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When it comes to email marketing, a security breach like the one that recently hit Yahoo isn’t just an interesting piece of news — it’s a seismic event that sends ripples throughout the industry and leaves everyone, especially those who use Yahoo’s services, wondering what happens next. The bottom line? These types of cyber-attacks aren’t going away any time soon.

Security attacks are unfortunately becoming a more regular occurrence,” said Jay Rossiter, Yahoo’s senior vice president for platforms and personalization products.

What Happened?

On Jan. 30, 2014, Yahoo announced that hackers, from an undisclosed third-party source, used stolen passwords to break into numerous accounts and steal private information related to recently sent and received emails as well as contact lists. While the execs at Yahoo didn’t give a number for how many accounts faced this issue, it’s probably safe to assume that a significant amount of users were affected, otherwise it wouldn’t have turned into a major news story. (Some estimates put the number of computers affected by the attacks at up to 2 million.)

How Did the Hackers Get User Information?

So how did the hackers break in? It looks like all of this started with breaches on other platforms. Basically, the hackers compromised accounts on other sites, like Netflix and Facebook, and used the login information from these sources to then kick down the doors of users’ private Yahoo inboxes. The worst part about all of this is that if these reports truly outline how the security breach happened, it could have easily been avoided by using one of the most basic Internet security tips in the book – don’t use the same password twice. This concept fits into pretty much every blog or article on basic web security, but the invasion of private Yahoo accounts just drives home the point that some of us simply don’t listen.

Yahoo’s Response to the Breach

Considering that the breach might not have even come from a security lapse or breakdown of Yahoo’s technology, there wasn’t actually much that the Internet giant could do for those who were compromised, outside of ask them politely to change their passwords. Aside from that, the company has also discussed implementing additional layers of verification to the login process. Unfortunately, for the Yahoo execs and administrators, this probably won’t do much to deter the remaining portion of the user base that still thinks having a single-step login is a good idea.

Are You at Risk?

The short answer to this question is yes – if you use Yahoo for your email services. If your account was one of the many that was compromised, then you’ve probably already heard from Yahoo. However, simply interacting with others who fall into this category could lead to an indirect association with the attack. Essentially, by being on the contact list or recently having an email chat with an affected user, your email address and any other personal info stored in the contact list could be compromised. However, you should be okay as long as you avoid opening any suspicious emails and incorporate strong, and different, passwords across your various web accounts.

Yahoo’s Image Moving Forward

Now, Yahoo’s brand is left with a little mud on its face. If the claims of a third-party network intrusion are true, then the focus could shift to the security habits of this undisclosed company, or companies, and how they let user information fall into the hands of hackers and malicious programs.

Lasting Effects for the Email Industry

For those who work in the email marketing industry, as well as people who simply enjoy using email to connect with others, these types of events can really create some serious backlash. Consumers never want to lose control of their private information, and when it happens, you can expect them to tighten up on whom they communicate with and how these communications occur. That being said, if you already have an established contact list that knows and trusts your brand, you should be good to go. It’s the new customers who might be a little hesitant, but that’s only to be expected. With a little time, patience, and a continued focus on high quality email marketing content, your campaign can weather this storm and keep right on moving past any potential pitfalls along the way.



At Elite Email we are beyond super diligent about security and privacy.

We go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to security because we understand just how precious your information is. Not only do we make sure all your information is secure and kept away from prying eyes, but we also back it up… and then those backups have backups (and those backup have backups, too!).

We truly understand and appreciate the trust you put in us when you upload your data, and the trust we have with you is something we hold very dearly.

Our development team and system engineers are always monitoring our networks, enhancing protocols, and performing updates to ensure that the only person that has access to your data, is YOU.

Why am I mentioning this all of a sudden?
MSNBC, CBC, Security Week and other major news outlets have been reporting the story that Epsilon, an email service provider to some of the largest companies (including 7 of the Fortune 10) that sends over 40 million emails annually, had a massive security breach. Someone gained access to customer names and email addresses for brands such as JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, TiVo, Kroger, Best Buy, Walgreens, Marriott Rewards, and the list continues to grow.

This security breach poses serious problems because it opens up the door for phishing attacks where someone impersonates a legitimate company. Many of the companies affected by this security breach at Epsilon have already sent out emails to their customers warning them about possible spam they may receive in the future now that their data has been disclosed. I applaud the direct and honest messages being sent out by these companies to alert their customers who had trusted them with their data.

Of course, all email service providers, even though competitors, work together to further the email marketing industry, and I am saddened by events like this.

Once again, I want to reiterate that Elite Email has never had a security breach in our entire history. We conduct frequent audits to ensure that everything is safe, secure, and backed-up. From the biggest banks we work with to the smallest mom-and-pop operation, everyone’s data is treated with the utmost case and sensitivity.

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Blog Admin