Just the FAQ's
(Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What's up with the webmail changes?

A:  October 3-4, 2015, we migrated our email from 1and1.com to Gmail. This move provided us greater security and more robust features for the webmail interface with no change in cost to us. What this means to you, is that your "mddsn.org" email address is now a Gmail account (your email address did not change). The login screen is the Gmail login, but once you have logged in, you will see our familiar logo on the interface in place of the Gmail logo. You will also have all the benefits of our Google for Nonprofits account, including a calendar you can share with co-workers, Google Drive space for your documents, as well as Google Apps. Once you have completed your webmail session, you will need to use the 'BACK" button on your browser to return to the home page.

Q: Something just popped up on my screen while I was on the internet. It says my computer is infected. What should I do?

A:  Not long ago, a colleague was conducting Internet research when -- pop! -- a yellow triangle appeared on his screen, warning that his computer had been infected by dangerous spyware. The alert looked real. He thought it was "issued" by his security software maker.

Still, he was skeptical. Using his mouse, he closed the alert by pressing the "x" in the window's upper right-hand corner.

That was his first -- and last -- mistake!

Pop-up ads began sprouting everywhere, his screen froze, and none of his programs were accessible -- even after rebooting. Basically, his computer was disabled, and he spent hours on the phone with tech support to correct the problems.

Welcome to the world of fake anti-virus, anti-spyware programs.

Despite what happened to our friend, it's not that common to encounter hackers who simply want to harm your computer with fake anti-virus programs.

In most cases, you'll confront scammers who want to scare you into buying "rogue" security software by making you think your computer is infected. ("Rogue" means software of unknown or questionable origin, or doubtful value.)

In fact, fake "virus alerts" often mimic ones displayed by brand-name products.

For example: "Your Computer Has Been Infected!" That's what some pop-ups and phony alerts will say, hoping you'll download fake anti-virus software. Don't be fooled!

Meanwhile, ID thieves will use the fake software to gather your personal and financial information -- for their own ID theft scams or for sale to others.

Fake Virus Scam Tactics

Fake virus alerts are usually generated by a Trojan -- a program that takes control of your computer -- after you open an email attachment, click on a pop-up advertisement or visit a particular website. (Adult sites are special favorites.)

If you run programs that provide file-sharing information -- including some instant messenger (IM) applications -- your computer might be remotely accessed by scammers, hackers and identity thieves.

Sometimes, the Trojan creates "false positive" readings, making you think viruses and spyware have infected your computer, even though nothing has. In other cases, scam software actually implants malicious code into your computer, especially if you request a "free virus scan."

In other words, some peddlers of fake anti-virus software actually design the viruses, spyware and malware that their software is supposed to detect!

What to Look For Rogue Spyware

* Rogue anti-virus/spyware programs often generate more "alerts" than the software made by reputable companies.
* You may be bombarded with pop-ups, even when you're not online.
* High-pressure sales copy will try to convince you to buy RIGHT NOW!
* If you've been infected, your computer may dramatically slow down.
* Other signs of infection include: new desktop icons; new wallpaper, or having your default homepage redirected to another site.

Fake Anti Virus Prevention Tips

1. Use Google Chrome or Firefox as your browser rather than Internet Explorer.

2. Keep your computer updated with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and be sure to use a good firewall.

3. Never open an email attachment unless you are POSITIVE about the source.

4. Do NOT click on any pop-up that advertises anti-virus or anti-spyware software, especially a program promising to provide every feature known to mankind. (Also remember: the fakes often mimic well-known brands such as Grisoft AVG, Norton and McAfee.)

5. If a virus alert appears on your screen, do NOT touch it. Don't use your mouse to eliminate or scan for viruses, and DON'T use your mouse to close the window. Instead, hit control + shift + esc to view a list of programs currently running. Delete the "rogue" from the list of running programs, and call your computer tech support [Rob] to learn if you can safely use your computer.

6. Do not download freeware or shareware unless you know it's from a reputable source.
Unfortunately, freeware and shareware programs often come bundled with spyware, adware or fake anti-virus programs.

7. Avoid questionable websites. Some sites may automatically download malicious software onto your computer.

8. Reset your current security settings to a higher level.

9. Although fake software may closely resemble the real thing, it's rarely an exact match. Look for suspicious discrepancies.

If your computer is infected by rogue software, stop work and contact your computer tech-support. Don't keep using the computer. This may further damage your machine and provide identity thieves with more information about you.

Use of fake anti-virus, anti-spyware software is a fast-growing scam, especially as more people become aware of the dangers of spyware, adware and malware. By following the tips above, however, you'll better protect yourself from becoming the next victim of scammers, identity thieves and hackers.
 (The above was edited from information found at Scambusters.org)

Q:  What happened to the e-mail list?

A:  The e-mail list has been discontinued because it is no longer needed. MDDSN.org now has "friendly name forwarding" for each address. If you do not know the e-mail address for the party you wish to reach, just type the name in all lower case letters (separating "first" and "last" names with "."), append @mddsn.org to the end of the name and your message will be forwarded to the proper recipient. For example, if you wanted to e-mail John "Bubba" Doe but didn't know the e-mail address, you could use john.doe@mddsn.org and the message would be forwarded to him. 'Nicknames' are not used in friendly name forwarding. For example, there is no bubba.doe@mddsn.org.

Q:  What can I do about all this junk mail?

A: Unfortunately, a certain amount of junk mail is a fact of life. There are things you can do, however, to lessen the volume of junk mail you receive. First of all, bear in mind that your email account here is a business account. We provide you with this to help you be more effective and efficient in your work. Be careful how you use your email account. The more you use your email address to sign up for newsletters (especially those which are not work related) or forward chain messages, the more you put your address out there to receive junk mail. When an email is sent with an imbedded link image, that image acts as an address collector. Each time a message is opened, a request for the image is sent to the remote server, and your address is logged. The log files provide email lists for bulk senders. The people who are receiving the most junk mail are the ones who are forwarding the most messages and are signed up to the most newsletters. Protect your email address by being careful how you use it.