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Yahoo says hackers stole information from over 1B accounts

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Yahoo said it believes hackers stole data from more than one billion user accounts in August 2013.

NEW YORK >> Yahoo says it believes hackers stole data from more than one billion user accounts in August 2013, in what is thought to be the largest data breach at an email provider.

The Sunnyvale, California, company was also home to what’s now most likely the second largest hack in history, one that exposed 500 million Yahoo accounts . The company disclosed that breach in September. Yahoo said it hasn’t identified the intrusion associated with this theft.

Yahoo says the information stolen may include names, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdates and security questions and answers. The company says it believes bank-account information and payment-card data were not affected.

But the company said hackers may have also stolen passwords from the affected accounts. Technically, those passwords should be secure; Yahoo said they were scrambled twice — once by encryption and once by another technique called hashing. But hackers have become adept at cracking secured passwords by assembling huge dictionaries of similarly scrambled phrases and matching them against stolen password databases.

That could mean trouble for any users who reused their Yahoo password for other online accounts.

QUESTIONS FOR VERIZON

The new hack revelation raises fresh questions about Verizon’s $4.8 billion proposed acquisition of Yahoo, and whether the big mobile carrier will seek to modify or abandon its bid. If the hacks cause a user backlash against Yahoo, the company’s services wouldn’t be as valuable to Verizon. The telecom giant wants Yahoo and its many users to help it build a digital ad business.

In a statement, Verizon said that it will evaluate the situation as Yahoo investigates and will review the “new development before reaching any final conclusions.” Spokesman Bob Varettoni declined to answer further questions.

Yahoo said Wednesday that it is requiring users to change their passwords and invalidating security questions so they can’t be used to hack into accounts.

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  • Credit card and bank account and similar information that links to access for funds should not be retained by companies. Instead we need a system that uses biometric (fingerprint matching, for example) which can also be backed up by face recognition to access highly secure payment servers with data spread so it must be assembled to be transmitted to the payee. There are other proposals for security that can deal with these problems and we need to implement them to prevent these hacks.

    • Orrrrrrr, not use the internet system. Go old school, then no worries.
      Like I’ve been saying for years-Eventually, our technology will be our demise as a human race. We are becoming so dependent upon it that once the hackers, solar flares or just a complete breakdown of our grid system will create problems with our whole system of electric, internet, and other infrastructural abilities.

  • Or… two-factor authentication. I was about to say that nobody still has information on Yahoo but then I remembered a friend who still has an AOL email address and Ken Conklin who still has his ancient web presence on angelfire. (Ken, 1995 called and they want their web presence back đŸ™‚ )

  • So Yahoo’s golden recommendation is for users to “immediately change their passwords”. Great. Kinda too little too late, isn’t it?? The breach has already happened. Sorta like locking the barn door after the horse wanders away.

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