Giving Hotmail the cold shoulder

internetsecurityThe internet is an All or Nothing place when it comes to our information. The moment you tap any information about yourself on a web page it’s captured, and yes that’s true even if you don’t hit the Enter key.

We tell ourselves that we can trust (or hope we can trust) the company on the other side of the screen that they’ll keep our information private, that they’ll abide by their rules of privacy. The rule of thumb is that the bigger the company the more secure your information will be.

Not so.

Over the weekend Microsoft disabled HTTPS for Hotmail which shocked me, but it didn’t happen here. Not in America. It happened in a dozen countries, including Bahrain, Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Congo, Myanmar, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Countries where the government is brutally rooting out protestors and wreaking retribution by way of beatings, arrests, perhaps worse.

Just like that these governments had a wide open door to go in and read the emails of anyone they wanted. How could this happen, or better yet, why would Microsoft do this?

The following day Microsoft denied they deliberately disabled HTTPS and said it was not “restricted to any specific region of the world.” Except some regions dodged this bullet, like Turkey, and Israel, to name a couple. Microsoft would not explain or give any details for what happened. Maybe this is to save face and not look bad, but to me it couldn’t look much worse, and a lack of explanation leaves a lot of shilouette_hackerroom for negative speculation.

Not knowing why it happened bothers me, but it’s a moot point. Some guy could have spilled his coffee on the server that manages that area of the world, for all I know. But I don’t like guessing games and I especially don’t like it when companies ,who are responsible for the security of my information, take the 5th when something goes wrong.

People can believe it’s a crap shoot when picking who you entrust with your email and other information. I suppose that can be true, but Microsoft seems like more of a gamble than I’m willing to take. I’m going to shut down my Hotmail account with them and go somewhere else. It might be pointless of me to do this, but I’d rather not have my personal email wide open the next time someone spills their coffee.



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