Having an internet connection will no longer be mandatory to read, compose, or search through your Gmail. Instead, you'll soon be able to do all of these offline as Google rolls out an experimental feature in the next couple of days to everyone who uses Gmail in the US or UK.
To turn the feature on, you'll click on Settings in your Gmail account, select the Labs tab, and select Enable next to Offline Gmail (our account didn't yet have the feature). After you save the changes, your browser will reload and display a new 'Offline' link which, when clicked, will download the open-source Gears. Google then uses Gears to download a local cache of your mail.
"As long as you're connected to the network, that cache is synchronized with Gmail's servers," Google writes on its blog. "When you lose your connection, Gmail automatically switches to offline mode, and uses the data stored on your computer's hard drive instead of the information sent across the network. You can read messages, star and label them, and do all of the things you're used to doing while reading your webmail online"
Google says not to worry if you have a dodgy or slow connection - enabling the "flacky connection mode" will synchronize your mail with the server in the background, but browsing will take place in the local cache for immediate access. Sounds groovy.
Yahoo "Anti-Spam Czar" Mark Risher says the search company has begun taking several steps toward cutting back on the amount of spam Yahoo email account holders receive.
"Recently, Yahoo!’s anti-spam team has been using a 'supercomputer; consisting of thousands of individual PCs — part of our open source Hadoop project — to help detect spammer," Risher wrote on the Yahoo Mail blog. "We’re teamed up with several top universities on this research, looking for more ways to find and block the bad guys even faster, before they can do their damage."
Risher went on to say Yahoo has signed a deal with Abaca, a startup company who ambitiously promises "a minimum of 99 percent accuracy" when it comes to detecting spam. Yahoo has also begun using Return Path technology, which lets legitimate companies know when their emails have been marked as spam.
Internet shenanigans are keeping abreast with the latest developments around the world and using it to their advantage. An email doing the rounds around the internet hoodwinks the recipient into believing that it is from CNN. The clandestine email ostensibly contains a link to a “graphic” video of the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. However, it leads to a fake website that contains a Trojan that betrays the user’s sensitive data, according to the RSA.
The author of the phishing attack has tried to make the website as plausible as possible. Upon visiting the link, the user is greeted with a message asking him to update his Adobe Flash Player. If the user lends his countenance to the download, a Trojan is downloaded instead of the latest version of Flash
Could it be possible that legitimate email messages only account for 10 percent of all email? According to the Cisco 2008 Annual Security Report, the answer is 'yes.' The report claims that nearly 200 billion pieces of spam are sent and received every day, accounting for 90 percent of the world's email. Making the influx of spam messages possible are armies of hijacked computers, Cisco says.
"Every year we see threats evolve as criminals discover new ways to exploit people, networks, and the internet," said Cisco chief security researcher Patrick Peterson. "The botnet is, in many cases, ground-zero for online criminal threats."
Cisco points to the United States as by far the biggest source of spam, accounting for 17.2 percent of the messages. Turkey came in second at 9.2 percent, and Russia ranked third accounting for 8 percent.
What's most striking is that spam volumes have nearly doubled in 2008 compared to 2007. This despite a handful of recent busts by the FTC on various spam rings, which appear to have done nothing when looking at the overall picture. And because spammers "rarely use computers in their physical possession, instead renting or building botnets," the FTC will continue to fight an uphill battle until security improves across the board. Don't hold your breath.
With proper filters in place, you may not even have noticed that spam levels have dropped off recently. It isn't that the scumbags sending out the unsolicited emails have gotten into the holiday spirit and decided to take a break from their operations, and instead the drop off was a result of the FTC shutting down McColo Corp., the web hosting service believed to be responsible for 75 percent of the world's spam.
The two-week hiatus appears to be over. According to Symantec's MessageLabs, spam emails are increasing at twice the volume after McColo went offline. Following the FTC bust, MessageLabs says that spam levels dropped precipitously by 80 percent. But now the remaining 20 percent has increased to 37 percent, indicating that the botnet owners have found new ISPs for their operations.
"The Asporx and Rustock botnets are back with a vengeance after having found new command and control," MessageLabs' Matt Sergeant said.
