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    • New note by bobjonkman 8 January 2019
      I do like Harold Lloyd better, but his ideas on #Copyright and protecting his films have landed him in obscurity compared to other artists who were more lenient (or lost their copyright due to interfering management)
    • New note by bobjonkman 7 January 2019
      Never mind what happens when you try to distill your own alcohol - it's even illegal to own the equipment to do it!
    • New note by bobjonkman 7 January 2019
      That's my point - try to buy alcohol somewhere else, and *armed guards* at the border will take it away and throw you in jail for bringing in more than what they figure will have a minimal impact on government revenue.
    • Favorite 7 January 2019
      bobjonkman favorited something by silverwizard: @bobjonkman I mean - have you tried to buy booze elsewhere though?Also - every single pub I've ever been in, anywhere, has been scary expensive
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by silverwizard 7 January 2019
      RT @silverwizard @bobjonkman I mean - have you tried to buy booze elsewhere though? Also - every single pub I've ever been in, anywhere, has been scary expensive
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      bobjonkman favorited something by mono: this is the most expensive meme i've made https://shitposter.club/attachment/2187262
    • New note by bobjonkman 7 January 2019
      That's because you live in #Ontario, where #alcohol sales are a government-controlled and -owned monopoly. Because alcohol sales are a revenue-generator for the government they set the price *way* above production costs. After all, how much could it possibly cost to let some potatoes ferment in a bucket?
    • Favorite 7 January 2019
      bobjonkman favorited something by natecull: Protip:When designing a user interface, imagine some old woman using it, say Margaret Hamilton, and she's clicking your app's buttons and saying to you, as old people do,"Young whippersnapper, when I was your age, I sent 24 people to the ACTUAL MOON with my software in 4K of RAM and […]
    • New note by bobjonkman 7 January 2019
      From that "security" advice: "Use a #Bluetooth keyboard for easier typing" https://hackaday.com/2018/12/30/finding-bugs-in-bluetooth/ Jiska and Dennis pwn all the Bluetooth things.
    • New note by bobjonkman 7 January 2019
      Since @Snowdusk is offline tonight, some of us are listening to @iiogama's archive from yesterday. https://archives.anonradio.net/201901051800_iiogama.mp3 Join us for a chat in COM!

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.

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