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Email Basics

What's an e-mail client?
An e-mail client is a program designed for connecting to your mail server (a computer belonging to your ISP that's responsible for receiving your email and delivering it to you) and composing, sending and retrieving your e-mail messages. The most common e-mail clients include Microsoft's Outlook and Outlook Express. There are hundreds of e-mail clients, each a bit different.

How do I find out how to use my E-mail client?
Since each client is different, there's no way that we could begin to explain the ins and outs of each one here. However, we have provided help pages for getting Outlook and Outlook Express configured for use with your Aire Networks account. You can view those here. Also, please review your client's Help menu - it offers thorough explanations on each feature of the client. Anytime the Help contents make reference to settings provided by your ISP or administrator, just come back here to the help pages to review the Aire Networks account settings.

What is Webmail or Web-based mail?
Webmail or Web-based mail is a way to compose, send and receive e-mail messages in your web browser - that is, on a web page on the Internet - without using a client such as Outlook Express. Yahoo! and Hotmail are popular web-based e-mail services. A lot of web-based mail services can retrieve mail from other accounts that you have. For example, My Yahoo! account can download my messages from our Aire Networks mail server, and I can access them from any computer with Internet access, whereas when I download messages into my client on my computer at home, I can only access them from my home computer.

Aire Networks offers a Webmail service. Aire Networks customers can access their airenetworks.com e-mail from any computer that's connected to the Internet simply by visiting http://mail.airenetworks.com or clicking the "Webmail" link in the upper right corner of our site.

What are viruses, worms and trojan horses?
A computer virus is a small program written to alter the way a computer operates, without the permission or knowledge of the user. Some viruses are programmed to damage the computer by damaging programs, deleting files, or reformatting the hard disk. Others are not designed to do any damage, but simply to replicate themselves and make their presence known by presenting text, video, and audio messages. Viruses often cause erratic behavior and can result in system crashes and data loss.

Trojan Horses are impostors--files that claim to be something desirable but, in fact, are malicious. A very important distinction from true viruses is that they do not replicate themselves, as viruses do. Trojans contain malicious code, that, when triggered, cause loss, or even theft, of data. In order for a Trojan Horse to spread, you must, in effect, invite these programs onto your computers--for example, by opening an email attachment.

Worms are programs that replicate themselves from system to system without the use of a host file. This is in contrast to viruses, which requires the spreading of an infected host file. Although worms generally exist inside of other files, often Word or Excel documents, there is a difference between how worms and viruses use the host file. Usually the worm will release a document that already has the "worm" macro inside the document. The entire document will travel from computer to computer, so the entire document should be considered the worm.

Viruses, worms and trojans are all commonly referred to as viruses. On this page, any reference to "viruses" is meant to be taken to mean viruses, worms or trojans.

I probably won't get a virus, right? I mean, what are the chances?
OK, this is the single most important thing on this page, so listen closely: If you use e-mail and you do not have virus protection (Such as Norton AntiVirus or McAfee VirusScan) YOUR COMPUTER WILL ALMOST DEFINITELY BECOME INFECTED WITH A VIRUS. If your computer becomes infected, you can lose your data! You can never tell which virus you will get, and so there's no way to know the severity of the damage it will cause.

The only way you can be assured that your computer is safe from viruses, worms and trojans is to purchase and install an AntiVirus Program. Generally, these programs will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $50. They can be purchased online or at your local K-mart or Wal-Mart.

I was told that I will stay safe from viruses if I don't open e-mail from people I don't know. Isn't this true?
NO! This may have been true once, but what most people fail to realize is that 80% of virus infections come from a message sent to you by someone you do indeed know. The creators of the viruses are not stupid, obviously. They know how to make an infected message look appealing. So the average user fires up their email client, and sees a message from their best friend Joe telling them to look at the attached picture, because it's really funny. Only when they open the attachment, the joke's on them, because they are now infected with whatever virus Joe's computer has sent them. The thing people don't know is that Joe had no part in writing or sending the message that showed up in their inbox. Viruses and worms collect every email address in the infected computer - everyone in the address book and every address shown on every webpage that the infected computer has visited - then they use their own mail sending program to send an infected message to every address they've just collected. When your computer's infected, chances are you won't even know it, unless some of the mail bounces back to you as undeliverable or your friends write to you to say "thanks a lot" for the virus you sent them.

OK, now I'm scared - I don't have AntiVirus software! Am I infected? What do I do?
Don't panic. Just head to K-mart or Wal-Mart and pick up a copy of Norton AntiVirus or McAfee VirusScan (I prefer Norton, myself) and install it on your computer. Then run a scan on your system, to see if you have any files that have been infected. If you do indeed have infections that the program can't automatically repair, then you should consult with a repair technician to find out about your options. Randomly deleting the infected files could be dangerous, especially if the files are needed to run Windows or other important programs.

What is spam?
Spam is simply unsolicited e-mail - that is, e-mail that you did not sign up for or request, generally advertisements of some sort. These types of mailings are quite often offensive or annoying. More on spam and how to combat it can be found here.

What are e-mail hoaxes?
Email hoaxes are bogus e-mail messages - urban legends and chain letters and such - created by bored losers that FALSELY promise...

1. Death & destruction (Be on the lookout for a message titled "Bad Times" - it will erase the contents of your hard drive and reprogram your VCR, and if you don't send this to everyone you know then you will have bad karma forever)
2. The chance to make some phenomenal amount of money or win a vacation (Forward this to everyone everywhere and you will make a hundred gazillion dollars or win a trip to DisneyWorld because Disney & Microsoft secretly merged and can track how many people you send this to)
3. The chance to save some dying child from some horrible disease (If you forward this to everyone you know, some sick kid in Bangladesh will have the chance to have a lifesaving surgery because somebody somewhere is counting how many times this message is forwarded and paying $.10 per name on them)
4. To inform you of some serious horror that you weren't aware of (Common products will give you cancer or kill you - like Coke, Deodorant and Styrofoam)

If you get any of these types of messages, please try to confirm the validity of the message before passing it on. One website dedicated to informing the public about the validity of urban legends is www.snopes.com. Symantec (the maker of Norton AntiVirus) has an extensive list of virus hoaxes listed on their site at: http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html. If you can't confirm a message's validity, at least remember that there is no way to track forwarded e-mail messages, Microsoft has not merged with any other company (unless you see it in bold type on the front page of the newspaper) and chain letters that are broken do not give you bad luck.


Good luck with your Wireless Internet experience, and please feel free to contact us by e-mail at support@airenetworks.com or by phone at (800) 840-6673 if you need any help that is not addressed here.