Security: Unclear on the Concept

image I recently accepted SallieMae’s constant suggestions that I should switch to receiving all of their communications via e-mail instead of paper mail. (I was holding out for a small decrease in my outstanding debt since I’d be saving them a lot in postage over the next 15 years, but we never did see eye to eye on that one.) Anyway, today I received my first "official" e-communication from them. It was a simple e-mail telling me that my account had been updated and my new bill was available for viewing on their Web site. So far, so good.

Attached was a 48k PDF file. Using Outlook 2007 I clicked on the attachment to preview it. This failed for an unspecified reason. So, I double-clicked the attached file to open it in Adobe Reader. At this point I was prompted for a password. I drew a blank. But then something made me try my Social Security Number as the password and viola, the document opened. It was the exact same text that was in the body of the e-mail message but this one was on SallieMae letterhead.

WTF? Either send me something that deserves to be behind a password or don’t. Don’t send me text "protected" by a password that’s also being sent in the clear in a standard unsecured e-mail message.

SallieMae, just what point are you trying to make here?

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