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jameson – Mother Lode Internet Bringing You The World Wed, 24 Jan 2018 17:23:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 – Mother Lode Internet 32 32 Passwords for the Future Wed, 18 Dec 2013 18:04:07 +0000 Continue reading]]> Secure Your Online Presence:  Passwords

Online use these days requires so many passwords…  Why do we need so many of them!? Simply put, your password is your online identity.  The better the password, the less likely someone will have access to your personal information.  You see it on the news, or in online articles; passwords are compromised each and every day, leaving a wealth of your own information to be accessed and abused.  Today, we’re going to take a look at methods we can use to minimize these occurrences and keep your online identity safe and sound while you browse and shop.

Write them down in a central location.

Keeping a notebook at home with all of your passwords can be very handy.  Now, you will need to keep it updated, but the time and organization is well worth it.  There are also programs out there such as LastPass, in which you enter all of your passwords into a stored database, and only have to remember one.  The best part about LastPass is that it’s completely free.  There is also a paid version which allows you to sync your passwords to mobile devices for a whopping $12 per year!  You may be cautious of having your passwords saved by a program, however, their servers are far more secure than any of our personal machines. Either way, having a list of your passwords will benefit you as we move forward–you will likely be required to make many more passwords in the future!

Create a stronger password.

This one is pretty obvious!  People want your passwords for a variety of reasons; maybe they want your email password in order to send out spam, or your Amazon password to retrieve personal information.  Regardless of the reason, most passwords are far too simple.  To put it into perspective, the modern computer that a potential hacker would use will ‘crack’ any password with 8 characters or less within 6-8 hours.  Or, if you have a wireless network, a person could technically ‘listen’ to any information passed if in range of your wireless router.

Whether for email, shopping, banking, or even your WiFi network, you want your password to be a minimum of 8 characters.  The strongest passwords will also have numbers, symbols (such as !, #, *), and both upper or lower case characters.  You want to make the characters random, as well, for the best results.   Here is a good example of a strong password:  1rAtRpfop*AawaFd

This may seem very random and difficult to remember; however, it’s called a passphrase.  Taking a phrase–in this case, the first letter of every word in the children’s rhyme Ring Around the Rosie–and making a password out of the first letter of each word.  I’ve added a number at the beginning, four capital letters, and an asterisk at the break after ‘posies’.  You can do this for anything: family member initials, favorite shows, or even quotes.

Another thing to remember is that a 20 character password with words is far more secure than an 8 character randomized password.  For example, you may use 4 words separated by punctuation or symbols if it’s easier to remember.  An example would be:  horse.battery!clock*cow

Avoid your name, any portion of the email address, and especially the word ‘password’ in your password (for obvious reasons!).  For your convenience, I’ll link a tool below that you can use to test the strength of any password.

Tips for the Future

Microsoft has some great tips for passwords, listed here:

Also, a wonderful tool to test your new, current, or potential passwords:

A link to the LastPass software:


Stay Safe!

J. Hightower
Technical Support Supervisor
Mother Lode Internet

Identity Theft & Phishing Wed, 13 Nov 2013 22:27:18 +0000 Continue reading]]>  

Identity Theft?  Fishing?  Or is it Phishing?

Yes, we hear about it frequently:  hackers and fake online services asking for the Username and Password to your bank account (or credit card account).  Well, it continues.  Here at MLI we constantly warn and hear about customers receiving very official looking emails (with all of the right logos and graphics) saying that their account needs attention or there has been a security breach or change to their account information then asking you to “click here to Login” .  In fact, even the “big guys” are getting scammed.  The link below goes to an article about how Experian, one of the three main credit bureaus, actually got persuaded by a hacker posing as a private investigator to give access to sensitive identity information to a fictitious online ID Theft service.  What is “phishy” here is that it appears that Experian may have been paid through online transfers from Singapore for this.

Just recently at MLI, we came across a very official email with the subject:  “Important Banking Alert from Chase”.  The email said that someone was added to the account for access and to please click “here” to verify or deny the change.  The graphics were perfect and very tempting to respond to, but the email address didn’t jive.  It was claiming to represent Chase Bank but the domain was “”.  What?  That’s not Chase!  So, DON’T EVER respond to an email inquiry for your Username or Password for anything; be suspicious and look at the domain name or the email address (if they’re not the same as the content, or you don’t recognize them as a business or person you regularly deal with, then DELETE IT!).


