Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Identifying fraudulent "phishing" email - Apple Support

Identifying fraudulent "phishing" email - Apple Support

Identifying fraudulent "phishing" email

"Phishing" (also known as "carding" or "spoofing") refers to email that attempts to fraudulently acquire personal information from you, such as your account password or credit card information. On the surface, the email may appear to be from a legitimate company or individual, but it's not.

As a general rule, never send credit card information, account passwords, or extensive personal information in an email unless you verify that the recipient is who they claim to be. Many companies have policies that state they will never solicit such information from customers by email.

If you do receive email that you're not sure is valid, here are some tips that can help you determine its legitimacy.

Find out who the email is really from

View the email headers to see where the message really originated from. To find out how to view headers in OS X Mail, see this article. If you're using iCloud Mail on the web (webmail), follow these steps to view the headers.

A typical email header displays several lines that begin with "Received." Note the last "Received" line; this line will look something like this:

Received from genericwebsite.org (123.456.789.101)   

If the "Received from" information does not match the email address of the sender or the company being represented in the email, it usually means that the message did not truly come from that individual or company.

Be cautious of links in the email

Note: Apple may send email notifications to you containing embedded links to legitimate third-party sites. When you receive an email with links to other sites, use the information below to help you determine whether or not the links are legitimate.

One common phishing technique is to include links in an email that look like they go to a legitimate website. Upon closer inspection, the link may actually take you to a website that has nothing to do with the company the email is pretending to be from, even though the resulting website may be designed to look exactly the same.

In OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, Mail can help identify these type of links. Simply mouse over (but don't click) any link in an email, and you will see a pop-up that shows you the actual URL that you will be taken to. Here's an example:

You can clearly see that the visible link and the real link do not match—be careful. If the URLs in your email do not match, or the second URL is not from a domain or company you are familiar with, this is a good indication that this is a phishing email.

Tip: If you're using iCloud Mail with Safari, you can mouse over any link and compare the addresses there as well. If you have the Status Bar enabled in your browser, mousing over a link will show the URL in the browser's Status Bar at the bottom of the window. 

Check that the website you're accessing is legitimate

If you think the URL is legitimate and you click on the link, you can still check that it's a trusted website and business. Modern browsers like Safari 5, Firefox 7, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer 10 display the company name in green if the site has been issued an Extended Validation (EV) Certificate and is a legitimate website/business.

The iCloud service uses EV Certificates. Just look at the address bar in your web browser when you log in to iCloud.com. You will see "Apple, Inc." displayed in green, so you know that the site is legitimately Apple:

Safari

Firefox

Note the email greeting

Phishing emails tend to start with generic phrases like "Dear valued customer" or your email account name, such as "Dear snookums123," instead of your name ("Dear Emily" for example). Most legitimate companies include your name in their correspondence because companies will have it on record (if you've dealt with them before).

The message arrived at a different email address than the one you gave the sender

If the sender sent the message to an address that was not the one you provided to the company, this is usually a good indication that the message is not legitimate. You can usually verify what email address a company has on file on their website (just be sure to go to their real website instead of following any links in a suspicious email).

Keep previous history in mind

If you've had previous, valid correspondence with the company, compare those messages to the email in question. If you have never done business with a particular company, and you receive an email that appears to be from that company requesting account information, it could be an attempt at phishing. Again, never email account information or credit card information if you are in doubt.

Never provide personal account information through email

f you receive an unsolicited commercial email requesting personal information, do not provide any information without first checking directly with the company that appears to be the one requesting this information. Do not reply to the message or click any of the links in the message. Instead, visit the company's website and find an email address to contact regarding this issue, or call the company. Many companies appreciate being notified about fraudulent attempts to gain information about their customers.

Be cautious of attachments

If you receive an unsolicited message that contains an attachment, do not open it. Contact the company directly to verify the contents of the email and the attachment before opening it.

What to do with suspicious iCloud emails

If you receive a suspicious email, select the message text so that it is highlighted. Choose Forward as Attachment from the Message menu (OS X Mail) or the Actions menu (Outlook). Send the email to abuse@icloud.com. This provides Apple's legal department and law enforcement with useful information to help prevent future phishing emails.

