Yahoo Mail Went Down And All They Got Was A Single Tweet

In this day and age, keeping your customers up to date is as important as getting them on board in the first place. Reports started circulating yesterday that Yahoo users weren’t able to access their email accounts, and all they got for their troubles was a single tweet.

Originally reported in the thread titled “Yahoo Mail has been down for 14 hours, affecting thousands of users in Europe”, users went from saying that having their service shut down without any response being unacceptable to the barrage of comments from users asking if the service was ever truly running these days or how many people were actually affected by the problem (including a rather large barrage joking about the use of Yahoo mail for business reasons).

After checking out Yahoo Mail’s twitter page (the quickest way to update people these days on issues it would seem), the page was filled with nothing but advertisements spread out over days with no communications regarding the reported outage. That was until we checked out their support page, Yahoo Care. Amongst a slew of advertisements for their fantasy baseball teams was a single tweet saying that some users were experiencing issues.

With people replying saying that they haven’t been able to access their account for extended periods and with no support, a single tweet hardly seems to be cut it (pun intended).

In this day and age, taking days to fix a problem with little to no support for your users seems like a quick way to lose people to other webmail solutions like Gmail and Outlook. We will try to keep you updated (as well as we can with the little information that seems to be available at this moment).

The Privacy Question Of Windows 10

Windows 10 is out as of today (Wednesday 29th July 2015) and on the surface is a major improvement over the much maligned Windows 8. This should be excellent news for consumers, which it is to a large extent, but what is lurking under the hood in terms of privacy?

Well, according to the Windows 10 piracy and service agreement (even word knows where I am going with this as I typed privacy and this was changed to piracy) There are a few settings which you might want to take note of.

Data Sync

Firstly, Microsoft has implemented “Data Syncing” by default, this means when you sign in with your Windows account, the operating system immediately syncs settings and data to the companies servers. This includes your browser history, favourites and the websites you currently have open as well as saved app, website and mobile hotspot passwords and Wi-Fi network names and passwords.

You can opt out of this if you look under “settings” but just to be clear, you are already opted in to Data Sync unless you decide that you would rather not have your history on Microsoft’s servers.

Information Cortana shares

Like the idea of voice assistant “Cortana” you might also like to know what data is also shared within this feature, which includes information such as your device location, data from calendars, the apps you use, data from emails and texts, who you call, your contacts, how often you use your device (takes in a deep breath) What music you like, alarm settings, if you have the lock screen on, what you view and purchase, your voice input as well as nicknames, names of people and appointments, whether or not you’re building an underground lair aaannnndddd how often you interact with them on your device. Granted Cortana is designed to “learn” from analysing information, a lot of information as it turns out.

Microsoft’s encryption and collection of data

The terms and conditions also state that Microsoft will collect app use data for apps that run on Windows’ and ‘data about the networks you connect to” Windows 10 will also generate a unique advertising ID for each user on each device, this can and probably will be used by developers and ad networks to profile you. You can turn advertising profiling off in the settings, which might be worth a look.

Like the idea of encrypting your drive? It might be worth mentioning that your BitLocker recovery key will be backed up to your OneDrive account.

Disclosing data

Now for the killer privacy lacking feature, the following is what Microsoft defines as to who they might disclose your data to.

“We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services”

This is not clear when the criteria would be met and who they might disclose private data in folders to. Behind the glossy façade lays at the very least a few questionable policies which might infringe on basic liberties. If you’re using Windows 10, I would have another look at the settings to see what can be turned off, that is unless you’re happy with Microsoft’s new arrangements with its customers.

Thank You thenextweb, Microsoft Privacy and service agreement

Image courtesy of christianpost

The U.S. Can Still Legally Access Your Old Emails

Microsoft is in an ongoing battle with the U.S. government about handing over emails and they refuse to give up. The case contains two issues, emails stored abroad and old emails. What many people don’t know is that it was written in the Electronics Communication Privacy Act back in 1986 that the American government technically has legal access to everyone’s emails as long as they might be useful for an investigation and are more than 180 days old.

