We are planning on upgrading two Access Points on Tuesday, March 25. This will result in a brief period of downtime while the change is taking place, but it should improve performance, and it will not require any equipment changes at anyone’s home.
The two areas affected will be the Twin Creek area of Georgetown/Walburg in the morning and the Durham Park/Thousand Oaks area of Liberty Hill in the afternoon. We will try to keep the duration of the downtime to a minimum, but there will be some periods where people on each of the affected APs will be out of service.
Most of our e-mail customers have been using the Postini junk-mail filtering service for years, but unfortunately, Google has decided to shut down the specific Google Postini Services we have been using.
The official ending date for our Postini services is July 31, but we have our transition plan in place, and we expect to have all filtering moved over to the new system by July 17. The new system uses Barracuda technology, and is located here at our office. It should have already been sending out e-mails regarding its quarantine, and those e-mails do include a clickable link which will not only take you to the server, but will log you in, as well.
You can access the mail-filtering server by going to barracuda.westernbroadband.com.
Part of this transition has been adding the Barracuda device into the rotation of mail filters. This has been done already, which is why some of you have already received user quarantine messages, but the bulk of messages are still being routed through Postini for filtering. This balance will be shifting over the next week, so that only a dwindling percentage of messages will still go through Postini, and then none at all.
Your quarantine on Postini will still be available until the end of the month, but any messages left there past that date will be gone forever.
We hope that this process moves smoothly, but if you encounter any issues, please let us know!
When we purchased PM WiFi’s Central Texas operations in 2008, we kept the previous owner’s setup for all the PM WiFi e-mail accounts, which was managed and hosted by GoDaddy. Recently, we had gotten a number of frustrated customers calling us with problems accessing the GoDaddy servers, mostly for sending mail, but some had issues with logging into their incoming server, as well. At this time, it made sense to migrate the entire domain onto our own servers, which allows us to more effectively manage all the settings with a flexibility we had previously lacked.
We made the change on May 8th, and here’s what you need to know:
- The old server, at secureserver.net, is still going to have the accounts up for a few more weeks. We will probably shut it down on June 1st, so you will need to archive any messages stored there you want to keep, and any address book info that isn’t otherwise available.
- Because I did not want any mail to be undeliverable during the transition, I created a matching account on the new server for each one on the old server, but I did have to generate the passwords on the new server independently. If you did respond to the e-mails I sent about this topic, then you’ll have a valid password and you should have no problem accessing the new server. If you have not supplied me with a password you want to use for the new server, you will almost certainly not be able to access your new inbox until this is cleared up
- The new server can be accessed at either mail.pmwifi.com or mail.ecpi.com – the username is the full email address, including the @pmwifi.com part, and the password is the new password. You will probably need to change the outgoing port in your mail client to 587 as well, since the other two of the old server’s alternate port numbers (80 and 3535) are not supported, nor is port 465 (with SSL)
- The webmail page may be accessed with either of those URLs or you can select “Webmail” under “My Account” on the Western Broadband main website.
Please contact us, either by phone at (512)257-1077 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about these changes or require assistance getting your e-mail to work.
One other thing – after the switchover, a few of the PM WiFi accounts received “Welcome” messages from Postini, a spam-blocking service from Google. These are valid messages, not a phishing scheme, but there is a problem with logging into the Postini system using the pmwifi.com e-mail accounts, so I have removed those accounts from Postini and disabled all filtering. If you got one of those messages, just delete and disregard it.
We have seen an increase lately of e-mails which falsely claim to be from either email@example.com (which is a valid e-mail address) or firstname.lastname@example.org (which is not). Beware of these kinds of messages!
These e-mails usually either have a file attached, or they have links in the body of the message – those links do not point to any of our servers. The message usually has a passage implying some sort of urgency, threatening to cut off your e-mail access, or worse, if you do not follow their instructions.
This is, of course, nonsense.
We do occasionally send e-mails to our customers, but we would never send you an e-mail asking you to provide your password, because we do have it on file already. We will never send you an e-mail asking you to click on a link to a site other than http://www.ecpi.com or http://www.westernbroadband.com or another site on one of those domains, such as http://speedtest.ecpi.com unless we have spoken with you and you asked us to do so.
E-mail security is mostly based on being suspicious:
- Even though you think you know who sent an e-mail, you may be wrong: It is easy to forge an e-mail address which appears in as the sender in your e-mail program. I could change my address to email@example.com with a few mouse clicks, but there are clues in the actual e-mail headers which will help you track where the message really came from. Those headers aren’t always easy to find, but they are always there.
- Always assume any unsolicited attached file or suspicious link has a malicious purpose: Because any file that you open on your computer can have a great deal of power, be very careful about opening an unknown file. If you didn’t know it was coming, and you don’t know why they sent it to you, it ought to be treated as potentially dangerous. Likewise, any link in an e-mail message should be checked to verify it is taking you to the destination you intend. If you haven’t done so, you should activate the “View Shortcuts” (or equivalent) option in your e-mail program. What that does is show you, at the bottom of the window, the actual destination site for the link your mouse is hovering on. If the link looks like it’s going to PayPal, but the destination is actually something like “http://paypal.cyx.hosting.ru/hacking.php?1543”, that’s a clear sign not to trust the link! It may look like the PayPal site if you click on it, but it’s just a ruse to get your account information.
- Your browser and your mindset should be high-security: If you have your browser’s security settings properly configured, your browser may warn you that a link appears to be a phishing site, and it will ask you to confirm before allowing any plug-ins or ActiveX controls to be installed. Those are fine from a trusted site, but the extra confirmation step should help you be mindful of just which sites you are giving permission to control your computer.
- If you get tricked, take immediate action: If you have fallen prey to a phishing scam, it is vitally important to take swift action! Notifying the actual agency which was impersonated is probably the best first step, be it a bank, a website, or us. This can minimize the impact on your life. For instance, if you have given your e-mail password to a phisher, we can work with you to change your password, maybe even before the people who got it can put it to use. Similarly, if you notify your bank ASAP, they can block the account from being accessed by the crooks.
Following those tips can help keep you safe, but if you have further questions, you can always reach us at (512)257-1077 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the Western Broadband Blog – hopefully, if you are here, you are a subscriber to our internet service in Central Texas. The plan is for this page to include information about upgrade plans and both planned and unplanned outages.