Allegedly ‘state sponsored’ hackers stole information from 500 million Yahoo users in what is now probably the largest cyber-breach in history. More astonishingly, were that the breaches occurred in 2014, but are just now being brought to light. The breach involved large amounts of personal information, names and emails as well as unencrypted security questions and answers. Stolen information included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth and encrypted passwords, however not credit card data.
Yahoo claims that the breach was conducted by a “state-sponsored actor”, used for political gain, yet it did not state which country they held responsible. Its reasoning was a result of three unnamed US intelligence officials, saying they believed the attack was state-sponsored because it appeared similar to previous hacks linked to Russian intelligence agencies. The news first emerged last month when a hacker named ‘Peace’, attempted to steal and sell data from 200 million Yahoo accounts. Once this and further hacks were cited, Yahoo claimed that the threat was much bigger than they had previously assumed.
To tackle this, Yahoo is urging its users who haven’t changed their passwords in the last two years to do so immediately.
This issue causes a lot of speculation regarding Yahoo’s issue, in particular concerning the Yahoo Organization itself. They say that no payment info or passwords were encrypted, yet if the information stolen wasn’t for financial gain, then why was data being sold online? Another conjecture is why Yahoo took two years to discover that it was being hacked at such a massive scale, as well as warn its users to secure their accounts. Also, there are only allegations, no evidence points out the hacks being state-sponsored. And why Marissa Mayer, a chief executive of Yahoo who is known to be a part of bad deals and now the biggest breach in internet history, still in charge?
Verizon, US telecom giant, who bought Yahoo for a proposed $4.8 billion, you could assume, were quite astonished by this news, claiming that they did not know of the security breaches until a few days ago.
This is probably not the last we’ll hear of this news, as Yahoo will probably be placed under intense inspection, by the media, regulators, and public for allowing such a massive scale breach to slip right through their fingers. As for those with Yahoo accounts, it’s best you take some time to change your passwords.