'One billion' affected by Yahoo hack

'One billion' affected by Yahoo hack

15 December, 09:56 47
'One billion' affected by Yahoo hack

Yahoo has said more than one billion user accounts may have been affected in a hacking attack dating back to 2013, the BBC reported.

The internet giant said it appeared separate from a 2014 breach disclosed in September, when Yahoo revealed 500 million accounts had been accessed.

Yahoo said names, phone numbers, passwords and email addresses were stolen, but not bank and payment data.

The company, which is being taken over by Verizon, said it was working closely with the police and authorities.

Yahoo said in a statement that it "believes an unauthorized third party, in August 2013, stole data associated with more than one billion user accounts."

The breach "is likely distinct from the incident the company disclosed on September 22, 2016".

However, the three-year-old hack was uncovered as part of continuing investigations by authorities and security experts into the 2014 breach, Yahoo said.

Account users were urged to change their passwords and security questions.

Vulnerability

Cybersecurity expert Troy Hunt told the BBC "This would be far and away the largest data breach we've ever seen. In fact, the 500 million they reported a few months ago would have been, and to see that number now double is unprecedented.

"Yahoo hasn't attributed the attack to any state-sponsored activity as they did with the previous incident. They've referred to the tampering of cookies, though, which gives us some useful insight into where the vulnerability may have existed in their system."

When Yahoo, in September, disclosed the 2014 data breach, it said information had been "stolen by what we believe is a state-sponsored actor". Yahoo did not say which country it held responsible.

Yahoo has come under pressure to disclose why it took so long for that breach to be made public.

The California-based company has more than a billion monthly active users, although many people have multiple accounts. There are also many accounts that are little used or dormant.

The latest disclosure raises fresh questions about Verizon's $4.8bn proposed acquisition of Yahoo, and whether the US mobile carrier will try to modify or abandon its bid.

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