email Server Worth It? Probably Not

If you’re like most businesses, you almost certainly rely on email on a daily basis. However, if your email is hosted on an in-house server, you are becoming less like many businesses, as they are moving their solutions to the cloud. Here’s why you should follow suit and make the switch yourself.

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How a Single Hacker Stole $100 Million From Two Major Tech Companies

How a Single Hacker Stole $100 Million From Two Major Tech Companies

An unfortunate fact about the modern business world is that any organization that utilizes technology is playing with fire. Cyber attacks can circumvent even the most well-protected networks through the company’s users. This is, unfortunately, something that business owners often don’t learn until they’re on the receiving end of an attack; just like the two companies that fell victim to phishing attempts that were supposedly operated by Evaldas Rimasauskas, a Lithuanian hacker who has been accused of stealing $100 million from them.

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Tip of the Week: 3 Tools for Simplifying Your Company’s Email

Tip of the Week: 3 Tools for Simplifying Your Company’s Email

Managing your company’s email can be a complex endeavor, due to the sheer volume of messages being sent and received, as well as the need to have a way to prioritize which messages are important. It’s safe to say that all organizations can benefit from email management solutions, such as email archiving and spam protection, and multi-factor authentication.

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Tip of the Week: 4 Easy Ways to Share Files

Tip of the Week: 4 Easy Ways to Share Files

There are many ways to share a file between two computers. Being familiar with multiple options will certainly come in handy, especially when your preferred method of file sharing isn’t an option (like when you can’t find your flash drive, or maybe you lose Internet connection). For this week’s tip, here are four options to help your business more effectively share files.

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The Most Popular Domains Make the Biggest Targets for Email Spoofing

The Most Popular Domains Make the Biggest Targets for Email Spoofing

Let’s say that you receive an email from a software vendor, say, Microsoft. When you are contacted by a major company like this, do you automatically assume that it’s secure, or are you skeptical that it’s a scam? Ordinarily, it might not seem like a big issue, but all it takes is one click on an infected attachment or malicious link to infect your business’s infrastructure.


According to a Swedish cybersecurity firm called Detectify, there are major online domains that are at risk of email spoofing due to misconfigured server settings. Email spoofing is the act of sending a message, while masking the true email address that it comes from. This allows hackers to forge the sender address to suit their needs. Generally speaking, email messages don’t have automatic authentication built into them. This is something that must be configured on the server side of things.

Thankfully, there are ways to properly configure your email server, but unless you’re a hardcore techie, you run the risk of either configuring the system incorrectly, or changing settings that may compromise your security. Yet, it’s still important to keep in mind how the solutions that prevent email spoofing, work. Here’s a breakdown of the details:

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF): This is a record that’s checked alongside the DNS (Domain Name System) record, in order to decide whether or not the server is allowed to send email using the specific domain. SPF uses three identifiers for its messages: softfail (accept the message, but mark it as spam), hardfail (reject the message entirely), and neutral (do nothing and let the message through unhindered).
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM): DKIM hashes the body and the header of the email separately, and creates a private key that gets sent with the message. Once the message is received, the key will perform a DNS request to see where the email originated. If everything adds up properly, the message is received.
  • Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC): DMARC is considered the ideal solution, as it makes use of both SPF and DKIM to identify an email. DMARC’s functions split into three: reject (a full rejection, and the end-user never sees the message), quarantine (the message is stored for your review), and none (allow the message through). The idea is to either identify messages as fraudulent, or provide the system administrators with the ability to review them and make the decision themselves.

You might be wondering why we’re even bringing this up, and it’s because Detectify discovered that, out of the top 500 sites on the Internet, 276 of them can be spoofed. Detectify considers servers that don’t have SPF or DMARC configured correctly to be vulnerable to email spoofing - this includes using no SPF at all, using SPF with softfail only, and using DMARC with action none. Therefore, you need to take measures to ensure that your team knows how best to identify spoofed email domains, and phishing messages in general. If you don’t, you could be placing your business in harm’s way. On top of that, you’ll want to make sure your email server is configured to not allow your email domain to get spoofed.

