Larilyn’s Tip of the Week

Impersonators aren’t a new thing, right?  They’ve been around since…..well…..at least since Elvis.
Something that is newer though is impersonation emails, because those have only been around since…..well, you know.  Since email became a widely used thing and bad guys decided to get involved.

What is an impersonation email?  Basically, it’s a phishing method where the bad guys send you an email that is crafted to look like it’s coming from someone you know or someone with authority in your organzation.  It’s all about impersonating someone that they are not.  

This makes it tricky to detect because they have gotten very good at making their emails look legit and like they are coming from the person they say it is.

But not all impersonations look alike.
So in order to help weed out imposters, most email users already have basic imposter detection in place.  It will look for things that seem a bit fishy.  For example, it might see [email protected] is emailing [email protected] – but Sarah’s domain is actually something different (like, inmotionisgreat.com) and is impersonating an inmotionnet.com email address.  So the email gets flagged because the email server can see the impersonation.

Or maybe [email protected] emails something to [email protected], and this gets flagged.  Sure, she may be forwarding something from her personal email to her work email.  Definitely a possibility.  However, it still gets flagged because it’s also possible that someone is just trying to impersonate Sarah and impersonated her personal email address instead of the domain email address.

When it comes down to it, being educated and aware is the most important thing.  So while it’s good that your email probably has some protection in place, still remember to be cautious when opening emails.  If it is from someone you don’t know, even if it looks like it’s coming from your own domain or office, don’t click links or attachments until you verify the sender.

Even if it is from someone you know but they are asking you to do something such as send a wire transfer or change account credentials and you weren’t expecting this from them – don’t do anything until you verify that it is from them.

And above all – please, please, please don’t add your own email address or domain to any allowed lists or filters.  That just makes it too easy for the bad guys.

Managing Junk Mail in Google Groups

Are you getting mail through a group address? For example, you might be a member of a support or accounting group. Messages sent to that group may be sent to multiple people, or the group could only have one person at any given time, but the group is used for other reasons like having a general address for listings, closings, escrow, front desk, etc.

Just like our inboxes can get spam, these groups are frequent recipients of unsolicited messages. By default, messages that are suspected to be spam are put into a quarantine where they are held for review. This prevents the messages from getting into your inbox. Unfortunately it can also sometimes catch legitimate messages.

What if you’re not getting a message that was sent to the group?

  • You can login to your group’s webpage at https://groups.google.com.
  • Click My groups.
  • Click on the group you’d like to open.
  • On the top right, click Manage.
  • Finally, on the left side bar, click Messages > Pending messages.

Note, that you must be a group manager or owner to see the pending messages. Typically these members will also get a weekly email with any pending messages for review.

From the list that appears, you can look at any of the pending messages and select to deliver the message to the group, deliver and whitelist or always allow the sender to post, report the message as spam/junk or delete the pending message. Messages will be deleted after they have been held in moderation for a while, so you may not see some older messages that were not delivered.

If you find that a high percentage of the pending messages are legitimate messages and you don’t want to wait for the weekly pending message summary or have to remember to go check the pending messages manually, it’s possible for the group owner to disable the spam control. This will allow all messages through and rely on your inbox to filter out spam. To make this change:

  • When looking at your group, click Manage on the top right.
  • Click Settings
  • Then Click Moderation
  • In the Spam messages section, select the desired option in the dropdown, likely Skip the moderation queue and post to the group.

You should no longer find that legitimate messages are held in the pending message queue. In the event that you later find too much spam is getting through, you can change the setting back to Send them to the moderation queue and send notification to moderators.

Finally, it’s worth noting that messages could also be filtered through another service before reaching your group or go through further filtering before being delivered to your inbox. If you’re still having trouble with missing messages, please reach out us or your managed IT company.