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.
We're not so naive to think that male enhancement, weight-loss, and prescription medication solicitations will stop infiltrating our inbox and filling up our spam queue, but perhaps after the Federal Trade Commission's latest bust they'll be a little less frequent. The FTC said on Tuesday it had shut down one of the largest global spam networks allegedly responsible for sending billions of unsolicited emails.
The FTC received some 3 million complaints in connection with spam tied to the HerbalKing operation, which is said to have operated in the United States, China, New Zealand, and other nations. According to the FTC, HerbalKing received $400,000 in Visa credit car charges in a single month, leading a U.S. District Court to freeze the various defendants' assets.
As is typical of spam rings, HerbalKing utilized botnets to mass-mail recipients. Mega-D, believed to be the group's largest botnet, was responsible for 35,000 zombie PCs capable of sending out a whopping 10 billion email solicitations per day. But the list of infractions goes well beyond violating the Can-Spam Act of 2003. The FTC accuses HerbalKing of unlawful operation of a pharmacy, making false claims regarding the safety of herbal products containing potentially harmful ingredients, selling medication without proof of a prescription, and more.
Google wants to make sure you never again send an email that you later wish you could take back. Problem is, once that angry letter or drunken confession flies out of your outbox, the damage has been done and it's only a matter of time before the recipient reads it. If only there could have been someone by your side to force you to solve math problems before allowing you to send that email! Wait, what?
Now there will be, and it's called Mail Googles. Once enabled, Mail Goggles will subject you to a handful of math equations that must be answered before that email can be whisked away for good.
"When you enable Mail Goggles, it will check that you're really sure you want to send that late night Friday email," writes Jon Perlow, a Gmail engineer. "And what better way to check than by making you solve a few simple math problems after you click send to verify you're in the right state of mind?"
Hit the jump to post your thoughts on this one, but first, what's 86-32?
Those expecting Mozilla to release its open-source email client Thunderbird 3.0 in Beta 1 form will have to wait a little longer than initially thought. Rather than attach the Beta moniker to the updated version, Mozilla instead is dubbing it Alpha 3.
"Calling something a beta is likely to trigger a bunch of extra press attention that we're not yet in a position to deal with," said Dan Mosedale, who works at Mozilla Messaging. "Some number [of] reviews will be inappropriately pre-judging based on its current state. In the best case, this would be a distraction."
Mosedale also cited a lack of landing several milestones (AutoConfig, GloDa with full-text search, STEEL) as another reason why he's more comfortable calling the lastest Thunderbird 3.0 release an Alpha build instead of a Beta.
No matter what you call it, the latest beta/alpha/unfinished release is available now for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
According to a recent study conducted at the University of Leigh in Bethlehem, PA, chances are good that if you email, you’re a liar. The study, which involved 48 MBA students, consisted of giving them $89 to divide between themselves and an unknown party. Their only means of communication allowed were either email or pen-and-paper.
The study found that the students that communicated using email lied about the amount of money they had to split a whopping 92% of the time. On average the emailers gave only $29 and reported only a $56 pot. Those using pen and paper scored a bit better, but not by much. They lied only 64% of the time.
Those conducting the test say “There is a growing concern in the workplace over e-mail communications, and it comes down to trust. You're not afforded the luxury of seeing non-verbal and behavioral cues over e-mail. And in an organizational context, that leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation and, as we saw in our study, intentional deception.”
Another similar test was conducted with 69 full-time MBA students. This test showed results that the more familiar those emailing with each other are, the less deceptive the lies. “But they would still lie, regardless of how well they identified with each other,” the study said
Windows Live has come a long way since it was first introduced as a Microsoft brand in 2006. The first wave bolted Hotmail, Messenger, and Spaces into a single download. In last year's second wave, tools like SkyDrive, Events, Photo Gallery, LiveWriter, Calendar, and Family Safety joined the family, along with support for mobile devices. This week, Microsoft rolled out its third wave, adding a new member to the Windows Live family (Movie Maker) and new features to several existing programs (Messenger, Photo Gallery, Writer, Toolbar, and more). We've already told you about the new features in Hotmail, so join us after the jump to find out what's new and improved.