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Yahoo Disables Automatic Email Forwarding Feature, Making It Difficult For Users To Leave (reuters.com) 205

After it was revealed that Yahoo secretly scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence agencies, now's as good of time as any to leave Yahoo Mail. However, the company has made it more difficult to leave by disabling the automatic email forwarding feature. Reuters reports: While those who have set up forwarding in the past are unaffected, users who would want to leave following recent hacking and surveillance revelations are struggling to shift to rival services, the AP reported on Monday. The company has been under scrutiny from investors after disclosing last month that at least 500 million user accounts were stolen from its network in 2014. The AP said that several users were leaving or had already left the service because of the negative headlines. The company's website says that the "automatic email forwarding" feature is under development and has been temporarily disabled.
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Yahoo Disables Automatic Email Forwarding Feature, Making It Difficult For Users To Leave

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  • by ArtemaOne ( 1300025 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @09:30PM (#53052163)
    I have several emails attached to accounts that I do not use at all whatsoever. The only reason they still exist is because I have them forwarded. If I lost that feature I'd just kill them completely.
    • Unfortunately, that won't stop them from using the compromised account to impersonate you online for the purposes of phishing/social engineering attacks on anyone who had that your email in their address book, or anyone whose email was in yours.

      • That's also an easy fix. By leave, I really mean take that address off of all of my accounts. Let it sit, still with only me accessing it, but not doing so. Like my Yahoo email is currently. It's just full of spam every year or two I peek in.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          The easy solution is to create another account somewhere else and forward it to Yahoo. Start giving everyone your new address and access your email via Yahoo until everyone has made the switch. Then turn off forwarding and use only your new account. I know that seems mindlessly simple but apparently Yahoo thinks their customers can't figure it out.

          • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2016 @06:01AM (#53053787)
            The point of leaving Yahoo is to stop your email going to Yahoo (and by proxy the US government and any passing hacker that would like a look). If I had a Yahoo account, the last thing I'd choose to do is set up another email account elsewhere, and continue to forward it to Yahoo. I'd set up another email account, and immediately start switching to it ASAP. Starting with the important and sensitive stuff.

            The only reason to have the Yahoo account still active, and forwarding, is to catch the stragglers and any other email you don't really care about or have forgotten to switch.

            • I suspect this is all meant to catch the low hanging fruit - those people who aren't particularly techie or simply don't keep up with the news. Most technically astute users are already long gone or this will prompt the move. The simplest thing is to stop using it - pick a good alternative and start sending out those change of address emails. I still have my ISP account which I have forwarded to my primary, it's mostly a spam account but it's mildly convenient. If they pulled a stunt like this I'd dump it i

          • by hodet ( 620484 )

            I see no advantage at all to doing this. Why is it so important for you to access your mail through yahoo's servers.

    • some of us are stuck with it because our phone company (AT&T) subcontracted the email to yahoo

      • You mean there's still anyone who uses an ISP's email? What if you want to dump the scumbags or move to another city or country?

        • My sister still uses her AOL email address... LOL!
        • when billing, customer notifications and support come through said email, yes

      • So they block your access to other emails, Fastmail, Google, etc? Me, I'm sure I have a Comcast account floating around. Have I checked it since I moved in to that house? No.
        • I have created about 2 dozen semi-permanent personal e-mail addresses in my life. Half of them I still use (and only because I have them forwarded to one of two main hub accounts).

          That means there are at least a dozen old e-mail addresses of mine that may or may not work or be receiving non-spam e-mail. (they're obviously receiving spam).

        • No, but the phone account uses that email: billing, support including phone line maintenance requests, notifications, login issues

      • My internet company (Comcast) gives me a free email account, and guess what... I don't even know how to log into it! Same was true for my old Verizon service.
        • this email account is primary customer contact: billing, support,including maintenance requests for phone line, etc.

      • by hodet ( 620484 )

        Some of you need to start looking into your own domain names. Then you can move it whenever and to wherever you want. My ISP has nothing to do with my email.

