A Texas judge has ordered the blocking of all emails sent to county offices from Yahoo accounts, at least for the near future, because of a spike in spam over the last several weeks.
Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt’s office is urging citizens to “please use another email account or call the department you are trying to contact and they will assist you.”
The county IT staff is concerned about the spam influx and the magnitude of the 2013 Yahoo data breach.
“For last month and a half, our spam has just elevated to concerning levels,” says Derold Miller, director of information technology for Gregg County. “Yahoo is a common domain, and very easy to spoof to get through most firewalls.”
Gregg Country, which is located between Dallas and Shreveport, Louisiana, was “burned” in a widely publicized security breach in 2010, Miller continues. Hackers conducted a transaction that cost the county $220,000.
Miller adds that the county firewalls have been hit with 101,000 pieces of spam, containing 644 pieces of malware, over the past two months. None got through, but it “was enough to make us concerned.’’’ It is not clear how many came via Yahoo.
The no-Yahoo order includes the Gregg Country courthouse, Justice of the Peace and tax office, Miller says.
Judge Stout made the recommendation based on advice from IT. The county wants to give people the time to change passwords and security questions. It has also warned consumers about the dangers of spam emails.
“This process is expected to take a few weeks and will allow the inbound flow of Yahoo account emails back into the network once they are assured that the threat level has reached “minimal” status,” says the statement from Stoudt’s office.
Last week, Yahoo announced that all of its accounts totaling three billion were affected in the 2013 data breach, not one billion as previously believed.