Yahoo Begins Recycling Abandoned E-mail Addresses

yahoo mail, user ids, security, email, gmail, email addressesYahoo is letting users put themselves on a waiting list for long-ago claimed email addresses, like john_smith@yahoo.com.

Before Gmail came along, Yahoo was the go-to email provider. Many users eventually migrated to Google or other providers, and not all shut down their Yahoo accounts.

Yahoo first announced last month that it would re-assign claimed email addresses that had not been used in over a year. Users can identify as many as five email addresses that they would like. If an account becomes available, interested users will be given 48 hours to claim the account. If one user on the list doesn’t claim the address, Yahoo will offer it to the next one.

A number of tech pundits have called the move to recycle addresses a security nightmare, spurring Yahoo to lay out how it will ensure that users whose accounts are recycled don’t have their passwords for e-commerce and social accounts jeopardized.

Yahoo is providing a protocol in which password reset or account confirmation requests sent to Yahoo accounts first generate a request to Yahoo to supply the date when the current owner gained control of the account. That will allow the email sender, whether an e-commerce company or a social network, to determine that the email is likely going to a different user than the one that used it to create an account on their site.

Facebook, which worked with Yahoo to develop the security protocol, will cause any emails going to email addresses that haven’t been updated with Facebook since they changed owners to bounce. Other companies may handle the information in other ways.

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