The Monday HELO — August 1st, 2011

This week: forgetting passwords, remembering malware, the return of the webmail wars — and what if it all disconnected?

Welcome to the thirteenth edition of The Monday HELO, in which Melinda Plemel synopsizes some of the most interesting recent happenings in email technology and messaging abuse.

Passwords are Passé

Well that seems to be the belief for many, including the U.S. Government who has set up a special committee to make passwords disappear. In a recent interview Jeremy Grant, who has been chosen to head up that committee, talks about passwords and says that they are no longer that effective.

We’ve seen a huge uprising in hacked accounts lately, and it’s becoming increasingly worse. Most people use a password that they can easily remember, so it’s not surprising that the most used passwords are ‘1234’ or ‘welcome’. Hackers know that — and they also know that if they get one password for one account, chances are that password is being used with other accounts with the same username. It will be interesting to watch what this task force comes up with in place of the password. Will it be a Secure ID card, or something else? Regardless, I have to agree, it’s time to think outside the password box.

Where’s the Malware?

Did you know that image search is the most dangerous activity users can engage in on the web”? Or that Shnakule is the biggest malware network out there currently, with an average of 2,001 unique hosts a day? Read Write Web posted an infographic from Blue Coat Security showing how malware gets into your computer. Maybe you already knew this stuff, but most have no idea what malware is or how it works. Let’s spread this to our friends who may not be as educated.

Hotmail vs Gmail vs the world

There’s been some good old-fashioned rivalry heating up between some of the global players lately. You’ve probably seen that Gmail wants you to save your friends that aren’t using Gmail by staging an intervention. It’s a classic poke to the other global webmail providers for sure. Now Microsoft is poking back with their spoof Gmailman. Wonder if any other providers will join in on the fun — and if it’ll actually make any difference to their numbers.

“No Signal” is the Loneliest Status

Recently pollsters in the UK found that for most people a day without the internet, smart phone or any connection would in some cases “elicit fear, anger or pain.”

What does this say about our society and the direction we are going in? How did people deal in the past? Remember going to a library to research for a school project, or going to a community outing to meet your neighbors? What about newspapers or record stores?

Yeah, me neither.

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