        • I have my own domains and servers. But this is separate issue where the AT&T/yahoo email is tied to the phone account for various things

    • They broke forwarding a long time ago already. Shortly after I finally managed to convince the missus to leave for greener pastures. Just in time.
  • the kiss of death (Score:5, Interesting)

    by speedlaw ( 878924 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @09:31PM (#53052169) Homepage
    I still suffer from a verizon email address from three ISP's ago. I now host my own....email is too important to trust gmail OR Yahoo OR anyone else.
    • Re:the kiss of death (Score:4, Informative)

      by Gussington ( 4512999 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @09:51PM (#53052261)

      I still suffer from a verizon email address from three ISP's ago. I now host my own....email is too important to trust gmail OR Yahoo OR anyone else.

      You host your own as in you have a physical machine in your house, or you have something like an AWS SES?
      Most ISPs here block tcp25 because home machines are too easily compromised for spam bots. This means running 'your own' email server still relies on some other service that can equally disconnect you at an arbitrary point in time.

      • by nyet ( 19118 )

        Why would you use either a home machine or AWS? There are million different hosting services.. I use linode.

        AWS is so insanely overrated. I really dont' get the point.

        • Why would you use either a home machine or AWS? There are million different hosting services.. I use linode.

          AWS is so insanely overrated. I really dont' get the point.

          The point was that the GP said he doesn't use hosted email, and I'm wondering how he did that once the only option one way or another is some level of hosting (as your response confirms).
          If your problem is with hosting services, then hosting services is not the answer.

          • Using a straight hosting service like Linode involves owning your own domain name, controlling the DNS and having your own SMTP and IMAP server running. That's all stuff that isn't specific to Linode, the same setup'll work on any service that offers virtual machine hosting. If Linode disconnects you you can drop your setup onto a host on Rackspace or any other service, update your DNS records to point to the new host's addresses and you're back in business. That's much easier than if you've no control over

            • If Linode disconnects you you can drop your setup onto a host on Rackspace or any other service, update your DNS records to point to the new host's addresses and you're back in business. That's much easier than if you've no control over the domain, the DNS or the server software.

              I'd argue that setting up and maintaining your own server to the same level of service as a Hotmail or Gmail would require more effort overall.
              And yes I've been an email admin, and I've had a Hotmail account for 20 years. In that time, Hotmail required much less effort overall.
              This is why cloud services are so popular. Not everyone wants to fuck around maintaining their own stuff.

              • I'd argue that setting up and maintaining your own server to the same level of service as a Hotmail or Gmail would require more effort overall.

                Of course it does. It can be a royal PITA keeping the spam filtering up to date, ensuring the backups have run properly, addressing potential security issues, and all of the other various and sundry system admin tasks that need to be done on a regular basis. I've been doing just that for more than a decade, and it's sometimes a lot of work. But generally someth
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The key to hosting your own email is having control over your own domain name. It is then trivial to redirect DNS mail records to any provider at any time.

        Having user@youhoo.com puts you at Yahoo's mercy. user@mypersonaldomin.com allows you to choose and switch providers at any time with very little if any disruption.

      • Re:the kiss of death (Score:5, Interesting)

        by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2016 @12:29AM (#53052903)

        "You host your own as in you have a physical machine in your house"

        I host it at home.

        "Most ISPs here block tcp25"

        That means a minority doesn't.

        Vote with your wallet.

        • Vote with your wallet.

          I do. I have free email that requires no effort from me.

          • Vote with your wallet.

            I do. I have free email that requires no effort from me.

            Probably doesn't require much effort from anybody else, either.

            • Probably doesn't require much effort from anybody else, either.

              Probably, but why should I care. It works and has been working for the last 20 years. How does your home brew server compare for uptime over the same period?

              • So if you don't care, why the defensiveness and the attempt to distract with a completely unrelated issue? Have a nice day.

                • So if you don't care, why the defensiveness and the attempt to distract with a completely unrelated issue? Have a nice day.

                  It's completely related. The GP implied that cloud services have issues therefore he does his own. Completely ignoring the fact that doing your own presents issues also.
                  And so if you collect all the issues from both models, most of the time a cloud solution is less effort and less issues.

