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Yahoo NZ: Sorry

Yahoo NZ has broken its silence over Telecom's Xtra email security problems.

“We take security and our customers’ data extremely seriously," says Laura Maxwell-Hansen, General Manager of Yahoo New Zealand.

"We are genuinely sorry for the disruption this issue has caused and we understand that people want answers. 

"This is a complex issue and we’re focused on continuing to work around-the-clock with our partners at Telecom towards a resolution.” 

There is currently no evidence to support reports that access has been gained to any user information beyond the customer’s email address book, Ms Maxwell-Hansen says. "However, Yahoo continues to monitor the situation."

She adds, “Unfortunately, security attacks are commonplace globally and while we take every possible precaution to protect our customers, the fact remains that the criminals who undertake these activities are very sophisticated and no service operator is immune to attack."

Customers are advised to change their passwords, and make sure their antivirus software is up to date.

Ms Maxwell-Hansen's comments follow an announcement by Telecom earlier today that it is reviewing its email options, with the suggestion it might take its business elsewhere.

Confident of keeping Telecom's business?
Is the Yahoo NZ boss confident of keeping Telecom's business, NZ ONLINE inquired.

Ms Maxwell-Hansen says Yahoo is aware of Mr Quin's comments. "However we are currently focused on a resolution to the mail issues so have nothing further to say at this time."

Telecom owned 49% of Yahoo's NZ subsidiary at the time of the company's (rocky) switch to Yahoo email hosting in 1997 (a shift that took place soon after Telecom divorced itself from MSN, run by one-time Telecom shareholder Microsoft). The balance of YahooXtra was owned by Yahoo's Australian subsidiary, Yahoo7. Telecom sold its YahooXtra stake to Yahoo7 in 2011.

Alternatives are out there. Before its retail business was sold, Telecom's Australian subsidiary AAPT offered its customers Google Apps, which includes Gmail.

Beyond the problems of the past few days, Telecom customers have suffered multiple problems with the Yahoo Sydney-hosted Xtra email service - including a series of foul-ups in May and June last year. More recently, a problem with a cut submarine cable let to more email sending delays, and sniping between Telecom and Yahoo's bandwidth manager over who was to blame for a delay getting the news to customers.

Comments and questions

I have a degree of sympathy for Ms Maxwell-Hansen and the way this debacle is heading.
Yahoo Australia has never given a monkeys about this little place called NZ and I am certain they will have been treating it as an insignificant branch somewhere near Antarctica, certainly of less importance than Tasmania.
The relationship between Telecom & Yahoo has always been dysfunctional from word go evidenced by Telecom call centre staff fobbing off email problem enquiries to some supposed yahoo numbers (cant transfer of course) that was completely wrong a few times I got shunted around the planet.
Yahoo frankly doesn't care either, with a NZ user base smaller than a small city and I doubt the annoying adverts they litter web pages with the clicks on which wouldn't generate funds for a Parnell morning coffee.
Aussies prove in darned near any cross Tasman business that they touch, they are incapable of understanding how NZ business operates and head office Sydney is a usually a joke when they try to apply oz methodology.
Telecom as a monolithic dinosaur and is always a $ short and a day late so combine the two I do not expect anything decent to evolve.
I predict lots of earnest moving forward PR releases, intense meetings with power points of course and spin aplenty; maybe a sacrificial lamb here and there, but ultimately nought of benefit to Xtra email customers.

Thanks Telecom and ALL staff AT Yahoo...
I now know ALL my Oppositions-- emails addresses..AND CONTACTS



“We take security and our customers’ data extremely seriously," says Laura Maxwell-Hansen, General Manager of Yahoo New Zealand.

LOL - is she a comedian?

My Yahoo! mail account gets hacked about once a month. I changed my password after this latest security breach and was hacked again within a couple of hours. I have no faith this can be fixed at all and do not have this problem with my other email service providers. Bye bye Yahoo! mail for me. Should have done it ages ago.

I've been hanging in there as a customer but I think this may be the last straw. The whole thing is a mess, the instructions on the Telecom website don't make sense, the pages take forever to load, when I tried to change my password it informed me that the option wasn't available at the moment - it just feels like a business that they've forgotten about! Trawling around the Yahoo pages feels like you're walking around a long-abandoned building - nobody is maintaining it any longer and it's no longer fit for purpose.

The article states that there is no evidence that access was gained beyond the address book. Because I use a POP client with a local address book, my email account's address book was empty. The spam emails sent from my account were sent to email addresses that could only have been harvested from the server's mail folders. This implies to me that the actual email messages were compromised.

Same here, I have no contacts on Yahoo, all the addresses sent to by me account were from my sent items - I cross checked

I agree. I can only hope that the email addresses were stolen from emails in the trash and sent items rather than the entre contents of those emails.

Yahoo is hopeless. This is the only email that can't stop spam, other agencies appear to have no trouble,only Yahoo - absolutely hopeless.

Yep, same for me Mike. My address book emptied, all my contacts were sent emails supposedly from me, telling them all I was in the Philippines and I needed $1900 to pay for my hotel as I had been robbed!!! They even deleted all my files I had with family photo's emailed, genealogy emails and photos. Time to say goodbye to yahoo/ xtra accounts I think.

Anyone with hotmail, yahoo or xtra email accounts should switch to Gmail.

Far superior, the best.

You should have done it years ago anyway so here's your wake up call.

"There is currently no evidence to support reports that access has been gained to any user information beyond the customer’s email address book, Ms Maxwell-Hansen says. "However, Yahoo continues to monitor the situation.""
Yeah right Ms MH. Well, the evidence above is now before you, so what are you going to do about it?

A. Admit your PR blunder and front up? or
B. Deny the problem yet again and hope it will go away before all your customers do?

I'll take odds on "B".

Spam still coming through from xtra emails. Not even an xtra user.

Telecom is a $16 million a year contract for Yahoo NZ. If that goes, so does Yahoo NZ I would think.

I'm not sure where you pulled that number from. Telecom contributes nothing close to that amount though am in agreement that Yahoo's days in NZ are numbered.

Telecom pays a cr*pload to Yahoo! to run their mail servers, don't know the exact figure but I guess you do - in either case, whether it's $17 million or $1000, it's still too much, and Yahoo! simply don't care at all about Telecom's customers. Telecom are getting 95% of the blame for this from customers who simply don't know any better, and the only 'apology' I can see anywhere from Yahoo! is on this page. Yahoo! needs to get some balls and front up to their massive screw-up (a 'partner' shares the blame, not lets the person *NOT* responsible take it all, that's like killing someone while drunk driving, and then putting your drunk, coma'd out partner in the driver's seat before the cops arrive) that affected lots and lots of Telecom customers.

The mail platform was actually moved over in 2007, not 1997 as this article states.

It seems to me that Yahoo! are not taking full responsibility... hiding behind the wrath directed to Telecom, when they fail to mention that countless and email accounts also got hacked at the same time.

Ok, so xtra is obviously completely a huge business risk for the little start up....which provider should small businesses be looking to move to?

anyone stupid enough to have a Yahoo email account deserves to be hacked. Although, as they are stupid, what value the hackers would gain is negligible.