Zoom in email security scare

User says customer email accounts exposed

Internet service provider Zoom is investigating the security of its free email system after a customer complained that her private email accounts could be accessed by others.

Zoom said Thursday that it could not confirm whether there was a security problem with its email service, but company director Jo Mosaku said that the claims are being investigated.

"Until we have looked into it we just don't know," he says. "There could have been a multitude of reasons. We take these things very seriously," he said.

Gabi Matthews, a customer with Zoom's free online email service, contacted ZDNet Friday claiming she was shocked to be given access to another user's account when trying to log in on Tuesday 2 January. She says she was accidentally allowed access to accounts belonging to four different customers.

Despite contacting technical staff at Zoom and being told that the problem had been fixed, Matthews says she has still been able to read other user's email Friday. "It's absolutely unbelievable," Matthews says. "It's personal stuff and I'm thinking of closing the account before the whole world can see it."

Matthews says she contacted those customers affected by email and was told that they too could get into other accounts. Matthews says that, despite being assured that the problem was fixed last week, the problem has persisted.

Major free email services have been hit by security controversies in the past. For example, the world's biggest free Internet email service Hotmail was found to have a major security vulnerability in August 1999 potentially allowing any user's account to be broken into.

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