Thousands of Xtra customers will be unable to access their
email account from Monday until they change their email
An additional layer of security was being added to Xtra email
after a spate of security issues, Telecom and Yahoo said.
The additional encryption setting would be applied from
Monday, making email more secure, particularly on public wifi
connections, the companies said.
That security layer would affect third party clients who use
programmes such as Microsoft Outlook or use Android devices
to check their messages - about a third of Telecom's
customers, a Telecom spokeswoman said.
"Some of those people will already have the settings changed,
but there will be a proportion who haven't done that.
"We're talking thousands (of clients)," she said.
The Telecom system would be affected by thousands logging on
at the same time to change their settings.
Because it was third party clients, Telecom would not be able
to have a message show up when users logged on to check their
emails, the spokeswoman said.
But the company had been trying to contact all those affected
by email, SMS or phone calls.
The email service had been badly hit by spammers, forcing
some email accounts to be locked down until users changed
Users who have already changed their settings to SSL (Secure
Sockets Layer) or who use their account via webmail or Yahoo
mobile applications will not need to change.
Telecom Retail chief executive Chris Quin said the sooner the
additional security can be applied, the better.
"We've been contacting affected Xtra users by phone, SMS,
email and post, and while we're pleased to see a number of
customers have chosen to make the change themselves, there is
still a way to go.
"We've made the call that, when it comes to their online
security, our customers want us to do all we can protect them
and they don't want us to muck around with it."
He said Telecom would continue to roll out more security on
the Xtra email platform.
"We're confident this setting change will further assist that
effort, but we encourage all email users to keep their wits
about them and consider how they can play a role in
preventing the circulation of spam.
"This means never clicking suspicious links contained in
emails, which can perpetuate spammers' activity, even if the
email appears to come from a friend or family member."
Users were advised to regularly update account settings with
a strong, difficult-to-predict password, and never to use the
same password for their online banking, their email and their
social media profiles.
* Customers can visit www.telecom.co.nz/SSL for
detailed instructions on making the setting change, or call
0800 268 268.
* For more information on the SSL update, go to www.telecom.co.nz/ssl.
* Information for staying safe online is available at
or via Netsafe at www.netsafe.org.nz.
* If users had problems, they could access their mail through
the Yahoo email app or a web browser.