When Will Email Providers Quit Blaming Their Users For Security Breaches?

February 23, 2014 –

If you have an email account managed by Yahoo!, (eg. Bellsouth, AT&T, Prodigy, etc.) or AOL, then I bet the majority of you have had to change your password at least once in the last 3 years.  The problem starts when you start getting calls or reply emails from the people in your address book describing strange emails they are receiving from you.

The emails in question either have a virus attached, links to infected websites or spam.  Sometimes they are emails begging your friends for money because “you” are stranded somewhere and have had your wallet stolen.  Whatever the case may be, you now have an email account that has been breached.  I get several calls a month by customers who say, “I have a virus on my computer that is sending email…”  Actually, they are wrong, probably 98% of the time.

In almost all cases, their passwords have been compromised – not by a virus – but by a hacker.  And the hackers haven’t accessed the user’s computer; they have hacked their email provider’s servers directly.  The solution is to simply change your password, but the root issue remains.  The email provider has one or more vulnerabilities and thousands of their customer’s accounts are getting hijacked – all at once.

The biggest problem is the email providers lie to their customers and blame things like weak passwords as the culprit.  Sure a hacker can brute force or guess a weak password, but why would they bother when they can hack authentication servers and get thousands of email accounts all at one time?  Both Yahoo! and AOL have had this problem for years now, with no resolution.  It doesn’t matter if your password is “password” or “Sup3rc@l1fr@G1l1st1c3Xp1@l1D0c10us”, if the hackers get into the server and steal your information, the account will be compromised.

I’m writing this today because I have seen another wave of attacks, specifically with AOL.  I have received multiple emails from different AOL accounts, all hacked within the same 24 hour period.  I’m also seeing a rise in “mom and pop” web and email hosting being targeted by sophisticated overseas hackers.  Yahoo! recently admitted to a breach.  I laughed as they acted like it was the first time.  Of course, they still didn’t take responsibility for the problem, blaming it on a 3rd party vendor.

I wonder how much longer these companies will continue to make up lame excuses to their customers before the truth is finally publicized.  If you have had your email account hijacked, I encourage you to share your story.

Will My Healthcare Costs Shrink?

For the record, my monthly healthcare premium is $562.55 as of March 22, 2010.  I’ll be returning next year to report what savings I have garnered.  I will be fair and take into account any tax credits that offset my premiums.  I will also add back any tax increases used to fund healthcare related programs.

I already know the outcome, but I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.

Government mandated healthcare is one Christmas present I’d like to return

Now that Democrats have rammed healthcare legislation down our collective throat on Christmas Eve,  we’re assured that we will all come around once we realize the healthcare improvements in 2014.  This is supposedly the most complex issue ever tackled by Capital Hill, yet the arguments defy even the most elementary reasoning.

Millions of new applicants will now be covered, regardless of pre-existing condition or medical history.   Somehow, healthcare will suddenly be “affordable” for these previously uninsured individuals and for those of us currently paying premiums.  Gee, how easy this all was.  Why couldn’t we have just waved this political magic wand 20 years ago?

Perhaps the voting public wasn’t stupid enough  yet 20 years ago.  Most likely this is the first time in history that enough socialists were simultaneously in office to affect this kind of policy and intrusion into our lives.  Some very basic examination illuminates the fallacy of this healthcare legislation.

You don’t need a CBO report or another “impartial” examiner of the numbers to know they can’t work.  Some truths are as constant as gravity.  For one thing, you can’t force an insurance company to cover high risk insureds and think premiums are going anywhere but up, up and away!  Overall costs are also misstated by deferring most benefits.  If this new plan could actually pay for itself, do you think we would collect revenue 4 years prior to most of it’s implementation?

This “healthcost” plan was sold to a gullible public as a “something for nothing” pipe dream.  Hopefully this BLOG will still exist in years to come  as I make the following predictions:

  1. Costs will go up at an equally or faster rate than before the bill is signed into law.
  2. Care will be rationed as incentive for current and future doctors is squashed by Federal regulation and income caps.
  3. Within the next decade virtually all of us will be on a public “option” insurance plan as private insurance will become so expensive that  only the very rich and your favorite Congressman will be able to afford it.

