The slow fall of a giant
Yahoo! the online media platform we’ve all used at some point or another, started as one of the most innovative and popular search engines back in 1994 but has now become the media platform users want to forget. From aged marketing tactics to the largest security breach of it’s kind, the once booming independent entity is grappling with it’s downfall.
Sometime around the tail end of 2014, about one billion people were affected by a security breach, but were not made aware of the breach until late 2016.
Compromised information included names, email addresses, telephone number, dates of birth, passwords, and encrypted security questions and answers.
According to Yahoo, the data was stolen by a government paid individual, and did not pose a direct threat to identity and financial information.
Recent reports accuse Yahoo of opening its users’ emails to government surveillance.
According to those reports a special tool was designed to help US intelligence and law enforcement agencies snoop on email conversations.
Former employees cited the government made this request through the legal team, and CEO Marissa Mayer was aware of both the request and company compliance. A spokesperson from Yahoo refuted the accusations saying, “The article is misleading. We narrowly interpret every government request for user data to minimize disclosure. The mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems.”
Amidst their hiccups, Yahoo has assured users that the hack is over and hopes to regain popularity through a (possible) partnership with Verizon. Users are still leery, however, and one in particular expressed her feelings in an interview with the Associated Press. Merissa Silk, a mobile product manager, said “Being an American, I think there’s a certain amount of expectation that some surveillance goes behind the scenes all the time… But providing the U.S. government unrestricted access — that really, really violates our privacy.”
And the latest – steeeee-rike three!
Silk, and others like her, have reached their ceiling with Yahoo and have begun planning their exit. In switching email providers though, users will find what may be their final straw with Yahoo: email forwarding to new email addresses has been disabled, and has been since the beginning of October according to users. Yahoo’s help page says, “While we work to improve it, we’ve temporarily disabled the ability to turn on Mail Forwarding for new forwarding addresses.”
Email forwarding is a pretty simple concept: it allows people to forward any mail coming to their Yahoo account to a separate account of their choice so there aren’t any lost messages. Brian McIntosh, the owner of a small technology business first alerted The Associated Press of the disabled feature, saying email forwarding has been “a basic concept for 15 years for just about every email provider out there.. all of a sudden it’s under development… and only at Yahoo”. Which is why, “improvements” to such a simple feature seems, although possible, highly unlikely.
You’re outta here?
The disconcerting part though, from a customer service angle, is the timing of such “improvements.”
Two weeks after 500,000,000 people experience a security breach, and want to understandably leave Yahoo for a safer option, Yahoo makes it hard for them to leave without losing their most personal information.
What to do in the meantime…
If you are a Yahoo user seemingly stuck with your email platform, you do have another option until said “improvements” are done.
Merissa Silk has bypassed email forwarding, instead leaving an out-of-office message on her Yahoo account which provides her new address and reads: “Following recent data and privacy breaches, I will be discontinuing use of Yahoo Mail.”