In The News Internet

Yahoo gives way to identity fraud

Think about it:

  • Marine was over 18 (legal independent adult in the US).
  • Marine didn’t put in writing that he wanted his parents to have access.

Considering this. Why can’t I have access? There is no report of the parents having a DNA test compared to the remains of the soldier to prove a blood relation. For all that’s known, they are just random people. A persons birth certificate in the US doesn’t contain fingerprinting of parent/child (as it should, and has been argued for about 50 years). Only a legal name of the child, and the parent, plus mothers age. Which often isn’t unique (how many John Smith’s are there). This isn’t to say they are cons. But that there’s no true proof unless there’s a DNA test. It’s rather easy in the US to live under an identity that’s not your own. People do it all the time. Most just to escape creditors, or family. Nothing to evil. But of course some ex-cons do as well just to escape the stigma. Stories of people living under fake identities for decades are not at all uncommon. They get drivers licenses, and all benefits under such identities.

Nor is there legal president that just because your a parent you can get such access. Normally that would go to whom ever the deceased designates. Not just “anyone who asks for it” Typically a spouse.

If that soldier’s bank account didn’t have his parent as a cosign on the account. Guess what. That account’s not going to the parents with just a simple legal proceeding.

This is a big win for any identity scammers. Look through death certificates filed at your local municipality, and go after ISP’s to get email accounts. Then use the email account (and it’s data). Can do all sorts of fun things:

  • pretend to be that person and con people
  • extract passwords, data from stored email
  • submit it to websites to get passwords reset on various accounts

It would be rather easy for someone to show a death certificate and say they are the next of kin and deserve the ability to take the persons identity (which is essentially what getting email is).

This is phishing to a whole new level.

This is of course beside the fact that anyone who emailed the person intended for the email to be received by the individual, not whomever files papers with the court for access. At a minimum Yahoo should have contacted all people who corresponded with the individual and asked if they are ok with being included with this. If I were one of them, I would be rather upset. An email sent is intended for the recipient, unless otherwise stated.

Get ready for some serious abuse of this new power. I’m positive were going to see some new phishing attempts designed to exploit this.

I’m curious why it isn’t this easy to get access to someone’s bank account without being a cosign on the account? What’s the difference? There’s a lot less harm in getting access to assume the persons cash then the persons identity.

Credit to yahoo for giving a CD, not the account itself. But it’s still wrong. This makes fraud all to easy. Now you don’t even need to be smart. You just need to have the balls to file some papers with a court who is way to busy to even read them.


Firefox in the top 100 moments

According to Yahoo at least.

#97. A recent position, but a rather notable position. More and more proof that we’re changing the web!


Thank you Yahoo!

Just went to Baskin-Robbins with Mark to get some free ice cream to celebrate Yahoo’s 10th birthday.

Sweet (literally).

So thanks to Yahoo for letting us all get a taste of the Birthday cake!

Oh yea… Happy Birthday!

In The News Mozilla

Firefox hits Yahoo Again

Firefox On YahooI’ve mentioned this before. Firefox again is on the homepage. Now celebrating the 25 Million Milestone.

That’s some good press. Yahoo gets a lot of hits. And that title just yells out “Lots of people are checking out Firefox… have you?”

Don’t just take back the web. Take it back with a loud voice! Congrats Everyone!

btw: If your not spreading the word. Help Out now. Get those links in your blog, on your AIM profile, in your forum signature, etc. etc. Be creative!


Don’t make browsers, make extensions

There’s been a ton of speculation regarding “gbrowser”, google’s alleged browser, Netscape’s Firefox based browser, now even thoughts Yahoo might be interested. Though I wonder if that really is beneficial to anyone involved?

I’m going to make the bold statement that custom browsers are bad, making extensions are good.