Our Happy Hound

We are funny about our pets.   Take for instance my “Happy Hound” Collie Rose.  She was neither a hound or a Collie.  She was a Chow, but our 2 year old named her Collie Rose because it sounded pretty.  I called her Happy Hound because she looked like she was smiling at me.

Collie was trailer trash.  She was born in a trailer park to a stray.  As a single parent, Collie’s mother taught her the wiles of avoiding the dog catcher while snacking from trash bins and sympathizing residents.  Those who didn’t appreciate her scavenging would “sweep” her away with a broom. 

Collie was rescued and given to us at probably less than a year old.  For the first three days, she would only interact with our daughter.  It was touch and go for a while as her tendency towards biting was in direct opposition to my desire not to be bitten.  We soon found out that Collie harbored great animosity towards brooms. 

Any wooden broom would be chewed to shreds.  We remedied this by purchasing a metal handled broom – or so we thought.  Collie found that bending a metal handle back and forth between two trees would stress crack it in half; a few extra teeth dents would ensure it wouldn’t be beating any dog soon.

Through the years, we could count on Collie for two things:  She was an excellent protector, and any wild animals within a quarter mile had short futures.  Ground hogs, opossums, raccoons, skunks, and snakes didn’t stand a chance.  Oh, some of them put up valiant attempts, but when it came to homeland security, Collie let God sort ’em out.

Collie spent her last four years as a city dog.  Whether the change prolonged her life or shortened it, it’s hard to say.  She seemed to adapt well and took advantage of more leisurely days.  She gradually slowed down, but in the end, she slipped away quickly and peacefully.  Collie Rose, from trailer park stray to pet extraordinaire, died at the ripe old age of 16.  She was buried above Reading Rock, her favorite area.

The Emperor Has No Clothes – Twitter is bogus

I think I was the first person I know that signed up for a Twitter account after hearing about it on This Week with George Stephanopoulos several months ago.  Hey, I’m a cutting edge computer dude, so I have to keep up with the latest buzz.  It was really cool “following” Weird Al Yankovic, but then it started to hit me…what now?

At first, I thought maybe I just don’t understand Twitter or I just need to play around with it to learn all the cool things it can do.  After all, every actor, hipster and wannabe can now be found on Twitter, and anyone who’s anyone on TV says they Tweet.  Not wanting to feel inferior, I’d login occasionally and type a sentence.  But soon, I began to resent Twitter.  I mean, who wants a Tweet that’s two weeks old? But I felt completely unfulfilled.  What was I missing?

And then it hit me!  I wasn’t missing anything.  Twitter sucks!  There, I said it.  Twitter sucks and this has all just been a big media hype.  Everyone can run around and feel like they are part of some new great thing, but when I finally admitted to myself that Twitter is a complete farce, I suddenly felt whole again.  And so I say to all the hipster wannabes out there:  The Emperor Has No Clothes!

I Think I Have the Swine Flu

If Swine Flu means you are sick of Janet Napolitano, then I’ve got a raging case of it.  But seriously – aside from the occasional urge to start oinking, I’ve never felt better.

Pork farmers are not too happy with the latest craze that has everyone asking “Should I quit eating pork products”? I’m considering converting to Judaism, Islam or Vegetarianism (or perhaps all three)  just to be safe.

The numbers don’t lie.  We’ve now had a possible 159 deaths worldwide.  This is cause for great panic since this is nearly 1/2 of 1 percent of those that normally die of the flu every year;  and I’m quite sure that no government agencies have exaggerated these numbers.  Of course, every death from now on will be Swine Flu related.

Considering that the infamous Bird Flu epidemic wiped out nearly .00000001 percent of the global population a few years ago, I just don’t know how civilization will go on.

I’m told that flu inoculations are on the way.  Side effects of the shots may include dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, loss of consciousness and an aversion towards bacon.  Get to your county health department before you don hooves.

Obama’s Address to Joint Session of Congress

Below is the transcript of President Obama’s Address to Congress.  I omitted anything that was a lie, only leaving the truthful parts:

“Madame Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and the First Lady of the United States:

I’ve come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men and women in this great chamber, but to speak…

Thank you…you, and may…the United States of America.”

And that concludes the transcript of Obama’s Address to Joint Session of Congress.  Compliments of Truth in Government.