BITNETS Secure E-mail FAQ

Does secure e-mail stop e-mail viruses?
The BITNETS secure e-mail service includes virus scanning, so yes, all incoming mail is scanned for viruses. Secure e-mail itself is not an anti-virus technology.

So what exactly is secure e-mail? Why do I need secure e-mail?
Secure e-mail uses a point to point TLS (SSL) connection to encrypt e-mail transfers over the Internet wherever possible. For security to be effective, every system the e-mail passes through must support TLS transfers. To assure end-to-end security, BITNETS provides both a system for your correspondents to connect to for sending messages to you and for you to download those messages over a secure, encrypted connection. It assures you privacy since e-mail in transit that is otherwise readable by anyone will be unreadable, with no additional skills or special efforts on your part.

Why not just get anti-virus software?
Anti-virus is not a secure e-mail solution in itself. It is merely one component of the BITNETS secure e-mail service.

Popular desktop anti-virus and all-in-one security products cause system instability, might slow down your computer and even be incompatible with your operating system. They cost more, either due to annual upgrades or if the product is discarded for the problems it might cause. The effectiveness of anti-virus is limited to blocking only known viruses with certainty. The biggest drawback of desktop anti-virus then is that anti-virus might not protect your computer from the latest threats if you do not yourself update virus signatures regularly. Worms can remotely plant themselves on your computer and turn off anti-virus protection, opening up your computer to further infection, while you rest with a false sense of security.

BITNETS employs advanced content filtering developed in-house based on years of ongoing research. The content filter blocks potentially malicious content that might not per se be a virus, so the effectiveness of virus blocking is not limited to and does not depend on anti-virus alone.
The service is platform and operating system independent so every computer you use, not just the one computer that has desktop anti-virus, is protected in more ways without the need to buy, install, configure or update regularly, software for each Windows and Linux PC and Mac.

All your e-mail is filtered before it is even delivered to your mailbox, as against first downloading infected messages to your computer and then scanning with anti-virus software.

So I don't need to buy anti-virus software if I'm using the BITNETS secure e-mail service?
If you forward all your mail from your various e-mail addresses to your BITNETS mailbox, download mail from the BITNETS secure e-mail service exclusively, run a hardware firewall and don't download software except from reputed sites, you never need to run anti-virus software on your computer.

What about spam or junk mail?
The BITNETS secure e-mail service blocks mail from known spammers, so you will see a dramatic reduction in the amount of spam you receive. Messages likely to be spam that you might receive would be tagged as such in the subject line, so you may take appropriate action such as set up a filter or rule in your e-mail program to automatically divert all such tagged messages to a Spam, Junk, Trash or Deleted Items folder for review, and thus eliminate those messages yourself or otherwise deal with them as you deem fit.

Does my e-mail address have to change? Do I still need my cable/ADSL/dialup service?
Your existing e-mail address does not change if you don't want it to. You keep your existing cable, ADSL or dial-up service either way. You get all the benefits of your new service without having to notify your correspondents of an address change, by having e-mail from your current address forward to your new e-mail address.

If I still need to keep my existing cable/ADSL/dialup service, why incur the additional cost?
The short answer is mobility, flexibility, cost and security.

Mobility: Switching from cable to ADSL, switching ADSL service providers, upgrading from dial-up to cable or any such changes will result in your losing your e-mail address that is known to all your friends, family and business associates. The BITNETS service on the other hand operates independent of your Internet connectivity, so even if you move to another part of the world or switch connectivity service providers, you keep your e-mail address for as long as you are signed up with BITNETS. You are free to switch service providers if you are not getting the service levels and value you expect; you don't have to put up with sub-standard service just to keep your e-mail address, once you are signed up with BITNETS.

Flexibility and Cost: If you have residential service (usually under $55/month), your service provider will not permit the use of your own domain name with the bundled e-mail service unless you upgrade to business class of service and pay significantly higher rates. You do not have to pay premium business rates for an Internet connection that offers little value, to have BITNETS host your domain.

Security: BITNETS brings you innovative technologies, and as such your existing provider likely does not
offer TLS. We do not bundle anti-virus or firewall software with our service and claim we are providing benefits that are actually being provided by third party software. We are in the business of protection, not deception.

How much does the BITNETS secure e-mail service cost?
For personal accounts, C$9.80 per month and a one-time setup fee of C$25 on a minimum one-year term.
Business accounts start at C$39.00 per month with a one-time setup fee of C$60 to C$125, depending on whether name service setup is required. The price includes ten domain e-mail addresses and domain registrar fees. Your account can optionally be integrated with a mail server on your premises.

What makes BITNETS different?
BITNETS is an award-winning Managed Solutions Provider. The service is fully managed and totally hands off for you. You get the combination of industry standard SSL encryption (the same technology used for online banking), virus scanning and spam management for total security. BITNETS has multi-homed Internet connectivity such that each upstream provider gets its upstream independent of the other, on-site and remote backup mail and DNS servers on different subnets and daily mail spool backup. None of the servers are outsourced or co-located, all services run on physically secure
in-house servers at multiple BITNETS locations.

Where can I get more information? Can I sign up online?
You can get more information and sign up online.
If you have any questions, would like to discuss options or sign up, call us at 1-877-248-6387 (Canada/US toll-free).