Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Add A Signature To Your E-mails

Due to my schedule, I must repost for today’s article. This is one of my early (circa 2007) How To’s…

Tip of the day: A quick and easy tip today: personalize your email with a pre-configured signature, and cut down on your repetitive typing. Every email client, and online email account, allows you to create a “signature” which is automatically added to the bottom of every email you send.
I use mine to invite people to visit my websites and it includes clickable links. You may want to provide a phone number or other contact information. Some accounts may allow you to include a (v. small) logo or graphic. Or you can simply enter your name, and save yourself having to type it all the time.

I will demonstrate the steps of creating a signature in Hotmail, and the same methods can be used for other online mailboxes like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and the one that comes from your Internet provider (Cox, Comcast, Earthlink, etc.) — and in Outlook and Thunderbird. I will start with Hotmail:

htmlopts.jpg The place to start, always, is under the Options menu (sometimes “options” is called “Preferences” or “Settings” –  those are interchangeable words in the world of computing menus). This is found in the upper right.
htmlopts2.jpgIn Hotmail, the choice you want is under “Customize your mail” and is named “Personal e-mail signature”. Other mailbox providers may simply label this “Signature”. Click on this choice, whatever it’s named.

The image below shows what I have entered as my Hotmail signature. As you can see, you enter your text here much the same as you do elsewhere in Hotmail, and you have the same toolbar for text options. To make any link you include “clickable” (should you wish), be sure to include the “http://”.
htmlsig.jpg
When you have your signature the way you like it, hit the “Save” button. While it is true that your signature will be largely ignored by your recipients, it is advisable to keep it short, simple, and professional.

In Outlook, the place to look is under the Tools menu. Click “Options”, and then click on the Mail Format tab, as shown below.

outlookopts.jpg

Click on the “Signatures” button, which is down towards the very bottom.

outsig.jpg
Because this tool is ‘plain text’, and doesn’t have font controls and such, I create my signature in Word, and Copy>Paste it into this window. (I used this same trick in Thunderbird.)

The method to attach a signature in Thunderbird is a little different. Again you start on the Tools menu, but instead of going straight to Options, select the choice right above that; Account Settings.
tbirdsig.jpg
Although this appears to be a very small and “featureless” window, you can in fact create a signature as complex as the one shown in the Hotmail image.

Signatures save you time, can advertise your business, and take only a minute to set up (or, change/update).

Today’s free download: I cannot, right at the moment, recall if I have already posted the free email client Thunderbird as a link.. I think I have but, just in case, here it is again– it’s good enough (especially at spam filtering) for a double posting.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 12, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, how to | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Vast Criminal Enterprise Aimed At You

– Five Defensive Strategies

“Today’s Internet attacks are organized and designed to steal information and resources¹ from consumers and corporations. The web is now the primary route by which cybercriminals infect computers. Cybercriminals are planting malicious code on innocent websites. This code then simply lies in wait and silently infects visiting computers.

The scale of this global criminal operation has reached such proportions that Sophos discovers one new infected webpage every 4.5 seconds – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In addition, SophosLabs, our global network of threat analysis centers, is sent some 20,000 new samples of suspect code² every single day.

2008 at a glance

  • Biggest malware threats – SQL injection attacks against (legitimate) websites and the rise of scareware (aka “rogue” anti-malware programs)
  • New web infections – one new infected webpage discovered by Sophos every 4.5 seconds (24/7 x 365)
  • Malicious email attachments – five times more at the end of 2008 than at the beginning
  • Spam-related webpages – one new webpage discovered by Sophos every 15 seconds
  • New scareware websites – five identified every day
  • Top malware-hosting country – US with 37 percent
  • Top spam-relaying continent – Asia with 36.6 percent
  • Amount of business email that is spam – 97 percent

Injection attack? coming to get you By exploiting poorly secured legitimate websites, hackers have been able to implant malicious code onto them, which then attempts to infect every visitor. One of the reasons the web is so popular is that legitimate websites can attract large numbers of visitors, all of whom are a potential victim.
(This as also known as “poisoning”.)

Many well known organizations and brands have fallen victim to this kind of attack during 2008. Both large and small organizations have been targeted.
January 2008: Thousands of websites belonging to Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and schools/universities were infected with malicious code. more..

¹ read “money”
² read “malware”

Folks, this is taken from a whitepaper titled “Security Threat Report 2009” and produced by the IT Security firm Sophos. Some of the emphasis is mine. You can download the document here.
I want to take a moment to thank them for publishing this, and saluting their effort to combat malware and the criminals behind it. In fact, let me go a step further and salute all you whitehats out there. Thank you.

What you can do

1: please read Top 10 things you should do to your computer–updated. It is a checklist, and provides you with the How To’s for a (more) secure computer, as well as providing links to important (free) security downloads.
2: enable an anti-phishing filter, which can help alert you to poisoned websites before you go there. All modern browsers have a filter built in, and all you have to do is turn it on; or, you can add a toolbar/plug-in such as McAfee’s Site Advisor or the excellent WOT.
3: make sure ALL the programs on your computer are patched and up-to-date. The easiest and most effective way to do this (IMHO) is to download and install the PSI (Personal Software Inspector) from Secunia.
4: Never respond to e-mails asking for personal information. Legitimate businesses never contact you about “important issues” via e-mail. But criminals love to go phishing!
5: Be PARANOID on the Internet. (Use common sense) Think someone can’t trace back to you? Guess again; your browser reveals a wealth of information by default. Sound too good to be true? It is. There’s no such thing as a “free iPod”… and, no, you did not win the Irish Lottery. Is looking at sexually explicit material simply irresistible? Go to one of those video rental shops that has a back room instead of clicking links and images — a malware infection can cost you all your data and/or several hundred dollars in cleanup.. and/or many hours of your time..

Folks, the Internet is not Disneyland. Most knowledgeable people refer to it as the “wild, wild, West” (a reference to sheer lawlessness) but I like a different analogy better.. think of it as going into the Big City, and going down to the docks/warehouse district, alone, and at night.
You can do it, but you best be careful.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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December 12, 2008 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, e-mail, hackers, how to, Internet, PC, Phishing, phraud, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments