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This is among the biggest data breaches in recent years and will terrify many of the remaining Yahoo users. From being among the top internet companies, Yahoo has become a marginal player now after losing much of its sheen over the last couple of years. The latest data breached revealed now will further dent the credibility of what used to be among the top internet companies in the world.
Reports suggest that hackers swiped pilfered personal information from at least 500 million Yahoo accounts in the year 2014. In the present scenario, this must comprise the majority of the Yahoo users across the world.
Yahoo has revealed that computer hackers stole personal data of 500 million users. The unprecedented security breach was revealed to the world Thursday. The tech company has accused a “state-sponsored actor” – parlance for a hacker working on behalf of a foreign government.
Reports suggest that the California-based company did not explain what took so long to uncover the breach, and declined to explain how it reached its conclusions about the hacker. It said, however, it was working with the FBI and other law enforcement as part of its ongoing investigation. The stolen data includes users’ names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, scrambled passwords, and security questions – and answers – used to verify an account holder’s identity.
In the meantime, the delayed revelation of the security breach will further dent Yahoo’s image. Last month, the tech site Motherboard reported that a hacker who uses the name “Peace” boasted that he had account information belonging to 200m Yahoo users and was trying to sell the data on the web. Yahoo is recommending that users change their passwords if they haven’t done so since 2014. The company said the attacker didn’t get any information about its users’ bank accounts or credit and debit cards.
The data breach poses new headaches for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer as she tries to close a $4.8bn sale to Verizon Communication.
In the meantime the report of the security lapse, which dates back to late 2014, could cause some people to have second thoughts about relying on Yahoo services, and raise questions about the checks and balances within the company. The sale to Verizon, announced two months ago, is not 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.