[mailhist-discuss] Question #2 for my story
fuhn at pobox.com
Sun Mar 22 19:39:16 PDT 2015
Mail programs, such as Eudora, at the time had a range of capabilities.
I am pretty sure Eudora, even back then, allowed one to set filters and
direct mail to various other folders. Since Trash was just another one
of those folders, it likely was possible to filter all incoming mail and
direct email with a specific string in the "From" line into Trash, or
some other obscure folder set by someone with access to the account and
malicious intent. In my mother's case, since I set up her mail system
for her and knew her passwords, I could have easily set up a filter to
send all mail from a particular person to another folder besides Inbox.
Since she was not a particularly accomplished mail user, it would have
worked fairly well, she would not have been likely to find the other
folder, or check the Trash folder. Although outgoing mail to the
person would go through, nothing would ever come back, as long as they
did not change their mail address.
As Jack Haverty mentioned, systems in those days were not always well
protected. In the case of the Texas ISP, he was not really interested
in computers or mail. I believe he had answered an ad on how to make
money as an ISP and bought a package of hardware and software to get
started. Any system passwords were probably left as they were rather
than being reset. That in itself would allow for some more
possibilities for access.
On 3/22/15 2:11 PM, Linda Hess wrote:
> Suzanne's mention of her mother using Eudora via a local ISP who sold
> pool chemicals out of the same shed as the modem racks has actually
> given me a direction. Thank you!
> My first Internet access was dial-up to my employer's server.
> Employees were encouraged to do that in 1994 until about 1996 at my
> company. Employee use skyrocketed and the employer pulled back on
> serving as an ISP. Fair enough.
> My next access was AOL. I had a local access number, but there were
> the monthly fees that were actually higher than an independent ISP,
> although AOL fees did drop dramatically.
> AOL was fairly clunky to use, though, and I did find a local ISP for a
> reasonable fee (still dial-up!) in 1996. It's funny - I lived those
> early days but didn't think of documenting them for later reference.
> So I appreciate all of the input. It's a trip down memory lane for me.
> I suspect it would have been easier to hack a local ISP's email
> system, although do let me know if I'm wrong about that! Suzanne makes
> a valid point that in a husband-wife scenario, the account could be
> manipulated on-site, but that would take constant vigilance and no
> guarantee of intercepting the offending email.
> You can all rest assured that I'm not going to try to tackle the
> technical details of how a hack would happen.
> And I probably should mention that the "other person" lives in Canada,
> so there are International implications. Did Canada have AOL at the
> time? I don't remember. So the independent ISP is probably the way to go.
> I really appreciate the time you all have put into helping me with
> this point.
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