Hotmail, Yahoo and BOL: who still uses these emails and why this can be a problem

Hotmail, Yahoo and BOL: who still uses these emails and why this can be a problem
Hotmail, Yahoo and BOL: who still uses these emails and why this can be a problem
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In the era of social media and digital platforms, it is impossible to be on the internet without an old acquaintance of the online environment: the email. More than a form of contact, it has become the passport to access services and applications that require a login. But, apparently, now it also measures the personality and youthfulness of those on the web.

A publication in X divided users’ opinions on email service preferences. For some, keeping older domains active, such as Yahoo, Hotmail, BOL, UOL and AOL, is something “cringe” – that is, it causes shame. But is there really a difference between email providers?

Famous in the 2000s, these classic names gradually lost ground to younger rivals, such as Gmail, from Googleand the Outlookwhich became the new version of the message box Microsoft. However, Yahoo and Hotmail and others still retain their charms.

On the team of those who prefer older domains is Simone Parpinelli, a 53-year-old English teacher. The woman from São Paulo has had the same email address from the Yahoo provider since she was 23 years old. In other words, it’s been 30 years with the same address.

“It’s a more personal use, it’s what I always give when they ask for an email”, he explained. “For me, Yahoo provides comfort, the others are changing a lot. Yahoo always stays the same, I’ve gotten used to it, I find it easier to visualize its layout”.

Simone Parpinelli is an English teacher and has had her Yahoo email for 30 years

Photograph: Tiago Queiroz/Estadão

Simone is not the only one who defends tooth and nail the use of the “oldest” email. Beatriz Gabrielly Alves, 25 years old, is a student and has a Hotmail account created in 2008, when she was still a child.

“It’s still my main email. Anything I have to resolve at college, personal matters, I use this email”, said Beatriz. “I also have a Gmail account, just to use Drive and other Google services. But otherwise I use Hotmail anyway. I didn’t retire because it’s customary, all my social networks are linked to that email so it would be difficult to change everything.”

Victor Momesso, a 23-year-old biologist, cites the same reasons. “I’ve had my Yahoo account since 2010. I use this same email to access Google Drive services and my PlayStore (Playstation) account is also linked to it.”

In a generation where Gmail is the most common choice for many, he admits, “I don’t really like Gmail. I don’t have Gmail, but I have an Outlook account that I also use a lot. I like its interface and use it to send emails. I used it a lot for college work too,” he said.

Sometimes, it can be convenient to keep the same email for years — especially if you don’t have a username that could cause embarrassment in professional or more formal environments (“[email protected]”) — after all, contacts, files and Social network information stays with you for years. But having an “old” email may mean that you are more vulnerable to some cyber threats.

What are the dangers of having an old email

According to a survey by the cybersecurity company ThinkIT, vulnerabilities and hacking actions may be more common in old emails, mainly due to the large amount of data stored over time. In other words, it’s not that accounts are at risk per se, but they can offer a more appetizing menu of data for cybercriminals.

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“The most modern email domains have evolved in terms of protection technology. Today, you have emails that automatically check attached files, to analyze whether there is any type of malware, for example”, pointed out Marcos Parra, commercial director of Information Security at Think IT. “In older emails, there is no way to enable this functionality.”

Furthermore, there is a greater chance that old emails have been leaked – and the danger multiplies if the account owner is not in the habit of changing passwords frequently.

According to Think IT, in 2021, Yahoo was hacked and 3 billion accounts were compromised. In 2013, AOL was hacked and 120 million accounts were also exposed. Furthermore, according to the company, a vulnerability in UOL, in 2022, allowed hackers to access email accounts without a password. In 2020, a flaw in Yahoo Mail allowed hackers to spy on emails.

The report tried to contact Yahoo, AOL and UOL, which also manages the BOL domain, but received no response.

How to protect yourself

Regardless of the provider, it is important to ensure that data is secure with a strong password. Both new and old providers have a certain level of encryption, for example – protocols that guarantee that the message will not be intercepted or read if there is a leak -, according to Alexandre Bonatti, vice president of engineering at Fortinet Brasil.

“The fact that a provider is older or newer from a cybersecurity perspective does not in itself mean that it is more or less secure. There are other factors that contribute to the security of this provider. The user needs to evaluate whether this provider is implementing these technologies”, Bonatti told the Estadão.

Victor does not want to change his email address because it is his main access to social networks and other internet services

Photograph: Felipe Rau/Estadão

One of the tips to know if your email is safe is to observe how spam messages are being avoided in your inbox. If a lot of suspicious emails are going straight to your home page, it may be time to switch to a provider with better ability to filter and analyze these types of messages.

This also applies to messages from phishing, those emails that try to deceive users, usually with an unmissable promotion or a banking scam. The idea is to make the user click on a malicious link and give cybercriminals access to documents and devices. This type of message can also be filtered and identified by a good email provider.

“What anti-spam mechanism is this email service provider using? Is it efficient? This is easily evaluated by the user. Then the user can observe whether, in fact, this implemented technology is working”, explains Bonatti. “If you have been receiving a lot of spam, it means that this service provider is not investing as much in technologies to prevent this type of situation.”

Therefore, even if you prefer to keep an email with an older provider, the tip is to always be aware and look for external forms of security, such as elaborate passwords and security applications – this way, it doesn’t matter if when you send your email email to someone you may seem “cringe”, the important thing is to keep your data safe, whatever the platform.

Is it still possible to create a Hotmail account?

Even with all the problems, it is still possible to create accounts on almost all old email services – except Hotmail. Although it is still possible to create a Yahoo email, the company stopped operating in Brazil in 2023. The company’s service, however, continues to be offered free of charge. The case is the same as that of AOL, which, together with Yahoo, is managed by the company Apollo Global Management, after being sold by Verizon.

To create a BOL email, the user can choose between a free version with 200 MB of storage, or increase the capacity of the service with subscriptions starting at R$18. In the case of UOL email, all options are available for the user are paid and include a cloud storage account. Options start with 25 GB of storage for R$17.

At Hotmail, a provider created by Microsoft, all accounts were migrated to the same system used by Outlook, according to the company. Estadão. This means that older emails work with the same security protocols as your current provider.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Hotmail Yahoo BOL emails problem

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