Yahoo Hacks Being Investigated

Maribeth WardTech Tips0 Comments

Do you use a Yahoo email address? If so, you may want to make a change to Gmail or another provider.  Yahoo is currently under investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission for its failure to disclose a massive data breach affecting at least 500 million users.

A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that Yahoo revealed an unidentified hacker had stolen the personal data of its users and over one billion Yahoo user accounts had been compromised in two hacks dating back to August 2013.  Yahoo didn’t announce the breaches until December 2016.

Stolen information included names, email addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, hashed passwords, security questions and answers.

During the December announcement Yahoo stated that its proprietary code had been accessed by a hacker who used the code to forge cookies that could be used to access accounts without a password.  Affected persons should have been notified by Yahoo and told to change their passwords.

Yahoo has yet to explain why it took almost two years to disclose the breach publically, despite having known about it.

The leak was first discovered by security researcher, Andrew Komarov, the chief intelligence officer at InfoArmo.  He found a leaked database of Yahoo user details being sold by a hacking group based in Eastern Europe.  According to statements by Bloomberg, the hackers are professional cybercriminals who typically sell leaked information to spammers.

InfoArmo was able to intercept the database as it was being sold and alerted Yahoo.

The hack is now the largest on record.

Yahoo blamed the first hack on a third-party state-sponsored hacker but has remained silent on who may have carried out the second, much larger attack.

Besides the problem of security for its users, the internet company is also facing issues with a buyout deal with Verizon who is currently negotiating a takeover bid of Yahoo.  They have asked for a $1 billion discount off the original $4.8 billion buyout agreement because of the hacking revelations.  Yahoo did not announce the breach until several months after the deal was announced. (Verizon owns AOL, which is the parent company of TechCrunch).

Yahoo also faced scrutiny over its security practices in October 2016 when Reuters reported the company had scanned all of its users’ accounts in early 2015 at the request of a U.S. intelligence agency.

If you are using a Yahoo email address, we strongly encourage you to switch to a free Gmail account.  We can help you make the change, transfer your emails, contacts and calendars for a small fee.  Call and ask us what you need to do to protect your personal information.

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