Blocking Viruses And
Stamping Out Spam

By Ed Correia, CEO, Sagacent Technologies

Malicious attacks on computers has become one of the most challenging aspects of our job. The real problem is that nothing catches everything and what worked great last week may not work so great this week. This is because the bad guys are always looking at how the anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spam programs function to block the attacks. Then they deliberately write new attacks that go around these mechanisms within the anti-malware software, firewalls, etc.

For anti-virus – we always choose software that is best-in-class and catches around 90% to 95% of the typical viruses, worms and Trojan attacks by itself. We then ensure that these antivirus programs are updated daily with the new definition files of attacks from the previous day. By also running business-class firewalls at the company’s perimeter and configuring each user’s computer for high-security we are typically able to block 96 to 97% of the virus attacks aimed at a company.

When a client wants us to still increase their level of protection, getting very close to 100%, we then have a couple of other options. We can:

  • Install a second, but very different, antivirus filtering program to run on the firewall and/or
  • Utilize an antivirus filtering service located in the Internet or cloud

Changing operating systems also is helpful. Windows XP was significantly more secure than Windows 2000. And Windows 7 is significantly more secure than Windows XP ever was. So obviously, if it is possible for a client to upgrade to Windows 7, we highly encourage it.

For spam attacks – present solutions are even less effective left alone and by themselves. A good anti-spam blocking program will typically only block between 85% and 90% of the spam destined for the user. And anti-spam programs often use widely varying techniques for blocking spam. Many solutions choose one or more of the following techniques for determining ‘what is’ and ‘what is not spam’. Basically, these programs are deciding something is spam and blocking or filtering it out based on:

  • Words and/or content in the message
  • The sender or server the message originated from
  • The arrangement of content in the message
  • The punctuation in the message

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6 Ways To Ensure Your
Email Gets Read

by Sally McGhee
used with permission from the Microsoft At Work Site

If you’re like a lot of us, you get so much email every day that you might spend as little as 15 seconds scanning a message to determine how it applies to you. Now, imagine that other people are reading your email the same way. If they can’t quickly identify the purpose of your message, they’ll probably delete it or leave it in the Inbox for “later” –  if later ever comes.

In this article, I give 6 tips to ensure that your email messages are read and get the attention they deserve.

1. Make the purpose of the message clear
When recipients receive your email message, they should be able to see at a quick glance how the message relates to them and why it’s important. They may be looking at a preview of your message in Microsoft Outlook or on a Windows phone or Windows Mobile device, such as a personal digital assistant (PDA). Or they may see only Subject lines in their Inbox. If your Subject line is confusing and irrelevant, your email will surely get deleted in a hurry.

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