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Updated: 16 April 2002

WebMail / Provincial Server down

The server running Chebucto Community Net's WebMail service and the Nova Scotia Provincial Server crashed under mysterious circumstances during the night Monday, according to the Chebucto Technical Committee. Technical Committee staff and volunteers are working on solutions to the problem including one option of rushing a new updated version of the WebMail into active service on one of the new servers. Mail to Chebucto users is unaffected by the WebMail server crash and is still available by direct text-service dialup, telnet, SSH (encrypted telnet), and POP3 download.

All WebMail, Provincial server services and other resources hosted on the server will be available again as soon as possible.

Low-Cost Custom Web Addresses Now Available

Chebucto users, groups and businesses can now have low cost custom website and email addresses. For $20 a year or less, full details here, users can have a custom Chebucto Sub-Domain name.

Non-Profit groups on Chebucto can have the website address, where name would be replaced by the organization or group name. Small businesses on Chebucto can customize the website address; individuals and families can customize with their family name; and Chebucto-based information resources can customize the web address

Email aliases to registered Chebucto sub-domain names are also available for $10 per year per alias. These email aliases can redirect mail to any email account.

Chebucto spam flood continues,
mail to dead accounts stopped

A recent onslaught of spam (unsolicited commercial email) has been hitting Chebucto users causing text logins and Chebucto mail services to lag. The Chebucto Technical Committee is actively working on ways to cut down on incoming spam and its related problems, such as mail bounces caused by spam filling unattended user mailboxes.

As a result of the massive influx of junk email, a long time policy of accepting email for suspended expired accounts has been changed. When a Chebucto user account expires, 30 days later the account is suspended and no longer can be accessed by the user.

In the past, the account would continue to accept new mail until the user mailbox was full. Once this happened, the mail program would attempt to deliver any new email to the account every ten minutes for three days before bouncing the message back to the sender. With more than 10,000 emails in the mail queue trying to be delivered to user mailboxes that were either full or expired, the entire mail system was overloaded.

The mail system is now set to immediately bounce any incoming mail for suspended mail accounts - that is, accounts locked down 30 days after the user account has expired. Mail to accounts that are still active but have overflowed their mailbox will still be retried for three days, as before, to allow users opportunity to remove the excess mail without losing new mail.

Chebucto currently blocks all mail originating from more than 1900 spam-sending servers, but this is proving to be insufficient as spammers develop new ways to send their mail. One recent trick has been to highjack Korean high school proxy servers which are unsecured for email relaying since they weren't set up to deliver mail at all. Another dodge has spam software using regular dialup accounts to directly send mail to the internet. Since the web address of these will change for every dialup, blocks on static server names are ineffective.

Chebucto's advice to our users is to never reply to a spam email, even honest-sounding ones that claim they will honour a remove request or are being sent in accordance with the law. These are utter lies and will only result in a user's email address being sold at a premium to other spammers as "verified". Some spammers are now forging who the spam is coming from using a valid email address pulled from their lists at random as the reply-to address. The innocent third party then gets deluged with remove requests and mail bounces from spam getting sent to invalid addresses. Chebucto also advises our users to never buy a spam-advertised item or service as this only serves to reward the spammers' efforts.

New Membership Reward Plan!

Chebucto is pleased to announce a new Membership Reward Plan open to all current Chebucto members. Full Details here.

For each new Sustaining or Family Sustaining member who tells us they were referred to us by you, we'll give you a $20 credit good towards your next Sustaining or Family Sustaining membership. "Word of mouth" advertising can now get you free internet: five referrals are good for a free Sustaining membership, including a year of our famous Chebucto Plus full graphical access.

Chebucto Users tops in *.NS.CA SETI processing

SETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, has been processing their radio telescope data with home users' computers for years now. Using an innovative screensaver which runs whenever the user computer is not in use, SETI has had more than 948,000 years of high quality computer processor time donated to it.

Of all the computer domains ending in the letters NS.CA, denoting Nova Scotia, now ranks number one, beating out both the government of Nova Scotia and the vast resources of EdNet, the schools network. Current stats here. Chebucto users have sent in more than 13,000 results, representing more than 28 years of CPU time that would otherwise have been wasted.

Outlook user email advisory

After the recent wave of viruses specifically targetting users of Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express email programs, and the constant stream of user complaints about randomly altered program settings and difficulty using the program, the Chebucto Community Net Office and the Chebucto Technical Committee recommend our users do not use either Outlook or Outlook Express as their email program.

Windows Users can find a selection of email programs available for download here and Macintosh users can find a selection of email programs here.



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