Note: For suspicious emails related to iTunes, see this article.



^ed 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

IP 101: The Basics of IP Addresses

IP 101: The Basics of IP Addresses

IP 101: The Basics of IP Addresses

The "IP" part of IP address stands for "Internet Protocol." The "address" part refers to a unique number that gets linked to all online activity you do...somewhat like a return address on a letter you'd send out. (All this happens in milliseconds.)

That's the end of today's lesson. At least it should be.

Because from this point on, it gets complicated fast. And confusing. Information technology (IT) is crazy stuff and it's best left to those who have to deal with computers and networks.

Still, we're all on the Internet these days, and it seems we're always connected through our personal computers, laptops or mobile devices. And every time you go on the Internet, an IP address is right there, working for you.

And with so much obscure information (and misinformation) out there about the IP address, it's helpful to know the basics.

You've got connections.

Your computer is hooked up to the Internet, one way or the other. When you go online for email, to shop or chat, your request has to be sent out to the right destination, and the responses and information you want need to come back directly to you.

An IP address plays a significant role in that.

You and your computer actually connect to the Internet indirectly: You first connect to a network that is 1) connected to the Internet itself and 2) grants or gives you access to the Internet.

That network might be your Internet service provider (ISP) at home, or a company network at work, or a wireless network at a hotel or coffee shop when you're on the road. But with millions of computers on the Internet, how can your single computer jump right in and get you your work or personal emails and more without any problems?

Protocols are Protocols

To make sure you can do your thing on the Internet, your computer's networking software is hardwired to follow a list of built-in networking standards and rules (yes, protocols) to connect to Internet, and to swap information and data back and forth.

One of those networking protocols on your computer, the Internet Protocol, is responsible for addressing, delivering and routing your online requests precisely. It attaches an "electronic return address" to all your online requests and activity for you. The address it uses is the IP address for your connection.

So long, IP address. It was nice while it lasted.

When you're at home, an IP address is assigned to your computer by your Internet service provider (think Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, or AT&T). Since they are the ones giving you access to the Internet, it's their role to assign an IP address to your computer. Your Internet activity goes through them, and they route it back to you, using your IP address.

But don't get attached to it. Don't tattoo your IP address to your arm, because it's not really yours. Even at home it can change if you do something as simple as turn your modem or router on and off. Or you can contact your Internet service provider and they can change it for you.

You can't take it with you.

Plus, if you go on vacation and take along your laptop, your home IP address doesn't go with you. It can't, because on vacation you'll be using another network to connect to the Internet.

So, when you're at a coffee shop in another city or state (or just down the road) and you're using their WiFi to get your email, you're using a different (and temporary) IP address, one assigned to your laptop on the fly by the ISP for that coffee shop's Internet provider.

Same thing happens when you travel. As you move from the airport to your hotel to the local coffee house, your IP address will change each and every time.

But you don't have to think about it at all, or open the hood of your computer and flip switches. It all happens thanks to the intelligent design behind the Internet, wireless networks and all those Internet Protocols your computer uses.

"One latte and an IP address to go, please."

You can see all this for yourself. Next time you're using your laptop at a library, work or the corner store, just click on whatismyipaddress.com and check out the IP address you're using.

And to learn a little more about IP addresses, read the other articles right here on this website.

Related Articles



^ed 

IP 101: The Basics of IP Addresses

IP 101: The Basics of IP Addresses

IP 101: The Basics of IP Addresses

The "IP" part of IP address stands for "Internet Protocol." The "address" part refers to a unique number that gets linked to all online activity you do...somewhat like a return address on a letter you'd send out. (All this happens in milliseconds.)

That's the end of today's lesson. At least it should be.

Because from this point on, it gets complicated fast. And confusing. Information technology (IT) is crazy stuff and it's best left to those who have to deal with computers and networks.

Still, we're all on the Internet these days, and it seems we're always connected through our personal computers, laptops or mobile devices. And every time you go on the Internet, an IP address is right there, working for you.

