On Wednesday, Yahoo officially announced that an unauthorized third party had stolen data associated with more than one billion user accounts in August 2013. According to the long-troubled company, the exposed accounts may include “names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (using MD5) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.”
The good news, however, is that the investigation suggest that the stolen data does not include passwords in clear text or any credit card or bank related information. Yahoo has already invalidated the forged cookies and made some much-needed changes to its system to bolster its security, and if your account was exposed in this titanic security breach, then you should have received a notification from Yahoo itself.
We are notifying potentially affected users and have taken steps to secure their accounts, including requiring users to change their passwords. We have also invalidated unencrypted security questions and answers so that they cannot be used to access an account… We continuously enhance our safeguards and systems that detect and prevent unauthorized access to user accounts.
The search engine has been in close contact with Verizon regarding its potential acquisition of Yahoo – a sad $4.8 billion deal – and it’s not clear whether this gobsmacking disaster would affect the deal. It’s alleged that Verizon cut the valuation further by $1 billion after the 2014 hack revelation, and it’s expected the North American carrier will reconsider the value given Yahoo’s continuous pattern of serious failures.
Yahoo’s downhill began quite some time ago, even before Mayer’s taking the CEO position. But compounded by her highly questionable acquisitions and hiring choices and simple lack of action, what was once a flourishing search engine has now become an antiquated and even dangerous site. If you still use Yahoo, I strongly encourage you to change your personal information, or better yet, deactivate it completely.
If you still use Yahoo, I strongly encourage you to change your personal information, or better yet, deactivate it completely.