There are several reasons why custom browsers are bad:

  • Casual web surfers don’t always realize “Browser X, and Browser Y are custom versions of Browser A”. They see them all as different products. It’s confusing, especially when websites block them because of their UserAgent. “I’m not using ‘Netscape’, I use ‘Mozilla'”.
  • Anyone who distributes a browser is obligated to maintenance, statistically the vast majority in a project life cycle. Especially in regard to security updates. Get them out quick. It can sometimes involve some extra work, and has minimal benefit for the distributor.
  • Self-competition becomes a factor. One thing that confuses many people about switching to linux is the simple question of “what distro?” This question, and the inability to quickly make a decision turns many people away. Windows and Mac OS have the advantage of making it very easy.
  • Over branding. Yes there is such a thing. You put a brand in someone’s face for too long, and it loses it’s significance and impact. They overlook it. How many people actually notice a McDonalds when driving around? Most don’t even see them, simply because they are more common than traffic lights. Now how many notice less popular dining establishments? Quite a few.
  • Ineffective marketing. When you share 90%+ of the code, you share features with tons of others and really have very little to market. What you do have to advertise, is somewhat insignificant. Why download a new browser for a logo? Is that even a feature? Why can’t I just bookmark your page if I like it?

The Correct Approach
I personally believe the correct approach in this arena is extensions. A great example is the brand new Yahoo Toolbar, or SpeakEasy. Why are these the right way?

  • Both leave security to the Mozilla Foundation, users can get updates as soon as they are released, they don’t have to wait for the distro’s cobranded builds to become available.
  • Users get new features as the product is updated. Don’t need to wait for the distro to update the cobranded builds.
  • Users choose branding, can uninstall it if they wish.
  • Less downloading. I change from speakeasy to yahoo, I don’t need to download a new browser, just install the extension.
  • Cross platform. It’s much less work to support Mac and Linux users when you provide an extension rather than a custom build. Get the whole audience.
  • Lower cost. It’s much less development to release an extension rather than a browser.

What do they lose?
Really nothing. You can do pretty much everything via extensions. You can create a skin, add features, overlay menus, add toolbars etc. etc. There’s quite a few possibilities.

Releasing your own browser, unless you really make radical changes (Camino, Galeon, K-Melon) is somewhat of an ineffective use of resources. You can accomplish the same thing, while providing better service to customers by trying to use an extension framework. Extensions by nature have less development requirements, easier to update, allow the user to have the latest browser, and give the user choice.

I personally think Yahoo and Speakeasy have done an excellent job. They accomplished their goal and really addressed the point I’m trying to make in this post. I just hope some other companies will seriously consider what they are doing, before they try and get their users to install hacked up copies of Firefox.

Extensions and Themes are the best way to customize a browser. If at all possible, try to keep within those frameworks. You’ll thank yourself later when you realize that you need little/no changes to work perfectly with Firefox 1.5 or later.


Yahoo! and Firefox!

Yahoo released their Firefox Toolbar!

As Blake also noted, I found this interesting:

The support and community that continues to grow around Firefox is amazing and we’re proud to be part of it. In fact, the Yahoo! Toolbar Beta is just one of many Firefox goodies you can expect to see from us this year, so stay tuned.

Yahoo Browser anyone? Yahoofox? Firehoo? Let the conspiracy theories begin!


Firefox is mainstream

Firefox 1.0 on Yahoo! Even better than the other day. This is a very high profile position to be. And at 11:30 AM EST. The beginning of the workday for the west coast, and right before lunch on the east coast… right when many people browse the web for news.


Yahoo Homepage on the day after the Election

Yahoo HomepageWell, if this doesn’t show the power of Firefox, nothing ever will. That’s right. Hours after the president announces he won the election, a nice “switch” style article right on the Yahoo homepage. It links to the syndicated feed of this PC World Article (link to PC World Article, because Yahoo links tend to break).

The article spends a bit of time on Firefox, which is great. What’s really great is this positioning. A day of elevated news coverage, and a browser article made the elite Yahoo Homepage News feed. That’s a big gain for Firefox.

On an odd note, the only direct link to something mentioned in the article is a link to IE Developers blog. Not a link to or, or

So the good press is coming along!

IMHO this is the biggest press event so far. It’s really the biggest article oriented at mainstream internet users. It’s not on Wired, Slashdot, CNet. It’s right on the Yahoo home page. So non-geeks can read.

This is big… and it’s only getting bigger.


Yahoo! new layout for Mozilla

It appears initially after the announcement that Yahoo! would start testing a new layout, they only offered it to IE users. Now it appears it’s enabled for Mozilla/Netscape users.

Should note it’s more standards compliant.

Web Development

Holy poo, Yahoo’s Strict

Yea, take a look at that source.

Interesting eh?