Yahoo Hacked – 1.0B Accounts Exposed

Dude… The Fat Lady is SO singing over at Yahoo…

yahoo exposed

  1. There are a few things that come to mind here:
  2. If I were Marissa Mayer, I would crawl under a rock and hide. Like… forever.
  3. If I were Verizon, I would run, not walk, so fast and so far away from the purchase of Yahoo, and I would NEVER look back (or second guess that decision)
  4. If I were a Yahoo user, I would set fire to my account and use the mail account that my ISP gave me. At this point a comcast.net mail account can’t be seen as a bad thing…

To be honest, this is beyond pathetic.

I’ve heard it mentioned that the security breach in question is the result of a separate, earlier attack that occurred in 2013, at least six to twelve months before the attack in 2014 that exposed 500 million accounts to hackers. I’ve heard that security analysts at Yahoo brought their concerns to the management team and the analysis was effectively ignored.

In a statement, Yahoo said they weren’t able to identify the intrusion associated with the breach. Hackers may have stolen names, email addresses, telephone numbers, MD5 hashed passwords, dates of birth, and in some cases, both encrypted and unencrypted security questions and answers.

The company has further admitted that hackers may have accessed all of this information due to a theft of source code, enabling them to manufacture a way in without requiring a password. Apparently, they were able to forge a cookie that allowed them to retrieve credentials that were stored locally. While Yahoo has invalidated the security questions and their answers as well as the forged cookies, the damage has already been done.

The thing that really irks me the most here, is that this was a bigger breach than the one that was reported in 2014; AND it occurred BEFORE the breach that got so much publicity. This hack is twice as big and in my opinion twice as damning. Verizon was already “evaluating” its purchase of Yahoo. If I were them, I’d evaluate myself right out of the deal. The assets aren’t worth the risk.

Yahoo has been severely criticized by six different US senators for taking two years to publicize the September 2014 breach that lost them 500,000 accounts. This latest breach occurred a full year or so before that, and its being revealed AFTER the 2014 breach.

At this point, Yahoo knows basically NOTHING. They have no idea who may have perpetrated the attack, which nation may have sponsored the hackers or the full extent of the information that has been compromised. As a result, Yahoo’s stock took a 2.5% hit in afterhours trading on 2016-12-14. At this point, I can see the value of the stock dropping more as Verizon “evaluates” their purchase plans.

As I said, Yahoo is over. Marissa Mayer is done as a CEO, despite the amount of promise she showed during the early part of her tenue with the company. Verizon should do themselves a favor and target other web content and properties . I think their money would be better spent on assets that weren’t compromised.

If I were a Yahoo user, I’d shut my account down, get a secure password manager, and change passwords and security question answers on all my financial accounts… and that’s just for starters. Yahoo has been around since the early 1990’s. A lot of users have a great deal invested in them, and all of that metadata may be compromised at this point. Better safe than sorry for ALL involved (including investors, Yahoo management and Verizon, as well as users)…

Are you a Yahoo user? Are you still using your Yahoo account? Are you concerned about this breach? What, if anything, have you done to protect yourself and your account information? Why don’t you meet me in the Discussion area below and give me your thoughts on the breach and on Yahoo itself as well as what you’re doing to make yourself safe.

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Notable Updates for the Week

All this… and it’s only THURSDAY!

There are two big stories that I want to cover quickly, as I really don’t want to stretch these out any longer than they need to be. Both are significant, however, and really do deserve some commentary.

Samsung Officially Discontinues the Note 7
Despite what anyone may think, this one surprised me a bit. I didn’t think that Samsung would kill the Note 7. I really thought that it would go away for a while and then come back as the Note 7.1 or Note 7.5 or something like that, after they figured out where to get batteries that don’t blow up in your pants…but I’m just sayin’…

note7-discontinued

It really costs a lot of money when an entire product is cancelled. It also really says a lot about what Samsung’s Supplier Quality program could and could not do when it came to batteries for this device. But again, I guess that’s just me.

It really seems as though Samsung threw in the towel a little early here.

However, according to TechCrunch, Samsung confirmed the status of the discontinued Note 7 to the Wall Street Journal… and that’s it. Samsung didn’t go into any kind of details or provide any additional information on how or why it stopped producing the device. They just stopped.

I also saw a report on The Verge indicating that Samsung was sending customers fireproof return boxes for their Note 7’s.

On the damage control side of things, I knew that the costs to Samsung would be big; but I got surprised here, again. According to Reuters, the cost of discontinuing production of the Galaxy Note 7 could cost Samsung up to $17B USD.

Yes.