      • by jrumney ( 197329 )
        Most ISPs I've encountered block outgoing port 25, not incoming. So you need to use a smarthost for your outgoing mail, either your ISP on port 25, or any number of authenticated public servers on port 465 or 587.
    • by corychristison ( 951993 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @09:51PM (#53052263)

      This is really the only way forward.

      It's kind of funny how it's coming full circle.
      Way back in the day it was common to host your own email service. Then the ISPs started to push their own services included "for free" with internet service.
      Then the common "free" providers cropped up (hotmail, yahoo, then eventually gmail) as a way to not get locked in to your ISP provided email. Now people are having a hard time getting away from the free services that they once loved because people are now realizing you cannot trust anyone and are going back to hosting their own email.

      This has largely been made possible with the commoditization of "virtual private servers" and easy/free tutorials and solutions to setting up and maintaining those services.

      Personally, I've been paying for email service from a fairly reputable provider, but I am now transitioning into running my own servers to manage it. Partly cost reasons (I maintain email services for clients, over 30 domains) and partly the provider I was using was bought out by another company I don't really trust.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by oddware ( 1607691 )
        What was old is new again.

        I have setup a private server for email, file/calendar syncing for friends that have cracked their phones and not put play store back on.
        Works a treat, easy to maintain. and i have duplicated most of the services Google would offer using open source software, never has the barrier been lower to running your own private server.
        • What are you using for Contact Sync?

          I've been using OwnCloud personally for both Contacts (no need for Calendars) and File Sync across my devices. Works well. OwnCloud server /could/ be more efficient, but it works for my needs and recent versions support proper file encryption.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Most people don't even realize that it's possible to own your own domain or run an email server. Seems like a gap in the market maybe, offer a service that lets you register a domain and forward email through it to your ISP or Gmail account or whatever. Forward web access to your LinkedIn page. The main issue I suppose would be the lack of available domain names that people actually want (all common names are taken).

    • I've consolidated on Fastmail with my own domain. Everything is backed up via IMAP so I can move whenever I need to. I'd much rather let someone else take the time to deal with server administration and keep a backup as a "just in case".

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      For generic email, who cares all that much but you still must punish the naughtiest providers so, http://email.about.com/od/free... [about.com], I decide to go with Yandex, with all the, oh, ahh, Russian hacking coming out if the US/UK government (so lame) I decided to save the Russians the trouble and at the same time tweak the sensibilities of various five eyes alphabet agencies (other advantage different language gives you opportunity to use already taken English speaking mail serves user names giving you the chanc

    • by medoc ( 90780 )

      Full email hosting is a bit technically challenging.

      What everybody can do, which provides almost the same advantages, is purchase a domain name at a registrar which will include email forwarding with it (I use gandi.net, but I guess that many others do). The typical price is around 15$ per year.

      You get email addresses which are forever yours, and use whatever hosting service is currently convenient (e.g.: your current ISP) for performing the actual work.

      • I hope you don't actually mean email forwarding. What you want is your nameserver mx records pointing to the mail server of your choice.
        • by medoc ( 90780 )

          Nope, I am listing a solution for people who know nothing about the DNS.

          This is a sincere question: what is the problem with forwarding ?

  • Wait. What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @09:40PM (#53052205)

    So, there's this:

    While those who have set up forwarding in the past are unaffected, ...

    and, also this:

    The company's website says that the "automatic email forwarding" feature is under development and has been temporarily disabled.

    So... forwarding already enabled is unaffected but otherwise it's disabled - 'cause it's under "development" -- even though it's actually, already working?

    • aren't marketing snakes amazing in their "spin"; maybe they're spinning hoopsnakes

    • We need to replace the Yahoo icon with an image of a hostage-taker, as that's sadly where this is headed. "You want your data? First you got to show us the money!"

    • by henni16 ( 586412 )

      Could be that they're developing a new editing function or a new interface:
      the stored settings are being applied, but there's currently no way to edit those settings - or at least no way to add new forwards.

      • And of course they had to throw out the thing was already working so they could develop the new one on their production site. That's a really clever way to cut costs, no?

