Friday, February 01, 2013

Hey! Nerds!

OK nerds, I need help.

I accidentally erased my "cookies" (whatever the hell they are) and now Yahoo won't let me into my email. When I try to log on, it gives me an extra pop-up window (not the regular login one) asking me a security question. When I type the answer in, it won't accept it (even though I know it's the right one) and then it says I'm locked out of my mail for 12 hours. Been around this little carousel twice now, and I can't find anything about it online.

And yes, I've done the whole change-your-password thing. Didn't help.

Hey! Nerds! Over here! Put the video game down!



a Christopher said...

How did you get into blogger with cookies turned off?

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

I don't even know what they are, so how can I possibly answer that?

a Christopher said...

I'll try it another way: this does not sound like a browser problem. Either you have successfully changed your email password, but can't recall it as you intended, or someone else has guessed your password, changed it while you weren't watching, and hence hijacked that address, and good luck to you in getting it back; or your email provider itself has been intercepted and you're actually not communicating with them (but that seems unlikely, given that you recognize the security question.); or the email provider is gone screwy.

HJW said...

no. it's nothing to do with my email password. Suddenly, immediately after I did a computer sweep that erased my "cookies" (again, wtf?) I started getting this extra popup window demanding to know the answer to a security question. One I apparently put in place so long ago that I have no recollection of the correct response. One I certainly have never seen used before. When I typed in what I thought was the correct ansewr, another window popped up saying, "Nyahh... wrong! You're locked out for 12 hours"

All efforts by other nerds have failed to unlock or to receive any response from the laughably titled "help".

a Christopher said...

What on earth was this computer "sweep"??? Turn off your computer now and use a different one. And ... find a mathematician at the University who runs Debian Linux... and...

Anonymous said...

If you've already tried I'm guessing you have, you'll probably have to call their execrable customer service number. They'll want your birth date and such. I've spoken to them on behalf of others many a time.

You can define a backup email or mobile number, in the future, that they can use to verify your identity should you be put in this situation again.

Does the sweep program have a name? Many of them are spyware masquerading as useful programs.

-Fr. Hair-Tonic

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

"use a different one"

Sure, I'll just wave my magic money-wand and one will appear.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...


it's Onyx

It's the only thing that makes my computer not freeze up with every. Single. Fucking. Command.

But I think it's just time for a new machine. Sad to say.

a Christopher said...

For The Record, "cookies" (it's an absurd name) are files on your computer that web servers ask web browsers sometimes to write and sometimes to read back to them; there is no reason for a program other than the browser to read, write, or delete them; in fact this would itself be a suspicious action and potentially a computer-security hazard.

A good computer systems professional would in this circumstance conclude that your computer has likely been compromised, ask you to back-up personal data externally (inert files only, like photos and text documents) and revert the system to some predictable clean state.

Also, he'll warn you not to install software unless you've some clear idea what it's doing. In particular, there really isn't a way to make a computer behave better by installing more software; there's a limited degree to which one can get better behaviour by replacing software, but there is usually a trade-off in versatility or storage space.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Except that it works.

a Christopher said...

Yes, you've been nicely trained to believe that when it's there running fewer things go wrong. This is not a difficult trick to arrange, because it only requires slowing down a computer in two different ways, depending on what you know to be running at any given time.

I don't know anything particular about Onyx; they may be good people, they may understand the Windows registry better than anyone at Microsoft does, and may even use their superpowers only for good and profit. I do know that there's still no reason to rely on that kind of nonsense. There are better ways to run a computer and keep it healthy.

Anonymous said...

Unless I'm mistaken, I think Onyx is a Mac program, ergo Our Gracious Hostess is using a Macintosh. I used to use Onyx when I had a Mac and found it reputable.

Apple does have a shrewd planned obsolescence system, so you may be right about the new machine, alas.

However, a new computer still won't get you back into your email account. I imagine they've probably locked you out by now. I think the number you have to call is 866-562-7219.

-Fr Hair-tonic

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

I don't give a shit about the stupid programme. Whether software companies are duping me. I'm here to be duped. I don't care.

I care that I can't get into my fucking email!!

Can we focus please?