That’s billions with a big, fat capital “B.”

When you couple that with the $19B USD stock hit (yes, again, that’s billions with another big, fat capital, “B”) that Samsung has taken, this whole fiasco has cost Samsung over $36B USB.

Yahoo Removes eMail Forwarding
In a move that’s CLEARLY meant to stop the flow of entrenched users from transferring their email to another service, it was reported, again, by TechCrunch that Yahoo is disabled eMail forwarding in all Yahoo eMail accounts that didn’t PREVIOUSLY have the feature enabled.

email_forwarding_discontinuedeMail forwarding is a pretty easy way to maintain your existing email flow while you transition from one address to another. You setup the forward at your OLD address, and have all of the mail received there, forwarded to your NEW address. You can then start socializing the new address while still insuring that you don’t miss any important email while things are changing over.

This is a common feature, and its one that every service – like GMail, Hot Mail (now Outlook.com) and other popular mail services – provides to users. The move here, to remove this feature is clearly one put in place by Yahoo to stop users from leaving after the announcement in September 2016 of a data breach that effected 500 million user accounts.

According to TechCrunch, Yahoo declined to comment on the removal of the feature and instead pointed users to a section of its help text that indicated:

“This feature is under development. While we work to improve it, we’ve temporarily disabled the ability to turn on Mail Forwarding for new forwarding addresses. If you’ve already enabled Mail Forwarding in the past, your email will continue to forward to the address you previously configured.”

Dear Yahoo – no one is buying your BS.

Mail forwarding has been around for years and it’s not something that should be considered an improvement or in any way “under development.”

All you’re doing is holding email users hostage… and it’s really rude.

Thankfully, I never had a Yahoo email account. I simply just couldn’t stomach the *.yahoo.com domain. I was an English literature major in college. I actually know what a Yahoo is. A definition of the word “yahoo” can be found here. It wasn’t always a good thing, kids…

It’s really a term of insult. Why anyone would name a company after a “crude, brutish, or obscenely coarse person” is beyond me… However, after removing the ability to redirect mail, or even, in some cases, deleting an email account (some users have reported that they couldn’t even delete their accounts…), they appear to be living up to their name sakes.

But would you look at that?! It’s not even the middle of the week (as of this writing) and already Samsung has lost upwards of $40B USD and Yahoo’s value is taking so much that even Verizon is considering backing out of their intent to purchase the company.

Boy… If I were Marissa Mayer… I’d be seriously thinking about jumping with that golden parachute of mine before the Yahoo Board takes it away from her…

But again… that’s just me.

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What’s in a Font?

Google unveils new logo – Internets burn down (story at 11..?)

Normally I wouldn’t comment on a company’s logo change. I mean, it’s not normally news or anything of importance. Unless of course, that company is Google, and then just about every time that company burps, its important. And honestly, that’s about what this logo change from most recent to new looks like.

It’s a font change.

That’s all… just a font change

Google changed their logo from this

Old Google

to this

New Google 02

They moved from a serif based font to a sans serif based font.

…Aaaaand again, the Internets lost their mind and burned down. Everybody is talking about it. Google’s perspective on this is that their new logo really spells out their mobile strategy. The font is easier to read on a mobile device. The four dots, four colors and four colored microphone speak to what you can do with Google on the desktop, on your phone or on your tablet with Gmail, Chrome, Docs, Maps and any of Google’s other cross platform, cloud based properties.

New Google 03

Where they get all that, from a font change is a bit of a stretch on my part, but hey… that’s just me, maybe.

However, I can’t doubt or make fun of the impact that Google has had on nearly EVERYONE in modern history in ITS 17 years of life. Their company’s name is now a recognized verb. It’s the biggest search engine on the planet. It powers more email than just about any other non-ISP based email provider, including Microsoft; and it has the number one mapping solution in both the desktop and mobile spaces in Google Maps.

Let’s face it – nearly everybody uses both of these tools. I’d be lost without both of them; and literally in the case of Maps… As computing has evolved over the past 25 years, Google came into being and then has changed with it to make computing more value added than you’d think.

And speaking of evolution, you really need to take a look at what Google has done over the past 17 years. This is one cool little movie…

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Is The End Near for Microsoft?

microsoft-in-kenyaWell, I don’t know, but they sure act like it. Just like a beast, who is starting to realize that the opponent is getting stronger, and now, wounded, tries to get hold on every possible thing to remain in the big digital war.