      • Could be that they're developing a new editing function or a new interface:

        On a production server? I thought Yahoo is staffed entirely by outsourced H1Bs, even they are smart enough not to do that.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's just the tick box that is broken, because... er... So many people were click it that it wore out and they had to order a new one. Yeah, that's it. Victim of it's own popularity. Just as soon as it's fixed people can get back to leaving Yahoo in droves, promise.

  • by BringsApples ( 3418089 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @09:43PM (#53052225)
    First of all, this is totally a sh*thead thing to do. Email services are worked on ALL THE TIME, while up and running. There should never be a reason that forwarding, or any other aspect of email, should have to be disabled while it's worked on.

    As a work-around, you could probably setup an automated "vacation reply" of some kind, set it for as long of a time as possible, and just put an informative note that includes your new email address. Of course this wouldn't solve the issues where you're being sent email from some automated service that does meaningful things like, bill you for that thing that you forgot you're billed for every month, but it's something.
    • by MarcAuslander ( 517215 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @10:00PM (#53052297) Homepage

      Make a gmail account and tell it to pull the yahoo mail - then do whatever you like with it.

    • Just log in every few months for a couple years to make sure you haven't missed anything . It's never a good idea to rely on someone elses domain for email. Best $9 per year you can spend is on your own domain name.
      • Kristina searched slazy [slazy.com] and couldn't believe what she found...

        Fatal error: Uncaught exception 'PDOException' with message 'SQLSTATE[28000] [1045] Access denied for user 'root'@'localhost' (using password: YES)' in /home4/direct00/public_html/slazy.com/results.php:305 Stack trace: #0 /home4/direct00/public_html/slazy.com/results.php(305): PDO->__construct('mysql:host=loca...', 'root', 'quack22quack') #1 {main} thrown in /home4/direct00/public_html/slazy.com/results.php on line 305

        Looks like she found your DB web app user. And since you oh-so-cleverly used the MySQL

    • What I was going to say. Just setup an OOO auto-reply that says "I am no longer using yahoo as my email provider, as they have fucked me long enough. If you want to contact me via email, please use: gerry@fuckyahoo.com"
    • by Malc ( 1751 )

      It doesn't really surprise me. I've been happy to pay $20/year since the late 90's for Yahoo's premium service. I always thought it worth paying for, especially given how important email is to me and how small this amount of money is. They've been reliable through all these years. A few month's ago I got emails from them about changes in my service and trying to convince me to come back to their ad free service. To which I thought: WTF, I'm on already on this. Nope. Apparently there was a problem pro

      • Fastmail is great, unlimited aliases excellent interface, use your own domain. I've been using them for years. I'm paying $40 / year though their front page says $50 / year. Maybe new users pay more.
  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @09:50PM (#53052257)
    Here are some other cutting-edge email features currently under development at Yahoo:

    * WYSIWYG display of text
    * Mouse Support
    * Select multiple emails to delete
    * CC: feature (in beta)
  • maybe they're only planning to forward to other companies that are also scanning the email.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Stay on the US branded PRISM network or users might actually find real encryption with another brand?
  • They're facing a mass exodus and all of a sudden new autoforward is disabled?

    As the Church Lady would say.... How Con-VEEEEENient...

    • Of course this is all to get people to go to their site. The next thing they will do is disable the page for people who have ad blockers active. That way you will have to go to the site to see your mail and see the ads too. Wonder how close to broke they are.

  • Yahoo: the movie (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cloud.pt ( 3412475 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @10:16PM (#53052349)

    This company is looking more and more like the Titanic (film), in the ways the ship is being "sold" to the sea of Verizon, and wanting to take 'em all souls down below by not letting them use lifeboats properly. Even the music playing 'till the very end to keep passengers amused as if nothing happened. Let's face it: the only way a company can save any kind of face from such a disaster is much like what Samsung is doing with the note 7: offer refunds, launch amazing new product pronto (fingers crossed for that, we don't want to lose that Android player, even if a seriously bloated one at that, the alternative is a closed ecosystem with an Apple and a price to match).

