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You cannot safely use plusnet email on an iPhone, smartphone or laptop!

maxspicer
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎25-04-2010

You cannot safely use plusnet email on an iPhone, smartphone or laptop!

As far as I can tell, plusnet do not offer a way to securely check or send email over POP, IMAP or SSL.  This means that to access your email from the email client on an iPhone or other smartphone you have to configure it to send your username and password unencrypted.  Once you've done this, the phone will automatically send your details over any unencrypted, public wi-fi network that you connect to.  It would then be pretty easy for any hacker on that network to find out your username and password and so access your email (and anything else you have the same password for).  The same applies to accessing your email from an email program on your laptop etc.
This is a big problem for me, and I think it's incredible that plusnet still do not offer secure email.  Why is this still the case, especially given the prevalence now of public wi-fi hot spots?  The only way to get secure email with plusnet appears to be to stop using plusnet for email and move over to gmail or similar!  Or is it time to look for a different broadband provider instead?
7 REPLIES
Not applicable

Re: You cannot safely use plusnet email on an iPhone, smartphone or laptop!

Well, I might be mistaken, but don't most ISPs offer non-SSL webmail?
There are plenty of free email accounts which offer SSL and can easily be configured to collect messages from Squirrelmail.
Gmail, GMX, Yahoo and Zoho are well-known ones. I prefer the latter as it has a lovely clear interface and does not have the dreadful threading of emails that Gmail has. Also, no adverts.
They can also be configured to show your Plusnet address for sending messages.
I wouldn't change ISP just for that reason but if it really bothers you then you would need to check around. One company is Sky - it uses Gmail.
maxspicer
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎25-04-2010

Re: You cannot safely use plusnet email on an iPhone, smartphone or laptop!

I'm not looking for webmail though.  I want to be able to use my phone's built-in email app, accessing my plusnet email over IMAP and SMTP.  If I'm forced to use webmail, I get none of the advantages of a native app, e.g. notification of new emails, on-screen widgets showing latest emails etc etc.  I too am not a great fan of gmail, which is partly why I want to be able to safely use my plusnet email on my phone.
It's almost disingenuous these days to offer IMAP and SMTP as a supported plusnet offering when in fact they don't offer secure access to these services.  Does anyone know why plusnet don't support this?  Have they mentioned any plans to implement this in the (very) near future?
I notice that plusnet have instructions on their website saying how to set up an iphone to access plusnet email.  These instructions specifically highlight that the iphone complains about the lack of SSL support.  However, they don't warn the user that setting up the iphone in this way is dangerous if they are going to use public wi-fi networks.  I think this is actually a bit irresponsible.
Max
Quote from: poppy
Well, I might be mistaken, but don't most ISPs offer non-SSL webmail?
There are plenty of free email accounts which offer SSL and can easily be configured to collect messages from Squirrelmail.
Gmail, GMX, Yahoo and Zoho are well-known ones. I prefer the latter as it has a lovely clear interface and does not have the dreadful threading of emails that Gmail has. Also, no adverts.
They can also be configured to show your Plusnet address for sending messages.
I wouldn't change ISP just for that reason but if it really bothers you then you would need to check around. One company is Sky - it uses Gmail.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
Thanks: 12
Registered: ‎02-02-2008

Re: You cannot safely use plusnet email on an iPhone, smartphone or laptop!

Quote from: maxspicer
  I think this is actually a bit irresponsible.

Well, it's a free basic email service provided with your broadband connection. Many ISP's don't even provide that any more.
If you can afford an iPhone you can also afford a more secure email service.  Wink
Lurker
Grafter
Posts: 1,867
Registered: ‎23-10-2008

Re: You cannot safely use plusnet email on an iPhone, smartphone or laptop!

I find it funny that you would choose to connect to a network you don't trust, and then send *any* details/data across it.
I can take the point about security, and how it could be improved on PN's offering, but we have to be realistic about things.
Everything has a cost - and in terms of security, the cost is increased processor cycles being required, plus extra bandwidth required to transmit the secured/hashed data as well as perform the initial handshake.
Multiply that out amongst all the customers, then multiply by a further factor to account for customers who have more than one address, and so on.
You can see that all of a sudden PN would have to either charge more, or devalue the amount spent on other things, such as bandwidth.
I reckon on the whole, people would rather that the core service they pay for is as good as it can be.
MrC
Grafter
Posts: 523
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎17-07-2008

Re: You cannot safely use plusnet email on an iPhone, smartphone or laptop!

Quote from: maxspicer
I too am not a great fan of gmail, which is partly why I want to be able to safely use my plusnet email on my phone.

TBH Gmail is probably the best around at the moment for the cost (ie nil) and functionality. By front-ending it with other clients you don't have to use their webmail client plus you get to use their calendaring etc.
It's also possible to set things up to use Gmail to read and send your PN email (by forwarding your PN email to Gmail and by configuring Gmail to send email using your PN address as the From: header - covered at http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en-GB&ctx=mail&answer=22370).
Not applicable

Re: You cannot safely use plusnet email on an iPhone, smartphone or laptop!

I don't know how the iphone widget works 'cos I have never had one but is it not possible to just have your Plusnet emails collected by a free (SSL) provider then set up this to forward to your application?
I know that it sounds a bit long-winded but maybe it will work? Clearly you don't like Gmail but as I referred to before, take a look at Zoho which can be configured to collect mail and to forward via POP3 or IMAP using SSL.  Have set it up easily on Windows Live Mail but not sure if you could do it on iphone?  Just because you have to subscribe to a webmail service shouldn't mean that you have to use it for anything other than forwarding.
Sorry if this is no good and won't work - just trying to help.
maxspicer
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎25-04-2010

Re: You cannot safely use plusnet email on an iPhone, smartphone or laptop!

Thanks for the suggestions and help.  I'll take a look into Zoho - I hadn't realised they were more than just webmail before.
I don't mean to bash plusnet here, but I am a bit dissappointed.  I chose plusnet many years ago as they stood out from the competion as offering far more than just a good internet connection.  These days they have moved away from this.  I can fully understand why they would no longer want to offer inclusive web hosting, smtp delivery of emails, MySQL etc, but am I really the only one who just wants internet + decent email from my ISP?
R.e. connecting to an untrusted network - I fully agree.  However, this sadly doesn't fit in with the current model for providing internet in hotels, bars, airports etc etc.  Most users will just connect to whatever they can.  It would be nice if plusnet could at least offer them a secure way of doing this.
I've not actually got an iPhone, by the way.  I'm an Android user.  The platform is irrelevant though - I'm just using IMAP+SMTP.
Max