This is my personal point of view, and it’s becoming more and more obvious. Microsoft started an aggressive campaign against Google’s email client, Gmail, called Scroogled. Well, now, Microsoft is doing it again! Another campaign against Goole’s email scanning process, called Keep Your Email Private (and use Outlook.com instead of Gmail). So, what’s new? I don’t think that is anything new, and they just wanna remind the users that outlook.com is safer and respects your privacy, unlike Google’s Gmail. We all know that emails content are scanned with a view of delivering targeted ads, depending on your conversation topic.

People know about this, and whoever is not happy with it, can move along from Gmail. What is now suspicious, is that Microsoft is using this Gmail feature, and exploits it, in order to get more people to use Outlook.com

Microsoft statement: “Unlike Gmail, Outlook.com keeps your privacy private. You won’t see ads based on keywords from your personal email. Your email is nobody else’s business. But Google makes it their business. Even if you’re not a Gmail user, Google still goes through your personal email sent to Gmail and uses the content to sell ads. ”

They explain how the scanning works, but something is missing. Of course the lack of clear points in this information, is not making it clear if the scanning is anonymously made and if any of our private data is given/revealed to any other third party.

It’s clear that Microsoft wants more users and they use this “feature” from Gmail to boost their products. I don’t find it a fair fight, to throw mud on your opponent’s products in order to show to the people how shiny is yours. And about our privacy, Google statement is clear. It’s your choice if you use their products or not. The Big Brother doesn’t force anyone to join him, but he sure offers some of the best products on the market.

What can we do? Well, it’s clear. As long as we give up our privacy, we let our freedom vanish.
Using the email account is almost vital for many people. But, really, I don’t know who likes the idea to have all the emails scanned… A workaround can be made. If you really want more privacy, but you don’t wanna let your Gmail account go, you can set up another email client, or you can even choose to use Outlook.com and connect your Gmail account there, and you’ll get all your emails forwarded to your new Outlook account. But this is the right way to avoid having your emails scanned? If I set up the automatic forward, would make my emails invulnerable to scanning? Still, one big question remains… what is the safest way to use the email and have our privacy protected?

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Inky

inky_logoTake control of your inbox with this cool Windows based email app.

There are a lot of pundits out there who say that email is dead and dying. I totally disagree. There will likely be a need to send an electronic letter or memo from one place to another outside of a social networking setting for quite some time.

Organizing your inbox isn’t always easy. Email comes from a number of different sources, and most individuals have two or more accounts. It’s for this reason that I really like applications like Inky. It’s a Windows app that helps you take control of your inbox.

Inky helps organize your inbox and saves you time by displaying all your email messages in one place. It sorts them by relevance. As soon as you sign in for the first time, Inky goes to work figuring out what mail is important to you and helps you find it by prominently displaying it. Inky is customizable and can sort and filter using any criteria.

Whether you have one account or five, Inky provides a new, refreshingly simple interface to check all your mail. From one click unsubscribe to package tracking, Inky’s smart tools help you get things done and get on with your life.

INK-07

Inky is a decent email client that does simply an ok job. It’s very simple and easy to use and if you’ve used an iPad or a Windows tablet recently, then you should be pretty familiar with Inky. Its interface is similar to those.

The biggest problem I had with Inky is that while it pulled the headers for all of the mail in the one account that I used to test the app with, it couldn’t or wouldn’t pull the full message. It made working with the program nearly impossible.

The app also doesn’t do much to help you get to “Inbox-Zero” or a fully, empty inbox where all of your email is addressed. The of the relevance filters didn’t work well on my MSN email address. I’m not certain why.

The app isn’t bad, and the price is definitely right. However there wasn’t a lot here that made me want to keep it.

download Inky

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Share photos with your friends and loved ones with Ashampoo Photo Mailer

photomailerOf all the things that I do on my computer, sharing pictures is perhaps the one thing that I do most often. I also think it’s the thing that most people do most often on their computers.  While sites like a Flickr, and Picasa and Facebook are great, but if the person you want to share with doesn’t do social networking, or if all you really want to do is shoot someone a couple of quick easy shots, then Ashampoo Photo Mailer is probably the app for you. It’s a cool photo utility for Windows.

Today, there are numerous ways to share your images online. However, what should be the simplest way still remains a pain in the rump – sharing images via email. Images have to be manually resized, trimmed and often split up into several mails to meet email provider constraints. Many times, you have to send, tweak, and resend in order to get everything sent.

Ashampoo Photo Mailer handles all of these tasks – the trimming and resizing, and turns photo sharing through email into a joyful experience. You can use any number of images.  Image splitting between emails occurs automatically, and then only when required.  You can send pictures to any number of recipients.  Ashampoo Photo Mailer has simple and efficient contact management built in.  You can send images at any quality level.  Trimming and resizing occurs automatically, and again, and only when required.

