Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

9/25/2013
08:57 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Yahoo Responds To Recycled Email Security Problem

Yahoo will launch a "Not My Email" button to return old account-holders' email and help former users reclaim their accounts.

10 Ways To Fight Email Overload
10 Ways To Fight Email Overload
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Yahoo announced late Tuesday night that the company plans to roll out a tool for recipients of recycled email accounts to return messages that were not intended for them. InformationWeek reported Tuesday on three Yahoo users who began receiving emails containing personal information intended for the former user -- including bank and wireless account information -- after signing up for a recycled Yahoo account.

The new button, called "Not My Email," will roll out this week and will be found under the "Actions" tab in users' inboxes. The button will help users of recycled accounts train their inboxes to recognize which email is intended for them and which is not, eventually rejecting email before the user has read it.

Yahoo said it also plans to help to users who have lost their Yahoo account due to inactivity. These steps include outreach to users by phone and email and extending the grace period for inactive accounts.

[ Some Yahoo users got more than they bargained for. Read more: Yahoo Recycled Emails: Users Find Security Surprises. ]

In a statement to InformationWeek, a Yahoo spokesperson said that users of inactive accounts will be notified one month in advance via their Yahoo Mail account, alternate email address and SMS if their account is subject to being recycled. If they don't activate their account within the next 30 days by logging into any Yahoo property, the email account will be scrubbed and everything deleted.

"We will then bounce emails to it and after a period of time open it up for anyone to register for," the spokesperson said. "At that time, the earlier account owner could try to register for it -- but their content wouldn't be in there. Alternatively, if someone else registers the account, the earlier account owner could go to watchlist.yahoo.com and pay $1.99 to get put on the watchlist for that name and 4 others."

According to Dylan Casey, Yahoo's senior director of platforms, the company monitored systems for claims about mistaken deliveries and were able to identify the problem with some of the accounts. The email bounce method, he said, was insufficient for senders to see that the email was no longer valid. Casey maintained that the email problem has affected only a small number of Yahoo users.

Casey also said that Yahoo is continuing to look into its Require-Recipient-Valid-Since protocol, a header that senders add to emails to check the age of the account before delivering a message. The company said it is reaching out to businesses such as Amazon, eBay, PayPal and Walmart to target emails to current users instead of the former account holders.

Yahoo's initiative to free up dormant accounts began in mid-June when the company first announced its plan. Yahoo said it would alert users who had been inactive for at least 12 months and instruct them to login to their accounts if they wanted to keep them. Accounts that remained dormant would be recycled and up for grabs.

In July, Yahoo opened up a wish list where users could name their top five choices for a username. In August, Yahoo contacted them if one of their IDs was available and sent them instructions to claim it within 48 hours. Almost immediately, privacy advocates and security analysts criticized Yahoo's initiative.

A Yahoo user cited in InformationWeek's story reported that the emails he received would allow him to log into the former accountholder's Pandora and Facebook accounts. He also knew the user's name, address, phone number, the last four digits of the user's social security number and where the user's child goes to school.

The other Yahoo users reported similar experiences: They received email receipts from Nordstrom, timecards that detailed mileage reimbursements, airline confirmations and an apartment application confirmation.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
GinaH714
50%
50%
GinaH714,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/1/2016 | 12:15:43 AM
re: Yahoo Responds To Recycled Email Security Problem
Yahoo should have notified all users before they deleted accounts and give them an option to keep them .however not all deleted accounts were inactive for a long time.Also,Some accounts will not let you sign in even with the correct password unless a phone verification code is used without an email  warning for a chance to  update info .There is no option to verify old phone numbers to add new one.so people are locked out,even though they have an open active account and correct password
Kawit Ajang
50%
50%
Kawit Ajang,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/26/2013 | 8:06:32 AM
re: Yahoo Responds To Recycled Email Security Problem
why
AustinIT
50%
50%
AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/25/2013 | 6:10:57 PM
re: Yahoo Responds To Recycled Email Security Problem
"Not My Email"... LOL
They follow up one disaster with another. It's NEVER a good idea to recycle any account without first deleting any data associated with the previous account holder. Yahoo should have handled this correctly instead of making one gaffe beget another.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19589
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
The Lever PDF Embedder plugin 4.4 for WordPress does not block the distribution of polyglot PDF documents that are valid JAR archives.
CVE-2019-19597
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
D-Link DAP-1860 devices before v1.04b03 Beta allow arbitrary remote code execution as root without authentication via shell metacharacters within an HNAP_AUTH HTTP header.
CVE-2019-19598
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
D-Link DAP-1860 devices before v1.04b03 Beta allow access to administrator functions without authentication via the HNAP_AUTH header timestamp value. In HTTP requests, part of the HNAP_AUTH header is the timestamp used to determine the time when the user sent the request. If this value is equal to t...
CVE-2019-19596
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
GitBook through 2.6.9 allows XSS via a local .md file.
CVE-2019-19590
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
In radare2 through 4.0, there is an integer overflow for the variable new_token_size in the function r_asm_massemble at libr/asm/asm.c. This integer overflow will result in a Use-After-Free for the buffer tokens, which can be filled with arbitrary malicious data after the free. This allows remote at...