The Mary Sue


Some White House Officials Fell for Prank Emails Claiming to Be From Colleagues

One of the most common ways to find your cybersecurity compromised is to be fooled by an email that wasn't actually sent by who it claims. That's how Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's emails wound up all over the internet, and it's how some White House officials were tricked into believing they were talking to their fellow staffers in some prank emails.

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Oh Look, Mike Pence Did That Thing He Said Clinton Couldn’t Be President for Doing

But his emails.

Mike Pence used a private email account while governor, but sure, let's keep talking about how that's not the same thing he dragged Clinton for doing.

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FBI’s Clinton Email Decision Results in This Election’s Grossest Misunderstanding of Technology

Or willful misconstruing. Take your pick.

Technology has a tendency to change—both itself and the world around it—rapidly, while politicians ... don't, to put it kindly. As the two become increasingly intertwined, that leads to a lot of absurd notions about this here series of tubes, and that hasn't been more apparent anywhere than this election's understanding of how email and computers work. Reaction to the FBI going through 650,000 emails in a few days is just the most egregious example.

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Google’s Gmail Prank Already Backfired; Just Shut the Whole Internet Down

We'll all reconvene on Monday. Cool?

So we've all come to expect the Internet to be the worst on Gaslighting Day April Fools' Day, which is today, in case you're not incredibly attentive to calendar dates and see any suspicious news items. What we don't necessarily expect is for that to include software that we all need to use every day—even this stupid, stupid day—to do our jobs, which is where Google's Gmail prank went a little awry.

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New Chrome Extension Helps Women Stop Apologizing and Be More Direct in Emails

I know I do it all the time: "I'm just writing to say..." or "Sorry to bug you, but..." or "This would be the best way to handle it, I think." Women have a tendency to pad their opinions with qualifiers designed to make them seem "less pushy," but which also minimize what they have to say and take away their power. Now, a new Chrome extension has been designed to help fight this gendered tick.

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Yahoo Getting Rid of All Those Pesky Passwords With New Authentication System

But what will we do with all of our capital letters and numbers?

Your extra capital letters, numbers, and special characters may have to find a new home soon, because Yahoo has a new system to get rid of all those annoying passwords. You know, because you totally don't just use the same one for everything. That would be irresponsible.

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Google Planning a Gmail Replacement Called Inbox With a Social Media-Inspired Feel

You can't take the Gmail from me!

Ever since Google set the standard for modern email with Gmail, they've been adding features to further improve your email experience through automation with limited success. Well, they're finally going to take a full-fledged crack at revolutionizing email again by replacing Gmail entirely with a new product called inbox.

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5 Million Gmail Passwords Hacked and Leaked, Here’s How to Check Yours

Or you could use this as a reminder to change it for general safety.

5 million Gmail usernames and passwords were leaked on a Russian forum. Check to see if you need to change your password immediately instead of at your regularly scheduled password change date, which is a thing you have, right?

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Yahoo! Catches Up With Google and Microsoft, Will Encrypt Email to Keep the NSA Out of Your Inbox

Now that address is a little less embarrassing.

Email is one of the least secure ways to communicate, but it's also one of the most common. With the recent revelations that the NSA is spying on everyone security has become a bigger priority in people's lives, and businesses are looking to cash in. Yahoo! just announced they're joining Google and Microsoft in efforts to encrypt their email service.

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New Site Lets You Send Anonymous Emails to Anyone…’s Spam Folder

How could this possibly end badly?, or Leak, is a newly-launched site that lets users send anonymous messages. Have something to get off your chest? Wish someone would tell the intern who chews with his mouth open to stop doing that? Now you can. At least in theory. In practice it appears that all the anonymous messages I've sent have found their way to spam folders.

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France Bans Work Emails During Non-Working Hours, What Will French Workers Compulsively Check Now?

As long as no one bans non-work emails during working hours, we'll be OK.

Working in France has some pretty great perks like several weeks of required vacation time and a 35-hour work week (though they've relaxed restrictions on exceeding that limit a bit in recent years). Well, they're going even further to protect their work/life balance by banning work-related email activity after working hours.

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The NSA Can Search Everyone’s Email But Their Own

If you're going to snoop on everyone's email, at least do it right.

