Email Provider: Not as Secure as You’d Think

an interesting situation with an email provider and the issues they are facing with the hijacking of customer mailboxes:

“I am sorry to hear that you were experiencing issues with email latency. We are working on making changes to resolve the issues with latency. In the meantime you may see peaks of latency. We are monitoring the servers and will clear blocked queues as they arise. These traffic jams are caused by hackers hijacking our customers mailboxes that have weak passwords. We have setup automatic suspensions to stop these mailboxes faster. We are recommending to all of our customers to make passwords as secure as possible to help prevent this issue.”

With the negative effects on their customers you have to wonder if they are supporting encrypted communications to their POP3 and SMTP servers. It seems with this provider they were still using clear-text ports 110 and 25 respectively. What they think is protecting their servers are strong passwords…but what good is a “strong password” if it’s being sent to their mail servers in the clear? When checking their password complexity rules:

“Passwords ┬ámust be 8-14 characters, with at least one letter, plus one number or special character [!@#$%^&*]”

It is amazing to think that a password such as “Password1″ would be enough to be considered strong. With email being a very weak link in many organizations it is alarming to see that this is considered secure. Many providers are operating with a false sense of security which is not disclosed to their customers. What is your email provider using?


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