[mailhist-discuss] Question #2 for my story

Suzanne Johnson 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.
> Thanks,
> Linda

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