The NSA -- you know, the folks looking at everyone's phone records and such -- they have the capability to sort through almost unthinkable amounts of data from their surveillance programs, but if you ask them to do one simple internal email search through a Freedom of Information Act request, suddenly they don't have the technology. The NSA claims that their email system is, "a little antiquated and archaic." Then update it. You're the NSA.

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Resistance is Futile: Outlook Finally Assimilates Hotmail

Hotmail users may have been in for a surprise over the last few weeks to find their inboxes updated to Microsoft's layout. Outlook came out of its preview in February of this year, and since then Microsoft has been rolling Hotmail users into the new design. They managed to migrate 150 petabytes of email in about six weeks. That's pretty impressive.

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Just 20 ISPs Are Responsible for Nearly Half of All Email Spam Worldwide

Considering the wide variety of products spam email acts as a barker for, you might assume that there are an equally diverse range of individuals, or at least programs, trying to sell you important goods like mirrors, plastic sheers, and of course medications for male stamina. (Also, wow, am I ever troubled by what my spam folder seems to think of me.) According to a recent look at the numbers, though, that's not the case. In fact, the study from the University of Twente suggests that just 20 of the more than 42,000 Internet service providers worldwide are responsible for nearly half of the emails that you get looking to sell you penis enlargement pills and various other high quality goods and services.

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Email Fail: Couple Shares Steamy Sexual Conversation With Entire Office

A wise man once said that love knows no bounds, but that declaration was obviously made at a time prior to the advent of email. Melanie Anderson and Eric Knisz, an engaged couple working for the Scottish oil company Integrated Subsea Services, learned in the worst way imaginable what happens when one is a bit too quick sending out messages. The two had spent the afternoon exchanging steamy emails back and forth when Anderson wanted to notify her fellow coworkers that the sandwich truck had arrived outside the premises. She accidentally included the emails in her forward, so the entire office learned that lunch was right outside the door and the humiliated couple's bedroom adventure the previous night was pretty "ace."

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No Warrant, No Problem: U.S. Senate Drops Amendment Requiring a Warrant to Search Private Emails

Just when you thought it was safe to send your friends funny chimpanzee videos. Recently, the U.S. Senate presented President Obama with an amendment to the Video Privacy Protection Act that would allow Netflix to override the act's prohibition of disclosing one's video rentals without expressed consent and automatically posting them to the individual's Facebook timeline -- essentially letting the world know you rented Battlefield Earth on more than one occasion. In addition to this was a second amendment to a different act that, if signed, required the federal government to obtain a warrant before searching email and other content stored in the cloud. Approved not too long ago by the Senate Judiciary Committee, this amendment was cut from the legislative package, granting the feds carte blanche to continue to rummage through your private messages should it prove conducive to an investigation.

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Reply All: NYU Students Able to Email 40,000 Classmates at Once

We nominate Reply All for the worst email feature, and we can think of about 40,000 college students who probably agree right now. Due to the fact that a schoolwide email was accidentally sent using the wrong listserv options, students at New York University were able to Reply All to 40,000 of their classmates at once. It went about as well as anyone would have expected.

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Gmail Makes 10GB Email Attachments Possible With Google Drive

Google is all about combining their services. Sometimes that's frustrating, but sometimes it's actually pretty convenient. Like when Google makes sending 10 GB email attachments possible by combining Gmail and Google Drive. By making their email and cloud storage services work together, Google has made send files via email useful again. Get ready to start spamming your friends with extended director's cut version of your cat videos.

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Old Dogs, Old Tricks: David Petraeus Used a Tactic Known for Years to Hide His Extramarital Emails

If you're trying to hide an extramarital affair, and you're the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, it's probably a good idea to use a method that hasn't been publicly known for years. Another good step would be avoiding a service, like Gmail, managed by a company that's been known to hand over information to the government when pressured. Perhaps David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell thought they were above all that, or perhaps they somehow didn't care, but the trick they used to hide their emails is old enough to have been included in a 2005 PBS special.

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New Jersey Allows Voting by Email and Fax, Smoke Signal Still Not Available

Hurricane Sandy's left a mess in its path across the East Coast. Much of the public transit system in New York and New Jersey, for example, is still cobbling itself back together. Even so, the show must go on, and the election will still be happening as planned this coming Tuesday. Given the difficulties that voters might find in reaching their polling location, New Jersey has announced that folks will be able to vote by email or fax this year. Cue the cries of electronic tampering.

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