Bloomer, Geri & Co., a CPA and business advisory firm headquartered here, found a way to fight potentially crippling e-mail bombs last tax season.Information technology manager Joy Lasseter said that the first clue of the attack came in the form of a call from the company that hosts the firm's Web-based e-mail that "a tsunami" of spam suddenly came flooding in, with thousands of messages per hour addressed to Bloomer Geri's internal mailboxes.

"We were receiving so much mail so fast that it actually caused our hosting company's servers to shut down," Lasseter explained.

Who set off this explosion remains unclear, but the attack was thwarted by Lasseter after the e-mail outsourcer's demand that the firm immediately change its basic e-mail address, its domain name.

"The end of March is not a good time for a CPA firm to be changing its domain," she recalled. "We couldn't disrupt everything by asking clients to change their address books."

Lasseter was also suspicious that the e-mail outsourcer's own security missteps had contributed to the problem for the firm, which has some 20 e-mail users.

She decided to accelerate BG's plans to pull its e-mail service in-house. A consultant was called in who rigged a spare Windows computer and installed the ArGoSoft Mail Server software.

Lasseter, however, still had to deal with the spam that her firm was receiving, and the consultant pointed her to AppRiver, in Gulf Breeze, Fla., which offers a service that intercepts clients' incoming messages, scours them for bad content and attachments, and passes legitimate messages on to the appropriate inboxes. Lasseter has continued to use in-house virus protection software.

BG also did set up a new domain name for its site and e-mail, but kept the old one so as not to inconvenience any clients. "It's hard for us to get clients to change," the IT manager said. "Some people are still using the old domain."

Including, it turns out, the original e-mail bombers, who continue to attack the original domain, though at "diminishing intensity."

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