APM-03

The nice thing about Ashampoo Photo Mailer, is that it’s built around a rapid, step-by-step process.  You pick your images and adding recipients to dispatching your emails. The approach is highly intuitive and self-explanatory and requires no lengthy learning process.

Setting up existing email accounts is easy.  All you need is your name, email address and account password. Ashampoo Photo Mailer automatically recognizes different email providers and adds the required server settings.

At $20 bucks, the app seems a bit over priced for an app that optimizes photos for easy sharing via email, though its photo optimization slider is pretty cool.  What would be nice, is if this integrated with Gmail, Yahoo mail Outlook.com on the web and Outlook on the desktop, allowing you to call the app directly from your mail app or from within your open browser. It would also be nice if this allowed you to share photos via Flickr, Facebook and other social network sites.

download Ashampoo Photo Mailer

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Foxmail – The Fireless Fox

logoThe email is basically the most used method to communicate today. There are plenty of email clients and each user can choose the one that suits better for his needs. I’ve chosen to test Foxmail, because I found it recently, and from some other reviews I learned that it’s quite something. The version 7.1 is expected to be lighter and faster, and is trying to cover all the needs that a user has: Standard email, Address book, and meetings, appointments, and RSS Feed.

Foxmail indeed is light and easy to use, once you figured out how to set it in english (we’ll get to that a bit later.). I’ve configured my Gmail email address very fast (just my email address and password), and the program detected automatically the port settings and all my emails were there in a flash, with all the folders set in my local language, according to my gmail settings. So, it’s a basic email client, with a basic design. On top of the menu bar, you have only 6 options: Check, Compose, Reply, Reply All, Forward and Delete. Of course, when you compose an email, you have advanced settings, like priority and so. You don’t need more from a basic email client.

foxmail

Now, the downside: The installer is in Chinese language, and you DON’T have an option to change that in the installer. I consider this a BIG drawback for the application. Even so, because it’s a standard Next-Next-Finish installer, I managed to install it and to configure the email address. And after that, I made a “blind” search to find out if there is any way to set the program to english. This is what you have to do (see the picture below about how to change this email client into english.). After all the changes applied, you have to restart the application in order the changes to take effect. EVRIKA! It worked! Now the program suddenly came out of the dark.

Foxmai-Instructions

Foxmail it is indeed the lightest email client I’ve worked with. But they really need to implement the select language option in the installer, and to set as default the english language for the application. The meeting and appointment features work great and you will be notified about every new email you get in a small and nice pop-up balloon in windows. Anyway, if you don’t want a little adventure with the Chinese language, I don’t recommend you to try it. But, if you do, and you need a basic email client, this is the right application for you.

download Foxmail

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Keep your PC safe with one of the best security app – AVG Internet Security

AVG Internet SecurityComputing is complicated these days. With viruses, worms, phishing and all other kinds of malware out there, keeping your PC clean and your private data private, isn’t easy. That’s why I really like AVG Internet security. It’s a PC antimalware and security app for Windows.

AVG Internet Security provides 100% virus detection. Its scanning engine has received numerous awards for its detection of previously unknown viruses. Its unique combination of detection methods provides full protection against viruses, worms and Trojans.

AVG Internet Security has cutting-edge anti-spyware technology. It uses the latest, state-of-the-art detection technology, so spyware, adware, DLL-Trojans, key loggers, and much more don’t live long on your PC. Malware hidden in data streams, archives, or the Windows registry are also detected. Its powerful Resident Shield provides maximum protection by scanning every file opened, executed, or saved. It also prevents the opening or executing of infected files. For your protection, files can be included or excluded from being scanned based on individual file extensions; and can handle exceptions for potentially unwanted programs such as adware.

AVG Internet Security

AVG provides full email protection and checks every e-mail sent or received. It can protect your computer from any and all e-mail-borne threats; and includes spam and phishing protection and filtering. AVG supports all leading e-mail clients, including MS Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, The Bat!, Eudora, and all other SMTP/POP3-based e-mail clients, such as Outlook Express; and supports encrypted connections using SSL.

AVG Internet Security is one of the best internet suites available on the internet today. If you’ve got a home network, you have complete control over all network access. Its built in firewall monitors all communication to and from your computer, blocking external attacks and preventing Trojans from stealing confidential data. Its configuration wizard automatically creates access rules for all popular software and can switch profiles automatically, based upon the current connection type (LAN to Wi-Fi and back), ensuring seamless changeover for notebooks. If you don’t have an internet security suite, this is a great choice.

Download AVG Internet Security

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