Be careful of your unused Hotmail addresses

1077158_recycleWhat happens to your old Hotmail address if you don’t use it for a while? Does it sit around on a Hotmail server, waiting for you to get back into action? Apparently not. Hotmail policy “recycles” unused email addresses if there has been no activity in a year. This is one type of recycling that is not good for anybody.

According to LiveJournal, some of their users with old Hotmail accounts are having their LiveJournal accounts hijacked. According to a LiveJournal email sent to users, there have been recent incidents of LiveJournal journals and communities being broken into, having contents deleted, and owners locked out. The email suggests that the problem is a direct result of Hotmail’s recycling policy. There had been speculation that it was the result of friending bots.

After a year, unused emails are fair game, according to the LiveJournal e-mail, and hijackers are grabbing them up. When one of these old email addresses is displayed on LiveJournal, hijackers can take it as their own and then take over the owner’s LiveJournal accounts. According to the LiveJournal blog, “If you validated a Hotmail address for your journal and displayed it publicly in the past, but then let the address lapse, someone who finds and re-registers that address can use it to obtain control of the journal.”

LiveJournal users should avail themselves of the “Manage Email Addresses” feature on the site, which allows unused email addresses to be deleted from the profile if they are no longer being used.

The popular social networking site provided some details and tips on how users can protect themselves. they suggest first keeping passwords safe and secure, and making sure that any email addresses associated with the LiveJournal site are still under your control.

The LiveJournal blog also notes that once hijackers gain control of a user’s email address, they are posting entries that may contain links to viruses or malware.

Recycle your newspapers. Recycle your bottles and all your beer cans. Recycle your empty milk jugs. Just don’t recycle your email addresses.

Written by Dan Blacharski

The corporate world unceremoniously booted Dan Blacharski out of his cubicle over 15 years ago, and he’s never looked back. Since that time, he has been a full-time professional freelance writer, public relations consultant and analyst, and has published six books and thousands of articles. He divides his time between South Bend, Indiana and Bangkok, and married the renowned Thai writer Charoenkwan Prakthong in 2005. He and his wife enjoy traveling the world, and spending time with their Boston Terrier, Pladook.

1 Comment

  1. This is why you get spam emails · April 3, 2009

    […] Often this will occur in organisations, or any email provider for that matter, that recycles email addresses.  Not only does this practice expose the new user to whatever spam the previous person managed to attract, but it also carries other security risks as recently discovered by Livejournal users. […]

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