And with so much obscure information (and misinformation) out there about the IP address, it's helpful to know the basics.

You've got connections.

Your computer is hooked up to the Internet, one way or the other. When you go online for email, to shop or chat, your request has to be sent out to the right destination, and the responses and information you want need to come back directly to you.

An IP address plays a significant role in that.

You and your computer actually connect to the Internet indirectly: You first connect to a network that is 1) connected to the Internet itself and 2) grants or gives you access to the Internet.

That network might be your Internet service provider (ISP) at home, or a company network at work, or a wireless network at a hotel or coffee shop when you're on the road. But with millions of computers on the Internet, how can your single computer jump right in and get you your work or personal emails and more without any problems?

Protocols are Protocols

To make sure you can do your thing on the Internet, your computer's networking software is hardwired to follow a list of built-in networking standards and rules (yes, protocols) to connect to Internet, and to swap information and data back and forth.

One of those networking protocols on your computer, the Internet Protocol, is responsible for addressing, delivering and routing your online requests precisely. It attaches an "electronic return address" to all your online requests and activity for you. The address it uses is the IP address for your connection.

So long, IP address. It was nice while it lasted.

When you're at home, an IP address is assigned to your computer by your Internet service provider (think Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, or AT&T). Since they are the ones giving you access to the Internet, it's their role to assign an IP address to your computer. Your Internet activity goes through them, and they route it back to you, using your IP address.

But don't get attached to it. Don't tattoo your IP address to your arm, because it's not really yours. Even at home it can change if you do something as simple as turn your modem or router on and off. Or you can contact your Internet service provider and they can change it for you.

You can't take it with you.

Plus, if you go on vacation and take along your laptop, your home IP address doesn't go with you. It can't, because on vacation you'll be using another network to connect to the Internet.

So, when you're at a coffee shop in another city or state (or just down the road) and you're using their WiFi to get your email, you're using a different (and temporary) IP address, one assigned to your laptop on the fly by the ISP for that coffee shop's Internet provider.

Same thing happens when you travel. As you move from the airport to your hotel to the local coffee house, your IP address will change each and every time.

But you don't have to think about it at all, or open the hood of your computer and flip switches. It all happens thanks to the intelligent design behind the Internet, wireless networks and all those Internet Protocols your computer uses.

"One latte and an IP address to go, please."

You can see all this for yourself. Next time you're using your laptop at a library, work or the corner store, just click on whatismyipaddress.com and check out the IP address you're using.

And to learn a little more about IP addresses, read the other articles right here on this website.

Related Articles



^ed 

How do I change my IP address?

How do I change my IP address?

How to change your IP address

If you want to change your IP address on your home computer, there are few ways that might work for you—some simple, some not. Before trying more complicated/technical methods described below, you can try something that's very easy.

  • Simply turn off or unplug your modem for about five minutes. (You don't have to turn your computer off.) In many cases this alone will change your IP address when you go back online.
  • If that doesn't work, try unplugging your modem overnight and checking your IP address the next morning.

To check the IP address you're currently using, simply go to our homepage. Hopefully one of these simpler steps will give you the result you wanted.

Have laptop, go mobile

If you have a laptop, you can switch to a new IP address very easily, if only temporarily—but you can do it anytime you want.

Just go to any coffee shop, bookstore or other place that offers free wireless Internet (Wi-Fi®). Your IP address will automatically change because you'll be using a different Internet connection to send email or join chat rooms.

How about a proxy?

If you're trying to change your IP address primarily because you want to access web-based forums, you may wish to look into using a proxy server. Learn more by reading our article on proxies.

What next?

If you're not the technical type, contact your Internet service provider (ISP) and ask them if they are able to change your IP address or how long your connection needs to be off for your IP address to change.

If you're up for more-advanced methods, and you use Windows, try the steps below and see if your IP address changes.

For Windows users

- Computer connected directly to a cable or DSL modem
  1. Get to a command prompt. (START, run, cmd).
    Start Menu Run Box
  2. Type "ipconfig /release" (without the quotes, on the command line by itself).
  3. Shut down computer.
  4. Turn off computer.
  5. Turn off all ethernet hubs/switches.
  6. Turn off cable/DSL modem.
  7. Leave off overnight.
  8. Turn everything back on.

