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News for Site owners

The short version
Some Yahoo emails won't get through to you. This only applies to some Yahoo emails.  The person sending the email will see a bounce.

The long version
One of the things that all responsible email services do is to ban any emails from sources that send spam.  If a server is used to send spam and that gets noticed, then that server gets blacklisted by a number of services.  Over the last few weeks, I have noticed that some emails sending from a Yahoo email address are getting labelled as bad spam and deleted.  That's because my Mail Server routinely checks the blacklists.  The person sending it would get their email bounced with a detailed coded message.  It seems that someone has been using Yahoo servers to send Spam.  Yahoo is very large and has many servers and it's quite possible that only some are affected.  It's also true that if Yahoo acts quickly, they can stop the abuse, get themselves cleared and mail will then go through OK.  This can happen in less than 24 hours.  But they have had this problem for a while and seem to not be doing anything about it.

There was another outage in the server on Dec 31, 2013 at 1:21 and it lasted till 4:03pm; that's a total of 3hr42m.  At the Hostgator support forum, there were over 4000 users trying to get an update.  And that's just Hostgator.  In addition, Blue Host and Hostmonster were offline. That implies well over 20,000 web sites off-line.  Not good.  When it's up, the Cobourg Internet server works well and is free of delays but the downtime has been poor this year.  There has been a change in ownership this year and I'm sure that's related in some way.  They say they want to provide good service and support and I'm sure they do - but they have a distance yet to go on that.  If you want to research the parent Multinational, it's called "The Endurance Group";  they own 7 of the major web hosting companies and have 2500 employees.

At 11:22am, the server lost connectivity with the Internet.  Cobourg Server is located in a large, secure, data center in Provo Utah and although there are redundant Internet connections to the data centre, they all go through a single piece of hardware - and this failed.  It took the data centre technicians until  3:03 pm to fix it.  Web sites and email were both affected.  It was never spelled out what the problem was - from here it looked like a connectivity problem but the server was in fact off for the duration so it was more likely a power problem.

In these circumstances, once I notice a problem, I phone support (It had a wait time of over 30 minutes) but I find the fastest response is via email (using a Cogeco account since mine would be down).  In this case the response was (at 11:39):

Unfortunately, the datacenter is currently experiencing an outage. Your server is affected by this. You can find more details, and updates, in the support forum.

Last July (2013) I noticed that a number of Joomla sites had a lot of spurious traffic on the administrator page so I implemented an additional layer of security on many of the Joomla sites. (Original article). This involves an additional user name and password but it does stop the attacks.  It turns out that the attacks have increased and this additional layer has been very effective.  The attacks are distributed - that is, sites from different parts of the world are attempting to login to the same Joomla site within seconds of each other.  Inside 8 hours, over 1000 different attempts have been made.

With the advent of Facebook, Linked in and Google +, many people feel that their needs for a web site are met by a Facebook page or similar.  If you simply want to blog or communicate with friends or customers then that may well be all you need.  But if you want more than that, if you want your web presence to be more like a reference book with good navigation and lots of information, then you probably need a regular web site.  But if you can manage a Facebook page, you might ask, why can’t I manage the content on my own web site?  The short answer is that you can.

Most of the spam we get is now phishing. That’s someone trying to get you to click a link and then you go to a site that’s not really what they claim to be. In some cases, it’s worse, it’s really a link to start (execute) a program that collects personal data off your computer. But the trick is to send a simple looking email that can get through the spam and virus checkers and convince you to click a link.

I seem to be getting a large number of emails that say something like this one:  "You have been selected to access the Walmart 2 Step Survey and win a $150 gift certificate. Please click here and complete the form to receive your reward. Thank you."  Very simple, no dramatic and suspicious large amount of cash yet because of that, more dangerous. In this case, the origins are China - and it's unlikely that Walmart is sending Canadians emails from China.  Also, Walmart does not have my email address - or rather, they didn't get it from me.

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