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Quarterly kwacha rate review, Q4 2022

2 October 2022 06:27:31 +0000

Based on the current value of the Zambian kwacha in US dollars and recent trends, we are decreasing our retail kwacha prices effective today and until the next quarterly review by about 8%.

Some sample rates:

  • webONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 250.00
  • mailONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 165.00
  • gTLD domain (annually): ZMW 315.00

Our new kwacha rates will be online within 24 hours.

Compromised email accounts are being accessed via webmail

29 August 2022 11:01:18 +0000

It is becoming more and more common, once an email account has been compromised by a computer virus or other malware, for the email account in question to be accessed through the webmail. When this happens, one or all of three things (and sometimes more) happen:

  • The criminal behind the virus/malware uses your webmail account to send spam or more viruses (the viruses will be stopped by our server though, but sometimes some spam will still get through),
  • The criminal poses as you (or one of your employees) and dupes your customers into sending payments to their bank account(s), and/or
  • The criminal creates filters in your email account to siphon off email to external email accounts they or their associates control.

While all are very negative and need to be stopped quickly — and this is why a compromised email account’s password must be changed, and the old password never used again — the last is particularly insidious as you might not use the filters, or you may not even know that they exist! Filters are a legitimate tool for people to use to handle some email in an automated fashion, and they have been around as long as email has been around.

The bottom line is that a compromised email account is a very serous matter. Your machines and devices need to be protected, by security software (anti-virus software, firewalls, encryption, anti-malware software, etc.), physically (access control, passwords, physical locks, etc.), and with education, knowledge and vigilance. If an email account is compromised the reason should be determined and the cause fixed or addressed in some other way. You then also need to examine the (now formerly) compromised account; one of the first things you should check is the integrity of the account’s filters. If unauthorised filters remain in place, the account is still compromised.

It is vital that you not gloss over an email account compromise as a “cost of doing business” and just carry on as usual after the inconvenience in your day. If you do not take all of the above steps your lack of action will come back to bite you in the buttocks, as Forrest Gump said. And this bite could cost your business in money, goodwill and business.

Another thing to consider is that the mail server’s control panel allows its users to designate any email account as a “domain admin”. We have always discouraged this, instead creating dedicated accounts for domain admins, but it’s a popular and widely used feature. However, consider this: If you designate bob@example.com as a “domain admin”, and Bob’s account is compromised, then the criminal behind the compromise will have access to all of the email accounts on the example.com domain. The results could be significantly more than just the inconvenience of having one email account compromised.

Something else for you to consider is how you can protect your employees from phishing emails. (Please see our “scams” section for many examples of scam emails, many of which are phishing emails.) Phishing emails try to get their recipients to click a link where they are asked to enter their email address and email password. Of course, none of us would be fooled by this, but many people a day are. How the page where people are asked to enter their log-in information looks depends on the nature of the email. If it was allegedly from a bank, the log-in page will be an exact copy of the log-in page for the bank they’re trying to present themselves as. If they’re trying to get your email password, everything will look like a webmail log-in page. It’s convincing. When you enter your log-in information, either nothing will happen, or your browser will be redirected to a legitimate webmail log-in page, but you won’t (of course) be logged in. In the meantime, your log-in information will be saved, and available for the scammer to use.

If this happens to you, you must immediately change the password on your account.

But back to the original question: How can you protect your company from your employees potentially falling for this phishing scam? One way is to not give your employees their email passwords. If they don’t have it, they can’t enter it in a phishing form. Of course, you need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this. A disadvantage is that you or your IT person will have to enter it for them when setting up their email account on their machine and/or phone, but the advantage is that they won’t be able to make the mistake of inadvertently providing their password.

If you haven’t recently, it’s probably a good idea to check the filters in your webmail account right now to confirm that you put them all there and that you still need them. And while you’re at it, change your email password too! Make sure it’s at least 12 characters long, includes upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters. And use a password manager too. We use and strongly recommend KeePass.

Shaw continues to have problems receiving email

17 August 2022 11:36:57 +0000

We’ve posted countless times now about this, and really, this is likely to be the last time. Shaw’s email filtering sub-contractor continues to block legitimate email from NinerNet servers. This legitimate email includes messages from banks, universities and the like. We’re not talking about spam here, but legitimate financial and business email.

As we’ve said before, we strongly advise that you do not use automatic forwarding of all messages. There are actually very few, limited circumstances under which this is necessary. If you’re not clear on why, please contact us to ask and we’ll be happy to discuss this with you. There may be something related to email you’re not fully understanding.

