POSTED: 7:15 a.m. HST, Jul 12, 2012
LONDON >> Yahoo Inc. said it is investigating reports of a security breach that may have exposed nearly half a million users’ email addresses and passwords.
The company said it was looking into “claims of a compromise of Yahoo! user IDs” but did not disclose the size of the reported breach or how it may have happened. Yahoo’s Head of U.K. Consumer PR Caroline MacLeod-Smith said that she couldn’t immediately provide any more detail on the breach “as we are still investigating it.”
Reuters and technology news websites including CNET, Ars Technica, and Mashable cited hackers calling themselves the D33D Company as claiming responsibility for the attack, adding that data posted to the group’s website carried more than 453,000 login credentials from an unidentified Yahoo subdomain.
The little-known group was quoted as saying that they had stolen the passwords using an SQL injection — the name given to a commonly-used attack in which hackers use rogue commands to extract data from vulnerable websites.
“We hope that the parties responsible for managing the security of this subdomain will take this as a wake-up call,” the group was quoted as saying.
A Ukraine-registered website associated with D33D Company appeared to be unreachable Thursday; an email address and a phone number attributed to the site’s registrant appeared to be invalid.
The Yahoo e-mail accounts of at least 10 foreign journalists based in China and Taiwan were hacked in March 2010, according to Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based press freedom group. Yahoo said in an e-mailed statement in response to the breach that it “condemns all cyber attacks regardless of origin or purpose.”
Google Inc. said in January 2010 that it was one of at least 20 companies targeted in a “highly sophisticated” computer attack directed at e-mail accounts of human rights activists. That month, Yahoo was targeted by a Chinese attack similar to the one that affected Google, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Yahoo dropped 1.3 percent to $15.60 at 10:27 a.m. in New York. The shares had declined 2 percent this year through yesterday.