Monday, 26 February 2007

Beware "free" email accounts

Last week, my partner had her Yahoo email account hacked. We spent the entire weekend on the phone with ebay and ebuyer trying to sort things out.

That is someone got the password and/or security question right and consequently went in and changed the password and security questions. She is now locked out of Yahoo email and cannot get into asses the damage.

On the surface this would seem trivial - "its just an email account ... not a bank account"...
However the offender now has access to all my passwords and username for every site that she has ever registered, or purchased from. Including some which retain payment details for credit cards or similar.

After faxing a passport copy to ebay and about 3 hours phone calls and emails. Ebay have finally advised that someone has been bidding using her account and payment details, on several products. They wont say which products or even disclose an IP address to us.
All of this is extremely painful and annoying. We are unsure of how much fraud may have been attempted beyond ebay and ebuyer. What other sites do they have access to now?

My point is that this is happening and Yahoo have not bothered to send us a sensible reply within 72 hours. We keep getting the same hopeless people at Yahoo sending non-sensical standard replies and meanwhile her online identity has been hijacked. As yet its impossible to determine how or why or even who.

I have no idea if this was a brute force attack or someone who had access to our private documents that you might find if you went through our rubbish bins.

The overriding point is that free email providers have a reasonable obligation (irrespecitve of what it says on their legal mumbo jumbo) to assist and respond in a manner that is fair to its users.

I have been reading more and more and this is not uncommon amongst other Yahoo email users.

You have been warned.

I would invite someone at Yahoo to get in contact me with outside this forum to assist with this issue. If this happens I will be updating this issue.

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