This Blog Is Not For Reading

A blog, just like any blog, only more so

  • Subscribe

  • Categories

  • RSS Bob Jonkman’s Microblog

    • New note by bobjonkman 19 January 2018
      Are there no data !privacy standards in India? Is there a government privacy commissioner?
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by arunisaac 19 January 2018
      RT @arunisaac IISc is asking students' for Aadhaar again. This time, it is for NAD (National Academic Depository) registration. Guess what, they have shared a public spreadsheet with 4000 students' details (name, dept, gender, caste/category, etc.), with a blank column for Aadhaar. They expect people to enter their Aadhaar IDs in this public spreadsheet! Such […]
    • Favorite 19 January 2018
      bobjonkman favorited something by chr: - javascript is also increasingly being abused by companies that recognize its universality to deliver javascript programs that enable tracking and abuse of my computing environment - this behavior is being enabled by websites that should be able to work without javascript nonetheless requiring js and failing silently without italso […]
    • New note by bobjonkman 18 January 2018
      I've been a SysAdmin for about 30 years, I've installed OSes from the days when you had to format a hard drive with debug G=C800:5, I've installed, destroyed, repaired and recovered Netware, Windows and Linux systems. But flashing a phone or tablet scares the willies out of me.
    • Favorite 18 January 2018
      bobjonkman favorited something by art: I'm experimenting with #Searx as my main search engine. I love #duckduckgo but I think I need something more decentralized.
    • Favorite 18 January 2018
      bobjonkman favorited something by art: Linkedin is dumb.
    • New note by bobjonkman 18 January 2018
      Hi @EineBiene: The groups I created are all at http://sn.jonkman.ca/groups/ There are currently no plans to move them; my https://gs.jonkman.ca/ instance is too flakey right now -- I can't subscribe to my own groups, for example. Unfortunately, I believe there are also other !GNUsocial users who cannot subscribe to groups on sn.jonkman.ca, so something does […]
    • New note by bobjonkman 18 January 2018
      Hi @EineBiene: The groups I created are all at http://sn.jonkman.ca/groups/ There are currently no plans to move them; my https://gs.jonkman.ca/ instance is too flakey right now -- I can't subscribe to my own groups, for example. Unfortunately, I believe there are also other !GNUsocial users who cannot subscribe to groups on sn.jonkman.ca, so something does […]
    • New note by bobjonkman 18 January 2018
      Lovely eggs, abominable website. #ProTip: Don't use horizontal scrolling.
    • Favorite 18 January 2018
      bobjonkman favorited something by pabo: @bobjonkman Couldn't agree more with @lnxw48a1 . All this site has to do is share my resume and any other data I provided that might interest potential employers.Instead, it's hiding increasingly more info behind an authentication wall.[1]And while that sounds bad and weird, but does have some merit (deny anonymous […]

Archive for November, 2010

What to do about compromised Hotmail passwords

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 18th November 2010

autoroute à emails

autoroute à emails by Biscarotte

I administer a number of e-mail systems, and I’ve been seeing a lot of spam coming from Hotmail accounts recently. And both friends and clients have been telling me that it’s not them who are sending spam from Hotmail (and ending up in my e-mail systems), their accounts have been hacked. One person asked me:

Is it just Hotmail? What else could I use? Can’t I just change my password?

Changing passwords is only an effective solution if the account was compromised by social engineering, eg. the legitimate user giving out the password in a phishing attempt or other direct means, or if a simple password was guessed or cracked.

There is evidence that Hotmail and Yahoo’s password recovery mechanism is flawed (eg. the Sarah Palin breach), so that malusers can acquire a new password for an account. I don’t think this is happening, because victims are not reporting being locked out of their accounts. Of course, if the service merely sends out the current password then this may be what is happening, and no amount of password complexity will protect the account.

If the passwords were compromised by an automated password cracker then I would expect only simple passwords to be breached, and accounts with strong passwords would be safe. I do not know what kind of passwords were in use by the people who have compromised accounts, but it is likely they were simple passwords.

While I have no evidence, I think the current rash of breaches is due to a more systematic attack by URL munging, or fuzzing the inputs on a POST request, or some other attack vector. These attacks do not require an authenticated login, and in that case no amount of password complexity will provide security either.

I haven’t heard of similar compromised accounts in Gmail, so that may be a suitable alternative for now. I’ve been recommending that people use the mail accounts provided by their ISPs, largely so that they can make use of the ISP’s technical support if their accounts do get compromised. And, of course, if they’re paying their ISP for a mail account then there may be immunity from liability (“My mail account was compromised and I was paying my ISP for security, so all this spam is their fault”).

–Bob.

Update 5 Feb 2012: I retract the first sentence in the last paragraph. E-mail Administrator friends have been telling me that Google Mail is just as vulnerable as Hotmail and Yahoo. Having just read “Hacked!” in The Atlantic I’m convinced the problem of compromised mail accounts is worse than I thought, and that no online providers (especially the “free” ones) adequately protect the e-mail of their users.

autoroute à emails by Biscarotte is used under a Creative Commons by-sa-v2.0 license.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in email, Internet, spam | 1 Comment »

 
Better Tag Cloud