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Yes. That's what I've been saying. They. Have. Locked. Me. Out. Of. MY EMAIL!

I can't reach a human being through the labyrinth of Yahoo's laughably titled customer service system. I tried following their instructions and reset my password. But as it became clear, the password isnt' the problem. The problem is that all of a sudden, this "security question" thing comes up and I can't get the answer right, and each time I get the wrong answer, Yahoo LOCKS ME OUT OF MY EMAIL FOR ANOTHER 12 HOURS!!!

OK?! Have we got the parameters of the problem yet?

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

This is the latest:

Dear Hilary,
On February 02, 2013, at 04:44 pm, your account activity shows that you tried to recover your account password for Yahoo!

You may reset your password on February 03, 2013, after 04:44 pm by answering the secret questions you chose for your account.

For security reasons, the option to reset your password via secret question will expire on February 09, 2013, at 04:44 pm.
Not you? Simply sign in to your account, and when there is an attempt to recover your account, we will continue to hide your option to reset your password via your secret questions and answers. Please update your password-reset info. If you forget your password in the future, we will use this information to help you reset it.
If you believe your account has been compromised, please change your password now. Choose a strong password.
Yahoo! Member Services

Note the circular reasoning:

"You may reset your password on February 03, 2013, after 04:44 pm by answering the secret questions you chose for your account."

It would make Kafka proud

Yep, I've tried it again, and no go. Same window, telling me that I am logging in from a "device we don't recognise" When I type what might be the asnwer to the secret security question, I get the following, :Why don't we recognize your device?

You are using a device or browser you haven't previously used.

You may have deleted your browser cookies or your browser is set to clear cookies whenever it closes.

You are using "Private Browsing" mode"Why don't we recognize your device?

You are using a device or browser you haven't previously used.

You may have deleted your browser cookies or your browser is set to clear cookies whenever it closes.

You are using "Private Browsing" mode.

The problem started immediately after I did a computer sweep using this thing I downloaded, Onyx. The only logical possibility therefore, is that the Onyx sweep, (or just me clearing my cache to try to get youtube videos to play through without stopping,) erased these "cookies" ...whatever the they are. So far, the only thing Yahoo has told me to do is reset my password. But, as I have tried to tell everyone, the password ISN'T THE PROBLEM.


The very next time I tried to use my email, it started with this whole security question popup window, and I haven't been able to get into my email since.

tried it in Firefox and same result.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Just through simple logic, if the only possibility is that I have accidentally erased some kind of program on my computer that allowed me to get into my email, I have to restore it.

Unfortunately, thus far, the only instructions I have found for restoring browser settings are starting over my head. I read these instructions, for example, and had no idea what they were asking

Anonymous said...

Restoring anything won't work. They've locked your account on their side, not yours.
Yahoo is extremely literal about the format of yor answer to the secret question; if the right answer is St. Odo and you omit the punctuation, get the case wrong, write Saint for St, etc., it will lock you out. You probably have the right answer but it's looking for a certain format.
In dealing with Yahoo's customer disservice system, I usually hit the 0 key and bellow "representative" into the mouthpiece until it capitulates.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...


I think I've given up and have started drinking. It's a solution that has worked so many times in the past.

Unknown said...

My condolences and may I suggest some good chocolate to accompany the alcohol?

Graham Copsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I once forgot my password after I changed it (you know, because everyone says it's a good idea to change it periodically). I knew my secret answer, but I got myself locked out of Yahoo as well.

I used a different email account to write to Yahoo's customer service address, explained my problem. They initially said more or less what they told you. I tried again; got locked out again. I wrote and told them, giving them information about my account -- who I'd written to last, the types of messages that were in my "In" box the last time I accessed it -- that sort of thing. They likely heaved a big sigh and said, "All right ... give us this that and the other" -- information that I entered when I set up my account for the first time. Luckily, I knew more or less what I had entered, plus I knew the secret answer -- just couldn't remember if I'd abbreviated a part of it, done strange capitalization, etc. I begged. They granted. But it took almost a week. Still, I'm very, very grateful, and I hope this helps you.


Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

A few months ago, Yahoo shut down its customer services. So I'm told.