This is a blatant disregard for non-digital laws, as they don’t have the right to enter your home and read through your old letters. A lot has changed since the mid 80’s and back then digital files weren’t stored the same way as today. Back then information was downloaded and stored locally, today information is everywhere with internet and cloud services.

The laws need to be reexamined, but the U.S. government wants to keep them just they way they are. They recently responded to Microsoft’s assertion with this: “Because the emails sought in this investigation are now more than 180 days old, the plain language of the [Stored Communications Act of the ECPA] would authorize the government to use a subpoena to compel disclosure of everything it sought pursuant to the Warrant.”

The Department of Justice has long argued that citizens don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to their old emails and the issue potentially affects anyone who has ever used email.

Thanks to Mashable for providing us with this information

Jeb Bush Purposely Publishes Private E-Mails On His Website

Potential Republican Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush, brother of George W. Bush, has done something really quite damaging. In the spirit of “transparency”, Bush thought it would be a good idea to essentially leak the social security numbers and other private details of thousands of people online. Obviously he didn’t think of it like that – the intention was to publish all of his e-mail communications for the sake of openness. But of course, that was a very bad idea.

Before Bush pulled the e-mails, some managed to download them, search through them, and they found some rather interesting things. Things that could be potentially damaging for quite a few people. Those details included Social Security numbers, but those are probably the least concerning details leaked. As The Verge points out, many e-mails were those from individuals asking Bush for help with personal issues, such as those concerning finances, legal trouble and the health of themselves and even their children.

So what initially seemed like quite a substantial gesture towards political transparency, has certainly backfired, and become a political nightmare.

Source: The Verge

AMD Gaming Evolved App Powered by Raptr Was Hacked

There isn’t long between the high-profile hacks these days and this week starts out pretty bad for the AMD Gaming Evolved App powered by Raptr. The service has sent out emails to users informing them about the hack and urges them to change their passwords.

There shouldn’t be any direct risk and saved up rewards are secured. Compromised details include sign up names, usernames, email addresses, and password hashes.

Raptr security update: Please change your password

Maintaining the highest level of security around your Raptr account information is of the utmost importance to us, so we’re very sorry to inform you that some Raptr user data may have been recently compromised in an attack similar to hacking activities that have targeted other high-profile sites and services such as Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation Network.

User names, email addresses, password hashes, and some first and last names may have been accessed. This means that although the passwords are hashed, users with weak passwords are vulnerable to unauthorized access. It’s important to note that our two-factor authentication system used for redeeming Raptr Reward Points ensures that even if your Raptr account was among those compromised, the points you’ve earned as a Raptr member are protected.

Although the potential risk to Raptr users is pretty minimal, we urge you to access any accounts on other sites and services in which you use the same login and password associated with your Raptr account and change the related password(s) immediately.

Reset your password at your earliest convenience in order to help safeguard your Raptr account. In doing so, we strongly advise you to use a password that is reasonably complex and not associated with another site/service account.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Raptr’s Customer Service group.

We’re extremely sorry about this situation and are committed to further improving account security going forward.

Sincerely,
Dennis Fong
Founder & CEO, Raptr

Thanks to Videocardz for providing us with this information

Sony Tries to Stop Email Leaks with DMCA Claims

There are always some people that become citizen journalists when the mainstream media fails to pick up on something or cover it as deeply as they would like, and the musician Val Broeksmit is one of them. Not satisfied with the media coverage, he started to tweet (@BikiniRobotArmy) small excerpts from the hacked Sony emails that he felt overlooked or uncovered.

In return, Sony issued legal threats to him and twitter on the 22nd December, but without any effect and the tweets remained online. Two days later Sony then instead claimed copyright infringement on the 20 tweets and tried to get them removed that way. A week later only two of the 20 tweets had been removed and Twitter doesn’t seem to budge further.

Twitter in itself has been a key player before when it came to freedom of speech and citizen journalists, and thankfully it looks like it takes a bit more than a takedown notice from Sony UK to have them act in blind and in haste. And honestly, given twitters character limitation, the published information is severely limited.

