Believe it or not, email has been around since the 1960’s, though it didn’t make its way into mainstream business culture until the early 1990’s. Judging from some inboxes I’ve come across, some of you might actually have email dating back that far. Depending on your industry, this may or may not be necessary, but storing and keeping that much email usable is almost a universal problem that smaller businesses and individuals struggle with daily.
Are you impacted?
Some of you may be asking, “I’ve been storing email in Outlook for years and it’s only a problem now?” This isn’t a sudden, unexpected crisis, but one that has been growing (pun intended) for some time. Lately I’m seeing more and more folks hit “critical mass” and it’s due to the coincidental rise of several technology factors:
- Mobile devices with increasingly higher-resolution cameras. The iPhone can take an 8MB photo, and a 43MB panoramic photo. As a reference, GoDaddy’s email attachment limit is 20MB, and Gmail’s is 25MB. Whether their reason for sharing several high-res photos via email is for business or pleasure, a handful will put most people right over their size limit and capabilities of Outlook.
- Faster internet connections. We don’t think twice about sending larger files via email, or multiple emails to get around the attachment limits.
- The rapidly diminishing cost of storage, both in physical media like hard drives and on cloud platforms like DropBox, iCloud, SkyDrive, etc. This encourages to disregard file size, something that email (remember the tech is over 50 years old) was never designed to handle.
Combine the above with email archives going back years and you can end up with an inbox grossly over the limit. Overly large email boxes (and large email attachments) can lead to noticeable performance degradation, especially in the corporate poster child of email clients, Microsoft Outlook. Depending on your server limits, you may have been forced to move your old emails to one or more archives, which, when they too become oversized, can also lead to headaches and data loss.
Next week: we discuss how to solve this thorny problem.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A new variant of the Dorkbot Worm that plagued Facebook users in late 2011 has resurfaced via emails sent to Skype users with the message reading “Lol is this your new profile pic?” The email also has a zipped attachment that contains an executable titled “skype_[today’s date]_image.exe” hoping to fool careless Skype users into thinking that the attached file is an update to their Skype software, or more foolishly somehow the above referenced profile picture. Instead, it “zombifies” the computer and, in a new twist, also installs a “Ransom-ware” form of malware which encrypts the user’s data and threatens to delete it unless a payment of $200 is made within 24-48 hours.
What this means for you:
Even if you are running the most recent and most powerful anti-virus and anti-malware software on your machine, it’s still possible for your computer to become compromised merely because you “opened the door” by purposefully running the unindentified executable. There is nothing that can prevent your computer being compromised in these types of situations except constant vigilance. Here’s what you should be watching for:
- Do you even know the sender? Do they normally email you out of the blue with an attachment? Obviously, attachments from strangers is a huge red flag!
- Is the email you’ve received characteristic of the sender? Does it have unusual spellings (or misspellings), capitalization, punctuation? Is the subject matter something you would normally discuss via email?
- Is the attachment something you were expecting, or at minimum, something you recognize? Is it normal for the sender to be sending you a file in this manner?
- If the email includes links, do the links actually go to where they say they do? For example, look at this link I made to google.com (which actually goes to bing.com). See how easy it is to fake a URL? Use your email program’s “View Source” option to check suspicious links.
- If you want to be certain, contact the sender via another means – phone, SMS, in-person – (their email account may be compromised) to verify they actually sent you a safe attachment.
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net