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Quarterly kwacha rate review, Q2 2023

1 April 2023 00:00:44 +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 16%. The base USD rates remain the same, as do our kwacha rates for the Zambian TLDs, dot-zm and dot-zam.co.

Some sample rates:

  • webONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 330.00
  • mailONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 220.00
  • gTLD domain (annually): ZMW 420.00

Our new kwacha rates will be online within 24 hours.

Quarterly kwacha rate review, Q1 2023

1 January 2023 09:17:10 +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 15%.

Some sample rates:

  • webONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 285.00
  • mailONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 190.00
  • gTLD domain (annually): ZMW 360.00

Our new kwacha rates will be online within 24 hours.

Email restrictions reminder, Phishing

13 December 2022 05:00:02 +0000

As Christmas rapidly approaches, we’d like to remind you of two limitations to keep in mind with respect to sending email, and to implore you once again to take phishing scams seriously.

Sending limits

Within the last year or two we have had to implement a limit of sending to 300 email recipients per day per email account. This is a limit that hardly anyone runs up against, but it does happen. The reason for this is quite simple: email accounts are hacked when a computer or phone is compromised, and the person or organisation who has compromised the account then uses the account to send spam or phishing messages. If there was no limit on how many messages can be sent in a day they’d send millions! If this happens, our IP addresses are blacklisted and then none of our clients can send any emails outside of our network.

With this limit in place messages to only 300 recipients can be sent, and by the time the 24 hours are up a compromise will have been noticed, and the password for the email account can be reset. (We often notice these spam runs when they are in progress, and they are shut down before more than a few dozen are sent.) Experience has shown that if 300 such messages are sent, that seems to be just below the point at which damage to our IP addresses’ reputation is done. We experimented with a limit of 400, but damage was still done.

If you’re going to send messages to a few hundred or thousand of your customers we suggest the following:

  • If you regularly want to send that many emails we strongly recommend that you use a company such as Mailchimp.
  • If you have a one-time need to send a lot of emails, break your list up into groups of 300 (or just under 300) and send that many a day.

Please note that however you chose to send mass emails you must have documented proof that you’ve received permission from the recipients to send them non-personal emails like this. If you don’t have that permission, then don’t send them those emails. It’s quite simple. If you don’t have permission you cannot defend yourself against accusations of spamming, and you risk your account being suspended and removed.

Also note that the limit is the number of recipients. If you send an email to Bob, copy it to Jane and blind copy it to Jim, that’s 3 of your 300 recipients (not “1 message”). If you send another email to the same people, that’s now 6. If you send one email blind-copied to 300 recipients, you’re done for the day and you can go home. 🙂

Sending restrictions

We often see clients trying to send emails with restricted attachments. Our mail server stops emails with executable attachments (.exe files, for example, but there are more and it’s not the file name extension that determines if a file is executable) and documents that contain macros, or scripts that can be executed when the document is opened. These cannot be sent by email because they could contain malicious code. If you want to send these files to someone else we suggest that you either use what’s called the “sneakernet” — put the file on a flash drive and walk it over (perhaps wearing “sneakers”) to the person you want to give the file to — put the flash drive in the postal mail, or upload the file to a website or file upload service from where someone can download it.

Many office-type documents — spreadsheets, word processing documents, slide shows, etc. — contain macros (scripts), which you may or may not be aware of, and if you’re trying to send them they will not reach the intended recipient. Sometimes when you create a PDF file from an office document the scripts are embedded in the PDF, and those will be blocked for the same reason.

All email services — even the biggest ones — have these restrictions so that the email service as a whole can still be useful to the people that use it. If we don’t stop these kinds of emails from going out, the recipients’ mail servers will stop them from coming in.

Phishing

We desperately want to remind you yet again — we know, it sounds like a recording — about email scams, and in particular “phishing” scams. These scams happen. They happen to you. They happen to our clients. 2022 was a record year for our clients, and not a record to be proud of. Just among the clients we know of, over US$100 000 was lost as a result of phishing scams. This is shocking; this is heartbreaking. It doesn’t need to happen.

Treat every email you receive — even this one! — with suspicion. Rather than looking for signs that an email might be a scam, just assume it is! Then look for the signs that it isn’t a scam. Instead of memorising an interminable list of things to look for that show an email is a scam, instead simply ask the message to prove to you that it really is from the person who claims to have sent it, and that the request it contains is legitimate. Did NinerNet really just send you the email you received that is asking you to verify your email password, or upgrade to some service that we don’t even offer? No, we didn’t send that email. We just don’t send emails like that, and neither does any other mail provider … or bank, or life insurance company, or …. Almost nobody sends a legitimate email claiming that you have to pay an invoice in a different way to how you’ve been paying that company for years! Yes, your suppliers do change banks occasionally, but if they do they will give you plenty of notice, not send you a frightening message out of the blue demanding that you send them money to a different destination or have your service cancelled. It just doesn’t happen like that in the real business world. THINK! BE SUSPICIOUS!

You should learn more about email scams and phishing. Read these links:

If you have any questions about any of the above, please do let us know. Thank-you.

We will have one more email for you before the end of the year, with information we’re excited about because we hope it will improve our email infrastructure in 2023. We hope you’ll like it too.

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.

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.

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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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