In other Shaw-related news, NinerNet was not affected by the Rogers outage last month. This is Shaw-related because Rogers will very likely be taking over Shaw, which means that future Rogers outages will be spread, like a virus, to the Shaw system too. Thankfully, none of NinerNet’s systems rely on Shaw or Rogers at all. This is a design choice that we made long ago.

Quarterly kwacha rate review, Q3 2022

1 July 2022 00:00:05 +0000

Based on the current value of the Zambian kwacha in US dollars and recent trends, we are decreasing our retail kwacha prices effective today and until the next quarterly review by about 3%.

Some sample rates:

  • webONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 270.00
  • mailONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 180.00
  • gTLD domain (annually): ZMW 342.00

Our new kwacha rates will be online within 24 hours.

Quarterly kwacha rate review, Q2 2022

1 April 2022 00:00:45 +0000

Based on the current value of the Zambian kwacha in US dollars and recent trends, we are increasing our retail kwacha prices effective today and until the next quarterly review by about 6%.

Some sample rates:

  • webONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 277.50
  • mailONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 185.50
  • gTLD domain (annually): ZMW 351.50

Our new kwacha rates will be online within 24 hours.

Significant recent spam activity

16 March 2022 02:30:11 +0000

In the last 48 hours we have seen a significant increase in the number of email accounts that have been compromised due to the virus infection of a large number of our clients’ machines and/or devices. In one case that we know of, one of our resellers stated that they “have a company wide nightmare [of] machines spamming each other and everyone they have ever talked to via email.” This is not good. They have been working with their client to get a handle on this, and as of Tuesday their time this issue seems to be under control for them.

However, since then we have had multiple other email accounts compromised on multiple domains. Please note that email accounts are “compromised” when the machine or device on which the account is configured is infected with a virus. This is not under the control of NinerNet, but you and your employees and colleagues. Please ensure that you have updated anti-virus programs or apps installed, and please do not open attachments from unknown senders. Even attachments from known senders must be treated with extreme care, because viruses tend to come from other infected machines, and they could be the machines or devices of people you know.

Some reminders for all clients:

  • Please ensure you have anti-virus software (or an app) installed on all machines (computers) and devices (phones/tablets),
  • Please only open attachments after they have been scanned for viruses,
  • Please be extra careful of attachments sent from unknown senders, and
  • NinerNet’s mail server scans incoming and outgoing messages for viruses, but if the vendor of the software isn’t aware of the existence of the virus it may get through. If you also have anti-virus software installed, then that additional scan could make the difference between a normal day and an expensive day you’d rather forget.

At this point it looks like we nipped these outbreaks in the bud, so our mail servers are not in any additional blacklists. However, please do contact NinerNet support if you have any issues with outgoing email, or if you have any questions.

Thank-you.

Quarterly kwacha rate review, Q1 2022

1 January 2022 13:22:10 +0000

Based on the current value of the Zambian kwacha in US dollars and recent trends, we are maintaining our retail kwacha prices until the next quarterly review.

Some sample rates:

  • webONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 262.00
  • mailONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 175.00
  • gTLD domain (annually): ZMW 333.00

Our kwacha rates are available on our website.

Quarterly kwacha rate review, Q4 2021

1 October 2021 06:15:51 +0000

Based on the current value of the Zambian kwacha in US dollars and recent trends, we are excited to announce that we are lowering our retail kwacha prices (for the first time since 2017) effective today and until the next quarterly review by 26%!

Some sample rates:

  • webONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 262.00
  • mailONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 175.00
  • gTLD domain (annually): ZMW 333.00

Our new kwacha rates will be online within 24 hours.

Office hours

17 August 2021 11:00:53 +0000

NinerNet‘s offices will be closed from Tuesday 17 August and will re-open on Monday 30 August. Emergency support will continue to be available 24/7, but routine emails and enquiries will be dealt with on Monday 30 August. Thank-you.

Quarterly kwacha rate review, Q3 2021

1 July 2021 00:00:02 +0000

Based on the current value of the Zambian kwacha in US dollars and recent trends, we are increasing our retail kwacha prices effective today and until the next quarterly review by about 2%.

Some sample rates:

  • webONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 352.00
  • mailONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 235.00
  • gTLD domain (annually): ZMW 446.00

Our new kwacha rates will be online within 24 hours.

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This is the corporate blog of NinerNet Communications. It's where we post announcements, inform and educate our clients, and discuss issues related to the Internet (web and email) hosting business and all it entails. This includes concomitant industries and activities such as domain registration, SSL/TLS certificates, online back-up, virtual private servers (VPS), cloud hosting, etc. Please visit our main website for more information about us.

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