Yahoo! has introduced a new feature which allows users to review their account's login history for strange activity and signs of possible compromise.
Email accounts are valuable for cyber criminals and can be compromised in a variety of ways, including via keyloggers or phishing.
Since storage space is no longer a major issue, a lot of people fail to delete old emails. This is a security risk because those messages can contain passwords and sensitive information about other accounts.
In addition to the more traditional illegal activities like spamming, compromised accounts can be used to send scam emails to the user's own contacts, therefore increasing the chances of finding someone willing to pay.
"The latest incident of email breach at Dallas-based Epsilon, where millions of stolen email addresses potentially could be used for targeted 'spear-phishing' further emphasizes the importance of safeguarding your online account," writes Andy Y Wu, product manager of Yahoo! Membership.
However, the new feature is not limited to email and covers all services provided under the same Yahoo! ID. The "Recent Login Activity" page lists logins by date, location, access client (browser, Y! Messenger) and the place of origin (Front Page, Mail, etc.).
This information is used to establish a pattern and if one login doesn't fit into it the entry is marked with an alert icon. For example, if past logins are from California, US, and suddenly the account it accessed from China, that's viewed as potentially suspicious.
This feature helps users take corrective action, like changing their passwords, as quickly as possible in case of compromise. But, the Yahoo! engineers don't plan to stop here with the account security enhancements.
Two-factor authentication, stronger password suggestions and proactive login alerts are some of the features the company's developers are currently working on.