Article on Experian identity theft:


Ben Hulet
Mother Lode Internet, LLC
Your Email Settings Have Been Changed! Wed, 07 Nov 2012 01:18:06 +0000 Continue reading]]>  

You may have received an email stating that we (your internet provider) have made some changes or updates to our email server and that we need to collect some information from you–name, username, password, and maybe some personal info.  These are ‘Phishing’ scams; aptly named because they are figuratively ‘dropping a line’ into your email to see if you’ll bite.  Some have you reply to the message with your information, and some have you click on a link where you type it in.  Here are some examples:

From: “Goldrush Webmail” <>
To: (Recipient List Suppressed)
Sent: Tue, 06 Nov 2012 08:59:30 +1200
Subject: Dear GOLDRUSH.COM  Account Owner

This is to urgently bring to your notice that due to a recent server migration, your email address was affected as it was hosted on our outdated and discontinued servers.You are advised to manually migrate your email account to our latest servers to prevent loss of email messages.This process will only take a minute to complete and it is highly recommended you do so now.

To fix this problem, kindly do the following

1. visit www.servermail12 .net
2. Input your code which is: server203
3. Login with your email and password

Kindly follow the above steps and be sure to enter your email password correctly to enable the problem fix successfully.

Failure to complete the above process within the shortest possible time will result in both inbound and outbound failures on your email.This will prevent you from sending or receiving email messages.

Thanks for your understanding.
Webmail Admin Team


From: “Goldrush Support!” <>
To: <undisclosed-recipients:>
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2012 12:20 PM
Subject: Account Update!

> Dear account owner,
> We are currently upgrading your Goldrush accounts with the following
> new and advanced features to help you enjoy your emails even better:
> Spam Protection,
> Unlimited storage
> Offline access with POP
> Unlimited New Filters/junk protection
> Live Customer Care
> Unlimited Mail Forwarding
> New Address Guard /Disposable addressees.
> Unlimited Web2sms
> All users must Click on the link below for confirmation and upgrade.
> https://docs.<removed for security>
> Note: Account owner who refused to upgrade will lead to deleting of
> account permanently from our data base.
> Submitting this, your account will be upgraded with all new features
> within 24 hours.
> Inconveniences Regretted
> Regards
> Goldrush Webmail


Notice that the email was sent from an address which is NOT associated with our company.  In all likelihood, it was sent from a user who fell for this tactic and gave up their username and password.  Also, nearly all of these spoof emails have spelling and/or grammar mistakes that are easily noticeable, such as “Account owner who refused to upgrade will lead to deleting of  account“, “to enable the problem fix sucessfully” or they’ll use out-0f-place wording like “Inconveniences Regretted” and “This is to urgently bring to your notice“.  Not all of us are high-and-mighty around these parts!

The absolute best defense against these Phishing scams is common sense.  Why would the company that created your email address, username, and password, need it?  The answer is simple:  We don’t.  We already have your email information.  Consider the consequences, as well.  Would we really just delete your email address because you didn’t reply?  Of course, not.  There would be some serious lawsuits out there, since many businesses use our system for their everyday messaging.

Also, it is important to remember that any time we release a mass email to our customers we’ll include our name and contact information–phone number, address, email address–to let you know that it’s valid.  This information isn’t included in the false messages, above, for a reason!

If you do have questions, or are unsure about a message, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Stay safe!


J. Hightower
Technical Support Team
Mother Lode Internet


Calls from Microsoft Tue, 23 Oct 2012 00:21:48 +0000 Continue reading]]> You may receive a call from Microsoft (or may have, already), saying that your computer is infected with malware or a virus, or that there are errors.  They’ll mention that they can walk you through the process, or that they will remove them for a fee. Another company called iYogi, which claims to be ‘Technical Support’, runs you through a similar process. iYogi will have you install software on your computer which allows them access. Both of these companies (along with a handful more) are under investigation by the FTC and actions have already been taken against them for taking advantage of uneducated users. They will point out ‘errors’ on your computer and claim that only they can fix them. If you don’t buy into their product, they’ll claim that these errors will destroy your computer.

DO NOT continue this call–these people are fraudulent!  It is not likely that Microsoft will EVER call you, unsolicited.  Most of these scams are run out of India, although, on a Caller ID system you’ll see a local telephone number.  Sometimes, they sound pretty convincing–however, they’re only after either your money or your personal information.  Some of them, instead of removing the malware they claim is corrupting your system, install malware of their own to collect information.

