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Yahoo kills Yahoo Mail security features

SSL has adverse effect on POP mail collection

Yahoo is removing its recently introduced security and anti-spam features after identifying them ass the cause of problems experienced by users trying to collect POP email from external accounts.

The problem arose after Yahoo added Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) capabilities to Yahoo Mail's POP mail function and beefing up its spam filters. However, Yahoo has run into problems solving the issue and has instead decided to remove the new security features for now until the problem can be resolved completely.

Yahoo Mail is a company crown jewel and a key piece of its ambitious plans to boost advertising, increase traffic, attract more developers and better compete by giving its users a 'social profile' dashboard to unify and manage their Yahoo services.

A week-long, ultimately unresolved problem affecting Yahoo Mail users hampers the turnaround effort and comes at a bad time, particularly with the upheaval around Microsoft's acquisition offer and a looming shareholder proxy fight to oust current board members.

The rollback of the SSL and anti-spam features is under way and will take "a few days" to reach all users, Ryan Knight, Yahoo Mail Community Manager said, in a blog.

"What this means is that your ability to retrieve from these accounts should be completely restored, however it also means that we will be rolling back the recently added option to use SSL. If you have added an account that requires SSL, retrieval from that account will no longer be possible," Knight added.

One Yahoo Mail user, Mike Bradley, thinks Yahoo waited too long to pull the new features and could have done a better job communicating updates about the situation.

"As soon as there were reports of problems, they should have rolled back immediately instead of waiting a week. Also, they should have updated the blog more frequently," he said. "The most frustrating thing is to not know what's happening, and frequently updated communication could have made for a better interaction with those of us affected."

Bradley, who uses Yahoo Mail both for work and personal communications, first noticed the POP problems last Wednesday. "'Server busy' error messages lasted two days, then I started getting time out messages for two days, then I started to get mail slowly, but not all my mail," Bradley explained.

He noticed that not all messages were making it to his Yahoo account because he also gets his email on his mobile phone. "That's still happening today, and this morning I got the 'server busy' pop-up error message again. It's slowly coming back to life but when I retrieve email, nothing appears in my inbox for 5-10 minutes after the 'checking e-mail' message disappears," said Bradley, an otherwise satisfied Yahoo Mail user since 1995.


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