Bill Hartzer

AOL Security Breach: Emails Accounts Compromised

AOL is reporting a serious security breach with their email service, which I believe is a wake-up call for a lot of us. This latest email security breach involved people trying to make email appear that they’re from people you recognize: to get you to click on a link. This has happened countless times with other services, including Yahoo! email accounts.

According to a Fox Business report, AOL is aware of the situation and they’re working on it:

“The ongoing investigation of this serious criminal activity is our top priority,” AOL said. “Our security team has put enhanced protective measures in place and we urge our users to take proactive steps to help ensure the security of their accounts.”

In the AOL blog post, they acknowledged that about 2 percent of email accounts were involved:

“AOL’s investigation is still underway, however, we have determined that there was unauthorized access to information regarding a significant number of user accounts. This information included AOL users’ email addresses, postal addresses, address book contact information, encrypted passwords and encrypted answers to security questions that we ask when a user resets his or her password, as well as certain employee information. We believe that spammers have used this contact information to send spoofed emails that appeared to come from roughly 2% of our email accounts.”

If you’re using an email address that is provided by a service, it might be a good time to get your own domain name (the name itself can be as cheap as about $10 per year), and hosting for it would run you $5 a month or higher, depending on the hosting service you use.

Several years (over 10 years ago) I registered my own domain name (billhartzer.com) and started using the email myname @ my domain name.com. This is so much easier and more secure, in my opinion. While people could get into the account, I can always go into my own domain name and change the password, and I am not relying on a third party service to give me access to the account (or not). I have had a Yahoo! email account compromised in the past, and it was more of a pain to get into that account just to change the password than anything else

With my own email account on my own domain name, my email isn’t sitting on a server somewhere, I download it onto my laptop each time I check it and then it’s archived and backed up in a few places. If someone got into your Yahoo! or AOL email account, they’d be able to read all your sent/received emails, and even the emails you’ve saved for “safe keeping”.

I could go on and on and on about why you should go buy your own domain name and use your own email account at your domain name dot com, but so far I’ve named a few.

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