Free E-Mail Service Creates Security Scare

Could you have a Web-mail account and not know it? When Network Solutions Inc. (NSI) recently attempted to increase its Web-mail user base by creating accounts for its customers using their names and easily guessed default passwords, the industry's security bell sounded.

While NSI's Web-mail offers no more of a security threat than any other free Web-mail service on the Internet, the company's attempt to increase its user base is being questioned by many.

As part of the marketing promotion, NSI created free e-mail accounts for its customers without their permission. Although the risk to the user is low, the opportunity for impersonators to send e-mail messages under another user's name does exist.

Industry experts say NSI's move is not considered a security breach but it does give consumers food for thought. Microsoft Corp. recently experienced potential security issues with its Hotmail service that have since been resolved.

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