The best way to keep your employees from falling into this trap is by ensuring that you’ve educated them on security best practices, and to limit their exposure to such threats in the first place. This includes taking the time to explain to them how phishing threats and other security discrepancies behave, as well as implementing solutions to keep suspicious messages out of your inbox in the first place.

Your business needs to consider security a top priority, and only Paradigm Computer Consulting can help. Reach out to us at (603) 647-8614.

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Tip of the Week: Overwhelmed With Email? Try These 3 Helpful Tips

Tip of the Week: Overwhelmed With Email? Try These 3 Helpful Tips

Email is a central part of any functional modern office, but if you aren’t proactive in keeping your inbox under control, you could be wasting time on unnecessary messages or spam. If you want to get the most out of your workday, it’s imperative that you take back control of your business email inbox. Here are three ways that yourself and your employees can clean up your inboxes and waste less time throughout the work day.

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AOL CEO Gets His Twitter Account Hacked and the Internet Responds Appropriately

AOL CEO Gets His Twitter Account Hacked and the Internet Responds Appropriately

Imagine that you are the CEO of a mass media organization whose Twitter has just been hacked and was now posting 20 spam-filled tweets every second. You’ve just put yourselves in the shoes of Tim Armstrong, CEO of now-Verizon-subsidiary AOL.

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Tip of the Week: How to Write an Email that Will Actually Get Replied To

Tip of the Week: How to Write an Email that Will Actually Get Replied To

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re watching your inbox, waiting for a response that probably isn’t coming? This is a problem that’s all too common, and it’s because the average business owner could very well be stymieing their own progress by sending emails that are too long, too wordy, or even too brief. A study by Boomerang suggests that there are four ways to make emails more viewer-friendly.

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Tip of the Week: Don’t Let These 4 Office Distractions Get the Best of You

b2ap3_thumbnail_offices_have_many_distractions_400.jpgIt’s time to be realistic and admit that the office can be an extraordinarily distracting place. Constant meetings and discussions, phones ringing, and emails hitting the inbox can all seem overwhelming. With so much going on, how can you get the most work done while still remaining in contact with your co-workers?

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Tip of the Week: Use Android to Get Gmail Functionality for Your Non-Gmail Email Account

b2ap3_thumbnail_switch_your_mail_to_gmail_400.jpgGmail is a great email client, but not everyone uses it as their primary method of email communication. Some might prefer Microsoft Outlook, or they might still be using Yahoo Mail. Even if Google wants you to be using their email service, they know that they can’t win them all. For those who want the experience of Gmail without switching providers, you can now do so on the Gmail app for Android.

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Tip of the Week: Unsure if an Email Address is Valid? Here’s How to Check!

b2ap3_thumbnail_email_verification_400.jpgSometimes you might write an email to someone who you’ve never emailed before (perhaps you scrawled down their email while on the phone or at an event), and questioned the authenticity of your recipient’s email address. Those who use email frequently know all too well what this feels like. It makes the most sense to first make sure that you have the right email address before sending a message.

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Tip of the Week: How to Spot and Avoid Email Spoofing

b2ap3_thumbnail_email_spoofing_400.jpgLet’s say you get an email from a close friend. It looks like it’s legitimate, until you check the contents of the message. It’s an advertisement, or it’s trying to get you to click on a link to see something “important.” Regardless of what the content of the message is, you should probably slap that bad boy in the Spam section of your email inbox. You’ve just been the target of email spoofing, and it’s more common than you might think.

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Your Professional Business Needs a Professional Communications Strategy

b2ap3_thumbnail_unified_communications_400.jpgIt’s not always easy for businesses to keep up with the latest communications technology. Some organizations are still stuck in the days of using antiquated communication mediums that are specific to the individual, rather than to an organization. In order to optimize the way your business communicates both internally and externally, it’s critical that you address the following two opportunities for unified communications.

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How to Get a Grip On Your Email Inbox

b2ap3_thumbnail_email_best_400.jpgEmail is an aging communication protocol, but it’s still an important asset nonetheless. Even though society continues to push toward bigger and greater things, the modern office still depends on having an email solution for a communication medium. While we can’t get away from email completely, it’s important to make sure that using it is as easy as possible, especially for the busy business owner.

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