The absolute best defense against these types of fraud is your awareness and common sense.  Keep in mind that big companies do not normally call you, completely out of the blue, to give you free service.

If you receive a call of this nature, and you suspect that something isn’t quite right–your instincts are telling you something.  First, ask yourself a few questions:  “Why someone would want my personal information?”  “What they could do with it?”  Try doing this before trusting someone over the phone with your credit card or personal information.  If the answer is ‘I don’t know’, you should reconsider giving it to them.

Stay safe!


J. Hightower
Technical Support Team
Mother Lode Internet


20 Tips for a Safer Online Experience Tue, 21 Feb 2012 00:24:43 +0000 Continue reading]]> Keeping yourself safe while enjoying the internet is an ever-changing ordeal, especially since hundreds–if not thousands–of new security breaches are created and found each every day. It can become a daunting task to keep yourself secure if you’re not careful. Thomas Jay, co-owner of Level One Web Design in Sonora, California, has written a list of ways you can prepare yourself before delving into the World Wide Web. It’s a short and knowledgeable read, and good for any computer-user level of expertise.

Here is a link to his post on the Level One website:

20 Things You Should be Doing to Keep Yourself Safer Online


Jameson T. Hightower
Technical Support Team
Mother Lode Internet

Fw: The settings for the mailbox were changed Fri, 28 Oct 2011 22:51:36 +0000 Continue reading]]> A hoax email was sent from an unknown source indicating that your email security settings have changed. This email is not from Mother Lode Internet and should be deleted. If the link within the email was clicked, please run a full virus scan with your antivirus software. Here is an example of the email:


Dear user of the mailing service!

We are informing you that because of the security upgrade of the mailing service your mailbox ( settings were changed. In order to apply the new set of settings click on the following link:

Best regards, Technical Support.…..

Email Scam: LIVE OR DIE? Fri, 28 Oct 2011 22:49:29 +0000 Continue reading]]> There is a new email going around with the Subject of "LIVE OR DIE?" that is being sent from the assassin hired to kill you. It will then ask for $15,000.00 for your life to be spared. This is just a scam to scare you away from your money. If you should receive this email, it is recommended that contact the Sheriff’s department, IC3, and the FBI.

  • Sheriff’s Department: 209-533-5815
  • FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
  • Internet Fraud Complaint Center:
e-mail with subject “Re: danger!” Fri, 28 Oct 2011 22:45:47 +0000 Continue reading]]> If you have received an email with the subject of "Re: danger!", please be aware that it contains a virus in the attachment. The body of the text states the following:

i work in a private detective agency. my name is not important now.
I’m warning you that i’m going to watch you and monitor your telephone line.
Do you want to know who paid for shadowing you? Expect my next e-mail.

P.S. I know, you don’t believe me. But i think that the record of your yesterday’s telephone conversation will assure you that everything is real. The record is in archive. The password is 123qwe"

The attachment name is call234.rar. Please do not open it, this contains some sort of MP3 file that includes a virus. More information to come when it is available.

TechnologyOutlook Express/Windows Mail Maintenance Fri, 28 Oct 2011 20:19:14 +0000 Continue reading]]> Felix

Question: How do I manage all my emails?

Answer: If you are a user of either Outlook Express or Windows Mail, there is one maintenance task you may need to do occasionally. For those of you that like to hold on to lots of email, you may even run into some "bad" behavior if this task is not done every so often. I am referring to keeping a check on the number of emails in 3 important folders.

The Inbox, Sent items and Deleted Items(Trash) folders can be a problem if allowed to get too large. Deleted items is easy; if it gets too large, click the Edit item in the toolbar at the top of the program and select "Empty ‘Deleted Items’ Folder and that is cleaned. But what about when you have 300, 400, 500 or more emails in your Sent items folder or the Inbox folder? You may want to save items from either or both these folders for business or other purposes. The answer is to create additional folders in Outlook Express and move items to these new folders. First, click on "File" at the top of your screen and then click on "New" and in that menu select "Folder". This will bring up a box prompting you to name the new folder. After you name it, you can either make it a folder under "Local Folders" or you can click on an existing folder to make it a sub-folder under that particular one.