It looks like fruitcakes won't be the only unwanted gifts this holiday season.
The internet has become a breeding ground for scams of all shapes and sizes, but perhaps none more popular (and thus more easily recognizable) than the email rouse of a long lost relative, government official, or bank employee holed up in Nigeria and needing your help in securing a large sum of money. There's really no need to go on because you've undoubtedly received variations of this scam in your inbox countless times and, well, it never works. Or does it?
Not only does the old Nigerian bit still lure victims, the scam claimedits biggest known payday to date thanks to Janella Spears who forked over a mind boggling $400,000. Despite the big payout, Spears still contends she isn't easily duped. After all, she works as a registered nurse, teaches CPR, is a reverend who has married many couples, and also learned sign language to communicate with her hearing impaired husband. So what possible spin could this common scam have come with that got a seemingly intelligent woman to take the bait?
Hit the jump to find out what it was that convinced Spears the scam might be legit.
We'd be remiss to claim that the tide is turning in the war against spam, but that doesn't stop us from getting excited at seeing the scumbags responsible suffer setbacks. Such was the case last month when the FTC said it had shut down one of the largest global spam networks allegedly responsible for sending billions of unsolicited emails. Now, less than one month later, a web hosting firm believed to be responsible for hosting roughly 75 percent of the world's spam has gone offline.
With servers housed in a 30-story office tower in downtown San Jose, California, hosting service McColo Corp. was shut down when two internet providers, Global Crossing and Hurricane Electric, cut off service after receiving reports about McColo's activities. Following the termination of service, security companies noticed an immediate drop in spam volumes, with email security firm IronPort claiming spam levels fell by about 66 percent for the 24 hour period ending Tuesday. Unfortunately, the drop isn't expected to last.
"We're seeing a slow recovery," said Nilesh Bhandari, product manager with IronPort. "We fully expect this to recover completely, and to go into the highest ever spam period during the upcoming holiday season."
If you spend a lot of time on the internet (and let’s be frank, if you’re reading maximumpc.com, you do) you’ve probably become intimately familiar with Google search. After all, the web’s a big place, and finding what you need can be pretty damn tough without the help of a search engine.
But you don’t need to be Googling as much as you are. A host of new web-based tools are becoming available which do the searching for you. They can keep track of subjects that interest you, as well as housing and job listings, product pricing and availability, and more. Best of all, you can have updates sent right to your email inbox, as often as you want. In this guide we’ll show you the best tools for keeping track of the changing web, and give you examples of how they can be effectively used.
Earlier this month, Google announced its "Mail Goggles" feature for Gmail users who have a habit of sending out emotionally charged emails without first considering the consequences. That was followed up by this week by giving Gmail users the ability to send canned responses based on a set of custom-created filters. So what will Gmail engineers conjure up next?
If you answered 'emoticons,' go ahead and give yourself a happy face. Users can now select from nearly 160 animated and static emoticons, ranging from two block-headed faces giving each other a smooch (aww) to a stinking pile of crap with flies swirling around (aww schnap!).
"The black-and-white days of text-based emails have had their day," Darren Lewis, Gmail engineer, said in a blog post. "Following the evolutionary path blazed by colored labels, we present, in all their technicolor glory, emoticons in your mail."
We feel your pain. A stud like yourself should never be single, but for whatever reason, your overclocking mojo and wicked high framerates have failed to score that lucky lifelong mate you know is out there. No problem, that's what dating sites are for. But how do you manage the inevitable flurry of responses you're sure to receive? After all, you did include a photo of your custom build and a CPU-Z screenshot, right?
Of course you did, and this is just one of the many scenarios where a canned response would come in handy. Think of the time you could save by not having to reply to each solicitation individually.
"Hi. Thanks for your interest in my personal ad (who can blame you?). As you might have surmised, I do get an inordinate amount of responses. In order to save us both some time, please reply back with a few specific details, including your hair color, cup size, favorite food, and any special talents you may have. Please don't forget to attach a recent photo. Good luck!"
Because not everyone should receive the same message, and some none at all, Gmail's new 'Canned Responses' feature lets you create automated messages using filters based on keywords, sender, recipients, and more. How groovy!
Plan to use this feature? Hit the jump and let us know how.