    But do you really wanna know what hurts the most? I'm a Yahoo Mail user since like 1999, and to this date I haven't gotten a single email, notification, anything at all stating the leak details through "common channels": I didn't get a CS email; I didn't get a site-bound notification in the UI; I didn't get an email on my alternative, out-of-Yahoo account; I've been searching their news feed since the first rumors and got no hits. It's flat out offensive. If I was an American citizen, or if such a thing as class action existed where I'm from, I would be suing their asses to oblivion (because only through a class can this have any meaning to a judge). I'm calling upon you Americans reading this: stick it up to them for us, they do not deserve a penny of the Verizon deal, and such a company deserves to be dismembered so that the actual talent it still has can move forward to real challenges, and the a-holes making these obviously economically-bound reasons can burn in the hell they're destined to.

  • I enabled auto-forwarding five years ago. I think it's been long enough since I last used my Yahoo account. Time to close it.

  • Scanning your email is standard practice ever since the wild success of Gmail, and Lavabit is long gone now - where are all of these dissatisfied people supposed to go? Unless they're planning to ::gasp:: pay for their email service, they don't have any other options.

    Maybe if you're specifically worried about surveillance from law enforcement and you don't care who else reads your email, or who they sell your information to, or who those people sell your information to (probably law enforcement), then ma
  • for about 8 years now. Has been ever since they started getting hacked non-stop around that time and I got tired of recovering my account. To be fair since they started doing 2 factor I've been fine, but I'd already moved on.
  • ...it is encouraging that enough people care enough to leave to make Yahoo do this.

  • Joke's on them. I have it set up in Thunderbird as IMAP.
    I don't care so much about leaving as I mostly use it as a spam address. I'm using their servers and I don't see their atrocious interface or ads.

  • Yahoo account? Really. I generally use them to open an account I know is going to be spam slammed then ignore it after I'm fished with whatever system is trying to get a email account. pwgen is good for making passwords you don't intend to remember.

    pwgen -sy 16 1

  • Seriously. You can replicate your Yahoo mail structure locally with an IMAP connection. Then push the mail wherever you need it.

    Granted, for people on low-speed connections this could be unfeasible. But still.

  • My first mail address was furnished by my bank, as a free service, not even tied to you remaining in the bank, in a neutral domain name. In those times, it seemed like a good idea to have it, as good free e-mail was then a scarce commodity.

    Fast forward six years and the beginning of gmail, and they decide to drop the service. They didn't even transfer the domain to other service provider. They did a very lame thing of offering you another free service with a different domain. My inconveniences retiring that

  • Why would you forward rather than just pick up the email for multiple accounts in the same mail client? This seems to be incredibly trivial to set up in any modern mail client, with an "integrated inbox" view if you want it or distinct accounts if you don't.

    If you've received mails on secondary accounts that you want to keep, you can even file them in a folder on the primary account, thanks to the wonders of IMAP.

  • I got my own domain name back in about 1996. Since then I've moved ISPs several times and initially I simply redirected my email address to go through whichever pop/smtp servers were required. Once I worked out how to do it I now set things up so my mail gets redirected to my own mail server which runs happily on a really low powered mini-itx box (along with other stuff such as WWW services etc.)

    Admittedly this is not something that your average "non computer geek" user can probably do so it's about time

  • Who says it was Yahoo's decision?

    Is it not possible that they got an order from a three-letter agency to make migration as difficult as possible?

    If the other email providers are playing hardball with the Government (doubtful, I grant you) then maybe they're just trying to close this particular cage before all the rats escape?

    I know this all sounds a bit tinfoilhattish, but I'd say that is a reflection of the zeitgeist. 2016 has been weird.

  • Here is exactly what it looks like when you delete your Yahoo account:

      > https://twitter.com/fulldecent... [twitter.com]

    I invite you to complete the process as well and post your own screenshots.

  • A few months ago, even before the announcements of the security breaches, I decided enough was enough with Yahoo mail (such as awful advertising like auto play videos and the like).

    I have archived off all my emails by setting up Thunderbird with Yahoo IMAP access. Deleted my account last week. Although, I found out that it's not actually deleted. It is simply deactivated. They say that the deletion 'may' occur in three months. The delay, I guess, will give the NSA plenty of time to go through all my e

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