Now that you have a new folder, you can move any items from any other folder, but specifically for maintenance purposes, from the Inbox or Sent items folder. If you need to move multiple items from one folder to another, use the shift key on the right side of your keyboard and the "arrow" keys immediately to the right of that shift key. By selecting an email with your mouse and then holding down the shift key and one of the arrow keys (up or down, as the need requires) you can select multiple emails at once. Then right click in the highlighted group of emails and select "move to folder". You can then select in the new dialog box which new folder you would like to move to.

So, if you have much more than 200 or so email in your Inbox, Sent items or Deleted items folders, follow these suggestions to keep things tidy and prevent any "bad" behavior by Outlook Express or Windows Mail.

Why is my computer so SLOW?! Fri, 28 Oct 2011 18:47:17 +0000 Continue reading]]> Question: Why is my computer so SLOW?!

Answer: Have you asked yourself this question?  I’m going to give you a few tips that you can use to determine what might be done to solve the never-ending quest to make your computer faster (besides buying a new one!).

Let’s begin with starting your computer.  Does it take more than five minutes? Ten?  How about when you double-click or load any program like Internet Explorer (the big blue ‘E’)?  Do you remember how fast it was when you first got it? Those were the good old days…  If this process takes longer than five minutes, you may have:

Part 1 – Viruses

Any site or computer can be infected, and nothing can protect you 100%.
a. Antivirus Programs – Make sure you have an antivirus program that is up-to-date. If you have Norton or McAfee on your computer, but haven’t paid them within the past six months to a year-it has EXPIRED and you are no longer protected! There are FREE antivirus programs such as AVAST!, AVG, or Microsoft Security Essentials that are just as effective as paid ones.  It’s a good idea to schedule automatic scans at least once a week.
b. Windows Updates – If you picture the information on your computer behind a brick wall, this wall would be your Windows. The wall has bricks missing, and at least once every week or two Microsoft sends updates to your computer which fill in the missing brick-holes. It is imperative to do so because every one of these holes is a way that viruses and spyware can get into your computer!
(Note:  If you’re a customer of Mother Lode Internet, you can bring your computer in to us and we’ll clean it for you, free of charge! We’ll make sure there are no viruses, update your Windows, and install a free antivirus program on your computer.)

Part 2 – Low Virtual Memory

Does it take forever to load programs? Is your computer lagging? Try picturing your computer having three main parts:
a. Processor – This is what moves information; think of this as your Hands.
b. Hard Drive – The Hard Drive is where permanent information is stored. We’ll call this your Bookcase.
c. Virtual Memory -Virtual Memory, or RAM, is all information seen on your screen. RAM holds only a small amount of info from your Bookcase at one time. We’ll relate the size of this to the area on TOP of a Desk, or how much space you have to work with at any given time.

Picture yourself in an office with your Hands, a very large Bookcase, and a Desk with 2′ x 2′ area to work on.  When you do anything on the computer, your hands take ‘papers’ from the bookcase and place them on the desk. You are limited by the space on top of your desk.  If you’re using Windows XP or Vista (and your computer is slow), picture the top of that desk already half-full.  Add your Antivirus program and all hidden programs-each will take a piece of that desk.  Say you want to check your email; you’ve got to constantly put papers back on the bookcase until there is room for it on the desk!  Your hands are moving constantly and that’s why you see the computer slow down.

Assume the desk is now 6′ x 6′; you can fit a far greater amount of information on it.  If your hands don’t have to put anything back, there is a much faster loading time.  Upgrading your ‘Desk’, or RAM, is one of the cheapest ways to increase the speed of your computer.  A decent amount to have (1-3 Gigabytes) can cost around $20-70.  And, at Mother Lode Internet we can assess your computer to see exactly what type, capacity, and cost of the RAM you need, then install it.

Part 3 – Maintenance

Coming soon!

Part 4 – Too Many Programs

Over the course of owning a computer you’ll definitely be installing programs onto it.  These range from Firefox, Antivirus programs, Toolbars, Instant Messengers, to Google Earth, etc.  A lot of the time, when these programs are installed, they want to automatically start up first so that you’ll use them often.  Over time the computer will acquire too many programs that all load each time you start your computer (you can see this by the number of icons in the lower-right hand corner of your screen), which makes the whole system very slow when starting up.  If you don’t use a program, it is wise to uninstall it; though, you want to make sure that you know exactly what you’re removing for sure before you do so!

Stay safe!


J. Hightower
Technical Support Team
Mother Lode Internet