Ya­hoo: Hack­ers stole info from 500 mil­lion user ac­counts

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

SAN FRAN­CISCO (AP): Ya­hoo said hack­ers stole per­sonal in­for­ma­tion from 500 mil­lion of its user ac­counts, a mas­sive se­cu­rity break­down it at­trib­uted to a “state-spon­sored ac­tor”. The breach dis­closed yes­ter­day the lat­est set­back for the be­lea­guered In­ter­net com­pany, dates back to late 2014.

That is when high-tech thieves hacked into Ya­hoo’s data cen­tres, the com­pany said. But Ya­hoo only re­cently dis­cov­ered the break-in as part of an on­go­ing in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The stolen data in­cludes users’ names, email ad­dresses, tele­phone num­bers, birth dates, hashed pass­words, and the se­cu­rity ques­tions – and an­swers – used to ver­ify an ac­coun­tholder’s iden­tity.

Last month, the tech site Mother­board re­ported that a hacker who uses the name “Peace” boasted that he had ac­count in­for­ma­tion be­long­ing to 200 mil­lion Ya­hoo users and was try­ing to sell the data on the web.

CHANGE PASS­WORDS

Ya­hoo rec­om­mends that users change their pass­words if they haven’t done so since 2014. The Sun­ny­vale, Cal­i­for­nia, com­pany said its in­ves­ti­ga­tion so far hasn’t found any ev­i­dence that in­for­ma­tion about users’ bank ac­counts or credit and debit cards were swiped in the hack­ing at­tack. It said it has “no ev­i­dence” that the at­tacker is still in Ya­hoo’s net­work.

News of the se­cu­rity lapse could cause some peo­ple to have sec­ond thoughts about re­ly­ing on Ya­hoo’s ser­vices, rais­ing a prickly is­sue for the com­pany as it tries to sell its dig­i­tal op­er­a­tions to Ver­i­zon Com­mu­ni­ca­tions for $4.8 bil­lion.

That deal, an­nounced two months ago, isn’t sup­posed to close un­til early next year. That leaves Ver­i­zon with wig­gle room to rene­go­ti­ate the pur­chase price or even back out if it be­lieves the se­cu­rity breach will harm Ya­hoo’s busi­ness. That could hap­pen if users shun Ya­hoo or file law­suits be­cause they’re in­censed by the theft of their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

Ver­i­zon said it still doesn’t know enough about the Ya­hoo break-in to as­sess the po­ten­tial con­se­quences. “We will eval­u­ate as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues through the lens of over­all Ver­i­zon in­ter­ests, in­clud­ing con­sumers, cus­tomers, share­hold­ers, and re­lated com­mu­ni­ties,” the com­pany said in a statement.

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