For networks using a Router

  1. Log into the router's admin console. (Often http://192.168.1.1/)
  2. Release the IP address (method varies by router manufacturer)
  3. Turn off router, ethernet hubs/switches, and the cable/DSL modem
  4. Leave off overnight
  5. Next day, turn everything back on

If you are using a cable/DSL modem and a router, you may wish to connect your computer directly to the cable/DSL modem. Please note that this could significantly impact your system security.

If you have a router and you're still not having any luck, check to see if there is a "Clone MAC Address" option. Using it should change your IP address; however, in most cases you'll only be able to do it once.

If this does not answer your question, please visit the change IP address forum.

Related Articles



^ed 

How to Remove an IP Address from a Blacklist

How to Remove an IP Address from a Blacklist

(Go to our Blacklist Check page to find out if your IP address is listed on an anti-spam database. This article explains why that happens and how to get off a blacklist.)

Each blacklist database has its own criteria for flagging IP addresses and compiling its own list of online offenders. Those criteria could include a variety of "listings": technical, policy, and evidence-based.

  • Technical listings occur mostly from mail-server configuration issues, such as missing or incorrect reverse DNS records, missing or incorrect banner greetings, and mail servers operating within a suspicious range of IP addresses.
  • Policy listings are based on an operator that does not wish to receive email from certain countries, or ISPs, that have a history of not honoring "unsubscribe" requests.
  • Evidence-based listings are those where the operator has received direct (or indirect) evidence that an IP address has been involved in sending unsolicited emails.

If your IP address has been blacklisted and you want to investigate, you'll need to visit the blacklist's website and do a lookup on your IP address. Most blacklist databases will provide general listing reasons, but don't list specific email addresses tied to blacklisted IP addresses.

Getting "unblacklisted."

If you're able to find out why you were blacklisted, you can try to get it reversed. (You may want to work with someone who is technically savvy to better help you.)

To start with, take time to ensure your network and mail server are configured correctly and all the details are in order for resolving the issues, as prescribed by the blacklist. For example, they may ask you to correct both forward and reverse DNS records, as well as SMTP banners. In addition, you can do the following:

  • Scan all computers on your network for viruses
  • See if there are any known and needed "patches" (updates and fixes) for your operating system
  • Configure routers more securely
  • Establish and enforce stronger passwords

Following the blacklist-removal process.

You want to be removed from any blacklists because databases often share IP addresses that have been listed. If you think you've fixed things on your end, go back to the blacklist's site and follow their instructions for the IP address removal process. Here's what you're likely to come across:

  • Self-Service Removal. There are a few blacklists with a self-service removal feature that lets you take your IP address off the list without much trouble. However, you'll want to make sure you've resolved any issues before doing this. If you don't and your IP address gets listed again, it won't be easy to get it removed that next time.
  • Time-Based Removal. Most blacklists have a built-in, automatic process that removes lower-level listings (IP addresses that are light offenders) within a week or two. But if the IP address had sent spam more than once or did a high volume, the time period will be longer.

Be nice...and see what happens.

When you're trying to get off a blacklist, you'll get farther along if you follow the rules and cooperate. If you are truly innocent of any deliberate wrongdoing (or if you made an honest mistake), let them know. The more open and direct you are with a listing database, the simpler it may be to have your IP address taken off the blacklist.

Keep this in mind:

  1. Their priority is to reduce the spam on their email platform for their customers—their goal isn't to prevent you from sending emails.
  2. Spam is a serious problem. They don't blacklist lightly. It's their way of trying to identify and prevent real problems.
  3. Blacklists are legal because they are designed to prevent fraud or other activity that disrupts normal business. We all need to accept that fact.
  4. If you made a mistake and were blacklisted, don't make the same mistake again. You likely won't be forgiven a second time.

You might be able to resolve any blacklist issues online. If not, and the blacklisting is troublesome for you, consider contacting the list by phone and try to resolve the issue that way.

Related Articles



^ed