Hackers Compromise 500 Million Yahoo Accounts
On Thursday, Yahoo Inc. said that in 2014 information had been stolen from at least 500 million of their user accounts. This theft appears to be the biggest cyber breach to be seen and the company believed that it was a state-sponsored actor. It said that these cyber criminals may have gotten away with email addresses, names, dates of birth, email addresses and encrypted passwords. Yahoo said that payment card data, unprotected passwords and bank account information didn’t appear to have been compromised, which meant that most of the valuable user data was left intact. Experts regarded it as the biggest data breach ever.
They said that it was too early to assume what the impacts of the breach were on the company and the users themselves as there were still a lot of unanswered questions, which included the identity of the hackers sponsored by state who were responsible. It was not apparent when Yahoo had found out about the breach and neither was it clear why it had taken two years for news of this breach to come to light. There have been other corporate breaches like the one at eBay that also occurred in 2014 and compromised the information of about 145 million users, but the size of the attack carried out at Yahoo was most definitely unprecedented.
According to internet security experts, there have been a number of large-scale data breaches, but the Yahoo breach could turn out to be a watershed event that can prompt businesses and governments alike to put in some extra effort into bolstering their defenses. It is a fact that majority of the Fortune 500 companies have been victims of these hacks and the only difference is that these breaches are now publicly disclosed instead of just being swept under the rug. It was said by three US intelligence officials who wish to remain anonymous that they had concluded the attack to be sponsored by the state because it was similar to previous attacks that had been traced back to Russian intelligence agencies or cyber criminals acting at their instructions.
Yahoo said that they were working on the matter with law enforcement. The US Secret Service didn’t comment on the matter, but the FBI said that they were working on it. The company said that their investigation had not revealed as yet that the state sponsored hacker was part of Yahoo’s network. Shares of Yahoo saw a slight boost and there was also a 1% increase in the share price of Verizon Communications, which is purchasing the company’s internet business. It remains unclear as to how Yahoo’s deal with Verizon will be affected due to this revelation.
Verizon is purchasing Yahoo’s internet business for $4.83 billion and the agreement was announced in July. It said that they had been made aware of the breach within the last two days and their information on the matter was limited. They said that they will evaluate and take the interests of the company, their shareholders, customers and related communities into consideration.