Photo: The end of Lake Padarn, Wales UK
I have had a flickr account for 10 years. I have had little trouble with it until now.
Yahoo was seriously hacked and I received an email from Yahoo saying that my data was stolen. It is obvious the hackers were sitting on the data mined from Yahoo for some time before the hack started to affect my account. One day I was happily uploading photographs and the next, I could not. My account was down and there was nothing I could do about it.
Like all good flickrites I contacted the so called ‘helpdesk’ parading under the term of ‘customer support’. After several emails backward and forwards I got absolutely nowhere. Unless I answered every ambiguous, pointless question on their online ‘Security’ questionnaire I would never, I found out, succeed in having my account reinstated. Forget that it was 10 years since I had read the terms and conditions and could not remember them word for word. Forget that I was a member of over 300 groups and could not remember which were public and which were private. Forget that I have over a hundred albums and could not remember the titles offhand years after creating them, or if I had made specific ones private. I doubt any of the Yahoo helpdesk assistants could remember that far back either.
Let me recap for a moment – hey – what did I do? A big fat nothing!
Yahoo was hacked. My computer was not hacked. Yahoo’s servers were invaded and data was stolen. I am not responsible for that. Yahoo must take full responsibility for their weak security systems.
A simple and permissible scan of my emails and my contacts emails on my old and more recently set up account would prove that I am who I say I am. Currently Yahoo ‘Customer Services’ assistants seem to think I am a technical threat. Me? They have to be joking!!!! I’m not a hacker. I’m not a computer programmer. I am a 67 year old retired lady who wants to enjoy photography in her remaining years. Someone who has gathered around her flickr account many friends all over the world over the ten year plus membership of flickr.com.
On my flickr account I have over 6000 photos. I have set up quite a few groups for my own convenience, and a great online camera club called ‘Shootaboot’. At the moment, Shootaboot, with its hundreds plus threads relating my Shootaboot members’ outings with our camera, our Monthly Challenges, competitions, records of winners, chat threads, game threads and everything else linked to my account has disappeared.
ALL BECAUSE YAHOO SECURITY OF THEIR SERVERS WAS SEVERELY QUESTIONABLE ENOUGH TO BE HACKED!
I did not hack Yahoo – I wouldn’t know how. I did not lose my account. Yahoo did that.
I list below four examples of the security questions asked by Yahoo. How would you fare? Would you remember (without checking your flickr account if you have one) enough about an account you have no access to, enough to be able to answer each question with unfailingly accuracy?
Name five private albums, or private groups which you belong too.
Provide the date that the last subscription update was requested.
Provide the order code and type and the amount paid for your last subscription.
Provide the last four digits of the credit card, and the expiry date of the card you paid your subscription with (even after you have changed your card and destroyed the old one – flickr ‘Customer Services’ don’t seem to understand that the information is never going to be available because you don’t use that card anymore because you don’t have it anymore.
Excuse me, but how does that prove I am who I say I am? If I am a hacker I make my move with all that information to hand. After all, I’m that good that I can hack into and bring down a large organisation like Yahoo!
Perhaps when Yahoo staff are all substituted by Verizon I may get my account reinstated. For the moment I have to start again from scratch with a new Yahoo account. I wonder why I bother!
Yahoo is not really worth it. I cannot recommend you use flickr to store your photos. It is a minefield of incompetence, analy stubborn security and apparent technical incompetence (someone made it easy to hack into their servers). For those who use flickr now, beware. If I had a choice and all my friends moved out of flickr I would too. If you are considering using flickr I would advise you to use another site – any other site except Yahoo.
You could be next to lose hundreds of photos and group threads!
Comments welcome – especially from Yahoo!
Text and photo Copyright © VW Selburn 2018