Monthly Email Safety Reminder

In order to inform our customers about risks associated with reading and responding to email, we send the following message to our customers once a month:

Subject:  IMPORTANT: Montana Internet Monthly Email Safety Reminder

This is a monthly reminder about email security. Please read this message in it's entirety. Failure to do so may result in your account being locked, or expose you to having your personal account information stolen. If you believe you may have already revealed your personal information as described below, please call us immediately so we can help you take steps to protect your personal information. (In Helena call 406-443-3347, in Great Falls call 406-771-9700 or call us toll free at 888-423-5173)

Please be aware of the following:

1) ALL EMAIL IS SUBJECT TO BEING FORGED. And yes, this statement includes *this* email. Unscrupulous people regularly use email to attempt to gain access to your personal information, accounts, and money. NEVER trust the data provided in an email by itself. EVEN if it looks like it comes from a known, trusted source. It is very easy to create a forged email which appears authentic - the average computer technician could figure out how to do it within a few hours, if not a few minutes.

Because of this:

2) Montana Internet will NEVER ask for your password or other personal information in an email. Never reply to ANY email requesting this information - regardless of the source. This is a technique that spammers and other shady individuals use to gain access to your personal information and email. In addition, email is not a secure medium - anyone handling the email can read it.

3) Montana Internet will NEVER send you an attachment you must open. This is another technique used by shady individuals to gain access to your computer and to your private information. Opening ANY attachment in email is highly risky - even if it appears to come from a trusted source. It is far too easy to forge the sender, or even use the sender's own account to send such an attachment. This includes e-cards and movies from known friends - unless you know the contents are safe, do not open.

4) Never click on or trust ANY link provided in an email. It is far too easy for an unscrupulous person to forge the link AND the appearance of the website the link goes to. It is even possible for the link to appear correct, but still be redirected to another, less trustworthy location. If you ever receive an email requesting you visit a website, do not trust the address provided, but instead go to the site directly using a search engine or bookmarked link.

and finally:

5) In the event we do send you email directly and individually, it will typically either be in response to a specific request, or your monthly billing statement. Any generic emails we send, such as system downtime notifications, changes you must make to your system, and other notices (such as this one), will ALWAYS be verifiable on our website. If we must contact you directly, we will generally call, or send you an email requesting that you call our office. ALWAYS be skeptical of ANY email which appears to come from us. DO NOT take any action which would provide any personal information without contacting us or checking on our website first.

Please be aware that the above is only a small sampling of the ways that email can be used in less than honest ways. Please remember to always be skeptical of anything recieved via email. We will be sending this email once a month as a reminder. We recommend you share it with all users of your account so that they can also be aware of the potential risks of reading and/or responding to email.

Thank you,

Montana Internet Corporation
System Administration