Sadly we no longer have Zapp, so it’s necessary to write a post or two, with pictures. This means getting back in to Flickr, which in turn means logging in to Yahoo. Oh dear – what’s this ? Supposedly I’m logging in from an unrecognised, and so potentially suspicious device. (Not remotely true – I’m on my trusty desktop PC). So my ID and password are fine, but I’m facing a dreaded security question.
The question in question is: ‘where did you spend your honeymoon’.
We did have a honeymoon. It was modest and quite local to where we were. It was also special and wonderful. We travelled from Seattle to the Whidbey Island area, and stayed in La Conner. The general area of waterways and islands is known as Puget Sound, and of course all is within Washington state.
I don’t remember setting up this security question, and given the ambiguity around the precise answer, it’s hard to believe I’d have picked it. I failed several guesses and got locked out. I repeated my lack of success several times over. I looked up Whidbey Island on googlemaps to review the geography: a pleasant reminder of a lovely corner (and I do mean corner) of the United States – but getting me no closer to hacking back in to my own account.
I started on Yahoo mail in 2001. I’m pretty sure I’ve never had to contact them in all that time. But now my need was urgent. It was at this point that the enormity of the challenge – of working out how to navigate my way to a Yahoo-type human being – sank in. There’s no shortage of screen-based hints, tips, advice and guidance – but they really don’t want too many people dialling in.
Daughter J supplied me with the phone number (0870 352 2000) and I did some research. Yahoo was hacked in January, leading to suspicious log-ins, and the generation of spam email. This was fixed but the problem hasn’t gone away. I found a look-up tool and confirmed that the suspicious device was indeed my own: a perfectly ordinary IP address linked to a well-known UK broadband provider.
I never thought I’d been hacked, but presumably Yahoo have ratcheted up their security; which suggested that my best way forward was labelling my problem as ‘my account has been compromised’. I phoned Yahoo this morning. Fifteen patient minutes later I spoke to a human being. There was quite a bit of toing and froing but I did – thankfully – get sorted out. At this point I realised just how unsettling this had been, and so returning to normality proved quite emotional.
I checked out the honeymoon question. Although I was allowed to change the question I wasn’t granted access to that elusive answer.