In 2001 I paid $14.99 for a lifetime account at VFEmail. I used it as my primary email host for a short time, as it was a pretty inexpensive IMAP email host back in the days when getting IMAP support outside of college or corporate email systems was quite rare. I stopped using it because it would go down from time to time, which is frustrating. I now use it only to get status emails sent by my home server (FreeNAS), which are relatively unimportant and anonymous. I keep thinking about using it more, because I love pure IMAP email, but now I am glad I did not.

I saw today that mail could not be fetched, and I found out that VFEmail was hacked, and everything for its US customers (including me, of course) has been destroyed. This is the message on the home page right now:

!!!ALERT!!!! Update Feb 11 2019 and are currently unavailable. We have suffered catastrophic destruction at the hands of a hacker, last seen as aktv@ This person has destroyed all data in the US, both primary and backup systems. We are working to recover what data we can.

That is just devastating. Fortunately for me, I am not very much affected by the data loss, but I wonder how the other customers must feel.

VFEmail is a very small company. Originally it was just one guy. I feel really bad for him (or them, or whoever is running it now). I hope it can recover.