Thanks to Ars Technica for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of John Savageau’s

Daimler Allows Employees to Delete all Incoming Emails When on Vacation

Car manufacturer Daimler are trying to make their employee’s holidays a little more stress-free. They’ve opted in the ability to remove the general “out of office reply” for a much simpler task – deleting every incoming email throughout the whole duration of their leave. The program is adequately named their “Mail On Holiday” option.

The New York Times reported:

“The program, called Mail on Holiday, politely informs senders that their messages were instantly deleted, but they can contact a designated alternate worker if necessary. The email blackout is optional for the company’s 100,000 workers, but “the response is basically 99 percent positive,” a Daimler spokesman, Oliver Wihofszki, told BBC Radio. “Everybody says, ‘That’s a real nice thing.'”

With some basic mail knowledge, you could do something similar yourself – just set a rule to send all incoming mail to your trash as it arrives in your inbox, shame if someone has something very important to contact you about however.

According to Daimler this is a bid to promote a healthier holiday lifestyle for their employees – removing any opportunity for them to look at their work emails whilst resting on holiday. As the incoming emails are removed, a simple return email will be sent to the sender letting them know they should remain contact after the holiday period has ended.

I wonder what will happen if two companies with the same policy have an email sent to one another. Does it just spit automatically generated out of office emails at one another for all eternity or is there some kind of failsafe put in place for this?

What do you think of this opt-in program? It’s a good idea for employee peace of mind and certainly will make day one back in the office run quite a lot smoother, but it begs the question – what if you miss something very important?

Image courtesy of Techsupport Pro

Microsoft Refuse to Give Emails Despite Court Order

Microsoft executives have obviously been listening to too much N.W.A (NSFW – some bad language) recently. Although ordered by the federal court, they are refusing to hand over overseas-held email data to the feds.

Microsoft have stated that they will continue to hold on to this information as it waits for the case to wind through the appeals process, until this happens it’s unlikely to see them budge.

On Friday they released a statement:

“Microsoft will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal, everyone agrees this case can and will proceed to the appeals court. This is simply about finding the appropriate procedure for that to happen.” Windows IT Pro

Thus, the judge has ordered Microsoft and it’s prosecutors to advise her on the plan going ahead before next Friday, the 5th of September.

Stay tuned for further information.

Image courtesy of Creative Digital Group

Silk Road Bitcoin Buyers Identities Exposed Thanks to U.S. Marshal Error

The U.S. Marshals  handling the private bidding for the recently seized $18 million worth of Bitcoins have made an unfortunate showing in technological prowess, or lack thereof.

Mass emails are one of the easiest ways to contact multiple clients directly at once, thankfully for those who are handling sensitive and private information there is the ability to use the ‘BCC’ function to hide exactly whom you’re emailing to. That is unless you’re part of the U.S. Marshals office.

Today an email was sent out to all of their private bidders but with a twist – every bidder was included in a ‘CC’ list. For the technologically unaware, this means that every bidder is able to see to whom the email was sent to and therefore nulling the whole ‘anonymous bid’ type scenario, especially due to the fact that many of the users names are easily identifiable by their email address.

Now that the 40 bidders know each others identities, the email has been leaked onto the internet (with censored information).

Last fall the government seized and took ownership of 29,656.51306529 Bitcoins when it raided the well known black market website Silk Road (commonly used for illegal trade of firearms and drugs). Due to current market price, that means this stash is currently worth just over $18 million USD out of a $7.87 billion Market cap.

The reasoning behind these investors purchasing these coins as an all-in-one package comes down to changes in Bitcoin pricing and current market status. $18 million worth of Bitcoins accounts for approximately 85% of daily trading and if purchased in one solid block, all these coins can be bought at for one price rather than relying on numerous smaller transactions whereas the price is likely to fluctuate.

There hasn’t been any reported repercussions as of yet, but we’re waiting for reports on how many shady website signups come through practical jokes because of this. Did someone say Adult Match Maker?

First photo courtesy of etoro.com

Email photo courtesy of TechCrunch