Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I Have Seen the Enemy, Yahoo, Google GMail, Etc.

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Bad Service from Yahoo Small Business Web Hosting and Email, details below.

In short, these people want to learn and retain as much as possible about each and every one of us, in order to make a buck. Let's do the best we can to ELIMiNATE Yahoo and GMail and Google as "must have's."

They do not give a darn about what uses such information can do in the wrong hands, like say those of a paranoid government, or shady dealers working identify theft.

Of late I've been scolded by both services for using Zone Alarm and having the nerve to delete "their" cookies from my machine. Or for not using IE6, a very easily manipulated part of the Windows OS, especially in the older versions, as MS has given up blocking the hacks.

Cookies were originally invented to help in one session situations (when you close Mozilla, or IE6, or Opera, it's over, and all is forgotten), but have been quickly modified and adopted as market tracking tags. Retaining cookies from session to session serves no other purpose. They can log your IP and compare it to previous log-ins to see if it is likely that it is you. They have the password as a primary ID security device.

How the heck to they handle you when your at a library or using a friend's machine, if they're so desperate for cookies ? They know via IP addy you're at your home machine when they demand them. They know you're elsewhere when that changes, and they don't demand such crap, because they know they can't get it.

At this point I had to request a new security code from Yahoo. Not my login password mind you, but yet another deeper code. I was trying to set up an email account in a simple domain for which I am committed to pay them 11.95/month till this coming October. I can't do it without the key. I sent for a refresher. I got a new, "one time use key" It didn't work. I tried online help. It went in a merry-go-round of "identifying the problem" and then coming back to square one with no answers. I called up billing (no tech support phone or email!) to let them know I was close to cancelling. They informed me I had to leave their cookies alone, and take down the firewall.

They apparent do not care that I will leave Yahoo altogether at the end of October, never to return. Yahoo Web Hosting SUCKS ! I may have to leave even sooner, if I can't even manage the account, having to spend $100 for services I'll never receive.

If Yahoo and the others, GMail, Google especially, don't realize that we as consumers have needs for privacy rights, and don't want out personal information winding up in questionable places, AND STOP COLLECTING IT, then we have no choice other than to use GoDaddy.com, and findnot.com, and wierd browsers and email programs other than the standards.

You can use Word 97 and up to create very nice web pages, and simple FTP programs to post them on-line. You don't need GeoCities.

My machine was clearly being used by outsiders until I got Zone Alarm, and God knows how much of our personal info was harvested, and may now be just waiting for someone to attempt to get into our bank accounts and credit cards. Check with www.grc.com, I think that is the addy for Steve Gibson Research, whom I have trusted since the early 80's, for more information.

Here's an easy way to tell if your machine is "Zombied." Right click on the double monitor icon in the lower left corner. Choose "monitor." Do nothing with your machine and see if there are outgoing bytes. It is normal for about 1/9 of the amount of incoming numbers to show up in out-going. That is part of error checking. If the numbers are higher, your machine is sending. If you do nothing at your machine and the outgoing numbers are increasing, your machine is sending stuff without your permission. It's possible it's just check for new email. But it doesn't take .5 meg to check. You have a zombie machine if the numbers are out of these ranges.

The stuff being sent could be every Word and Excel and Quicken file you've got. At least password protect them. Advanced options under "save as." It could be SPAM to a targetted machine for a Denial of Service attack, or to many machines in an ad program. Don't be part of the problem, get a firewall now!

Coming soon, hardware firewalls for everybody.

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