Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To All Yahoo Email Users

I know I am not the only one getting spam from my friends who use yahoo email. I also know that often they don't even know that their email was used to send spam to all of their contacts. If you used yahoo email it is almost certain that your account has been hacked, possibly more than once.

Do you know why? SC Magazine does.. Hackers are using a security hole in Yahoo to access a login credentials page that allows unlimited attempts to login. They probably use some bot to try password after password until it works. Apparently the hole described in the linked article has been known since September 2009. Hello! You'd think Yahoo would have fixed this by now.

Also the attacks have only been escalating. I remember getting these emails back in the spring, only once in a while. This week I have deleted at least 8 emails from people that I know and people that I have happened to email in the past for some reason or another. In one case I deleted one from the same person 3 days in a row!

What do you do then? There are a couple of options.

1. Drop your yahoo account. Open a gmail account or some other more secure one. Export or copy all of your contacts down and forward any important emails to your new account. Strip the yahoo account of all contacts and emails. See if you can forward new emails to your new account or set up a vacation message with your new email.

2. If you keep your yahoo account first change your password to something really difficult. Lots of letters, numbers and special characters. Even then you are not completely safe. Get rid of any sensitive emails. Maybe empty your contacts too and keep them on a file on your computer to use when you need to send an email.

There is not much else you can do. It's not a virus or a malware attack that you can clean up off your computer. Yahoo is aware of this but seems to be pretty silent about it. When you do a search for this problem not a lot comes up. Except the article I linked to and this blog post, http://dagblog.com/humor-satire/who-hijacked-yahoo-mail-3151. The guy in this post has been in contact to some extent with Yahoo and has not had much success. Interesting.

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