500 million+ accounts breached, Yahoo! Calls it ‘state sponsored’

Yahoo and other companies have launched programs to detect and notify users when a company strongly suspects that a state-sponsored actor has targeted an account

In a latest revelation, Yahoo admitted that at least 500 million user accounts were breached in 2014. As per the investigation, user data including names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers were stolen in the cyber attack.

 

Yahoo has alleged it to be a ‘state sponsored’ actor. However, the investigation has found no evidence that the ‘state sponsored’ attacker is still in their network.

 

The company has notified the potentially affected users and is currently invalidating unencrypted security questions and answers so that they cannot be used to access an account and asking potentially affected users to change their passwords.

 

Yahoo has also asked the users who have not changed their passwords since 2014 to do so. Yahoo has also warned its users to –

  • Review their online accounts for suspicious activity
  • Change their password and security questions and answers for any other accounts on which they use the same or similar information used for their Yahoo account
  • Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails and that they be cautious of unsolicited communications that ask for personal information.
  • Consider using Yahoo Account Key - an authentication tool that eliminates the need to use a password altogether

 

Online intrusions and thefts by state-sponsored actors have become increasingly common across the technology industry. Yahoo and other companies have launched programs to detect and notify users when a company strongly suspects that a state-sponsored actor has targeted an account. Since the inception of Yahoo’s program in December 2015, independent of the recent investigation, approximately 10,000 users have received such a notice.


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