Gmail Overtakes YahooMail in India

October 14, 2009

According to ViziSense, an online audience measurement and analytics provider platform, Gmail, Google’s free e-mail service is now India’s largest free e-mail service provider with more than 18 million users. Yahoo Mail, which held the top spot until the previous month has now been relegated to the second spot.

Yahoo Mail boasts of 16.8 million unique users and has seen its usage dip 8 percent since August this year. This, coupled with Gmail’s continued growth which averaged 3 percent since August, has ensured that Gmail surpassed the number of Yahoo users in early October. Microsoft’s Windows Live Mail too is seeing a surge in its userbase with it managing a very impressive 8 percent growth in India since August. Rediff Mail is at number three with 6.25 million users.

However, on the global scale, it might be a while till Gmail usurps the throne from Yahoo to be the world’s largest e-mail provider. Besides, it also has another adversary to counter, Windows Live Mail from Microsoft which is right up there at number 2. As seen in a recent ComScore report, Gmail has been growing pretty fast in U.S. as well– and unless Yahoo and Windows Mail don’t do something drastic, Gmail, in its current form, will eclipse the “traditional” webmail providers in the years to come.

Incidentally, it was just last week that Yahoo carried a full front page ad across leading national dailies in India. Was this an attempt to woo its once loyal users who have started migrating to Gmail?

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Hacked Hotmail accounts used weak passwords

October 7, 2009

The majority of passwords revealed in the recent Hotmail phishing attack would not have taken much cracking in the first place, according to a researcher at security firm Acunetix.

Bogdan Calin said in a blog post that an analysis of the phishing attack and the hacked accounts revealed that the most common password was ‘123456’.

The details of some 10,000 Windows Live Hotmail accounts were posted online by an anonymous hacker earlier this week, and Calin suspects that it was rather a crude attack that managed to grab just low-hanging passwords.

“My impression is that these passwords have been gathered using phishing kits. Even more, the phishing kit used most probably was badly designed. I think it just returned an error message after grabbing the credentials. I noticed this because some of the passwords are repeated once or twice (sometimes with different capitalisation),” he wrote.

“What most probably happened is that the users didn’t understand what was happening, and they tried to enter the same password again and again, thinking the password was wrong.”

Calin found that the most popular passwords were rather similar, and that the majority were made up of alphanumeric combinations, as opposed to the often recommended letter/number/symbol combinations. Sixty-four accounts used ‘123456’, and the second most common was ‘123456789’ with 18 users.

Forty-two per cent of users stuck with lower case alpha passwords containing only characters from ‘a’ to ‘z’, and 19 per cent used numeric passwords containing only the numbers ‘0’ to ‘9’. Just six per cent used mixed passwords containing letters, numbers and other characters.