Yahoo hack is a reminder that nothing is safe


24 September, 2016

Yahoo! Inc. on Friday confirmed that personal information associated with at least 500 million accounts was stolen from company's networks and has blamed "state-sponsored" hackers.

Other than the immediate concern of a password being compromised, there is additional information that was stolen such as the answer to security challenge questions, phone numbers, linked email addresses and dates of birth.

The company says the stolen information does not include unprotected passwords, payment card data, or bank account information, which is not stored in the system that was targeted. The company said the attacker didn't get any information about its users' bank accounts or credit and debit cards.

Yahoo didn't explain what took so long to uncover a heist that it blamed on a "state-sponsored actor" - parlance for a hacker working on behalf of a foreign government.

"Online intrusions and thefts by state-sponsored actors have become increasingly common across the technology industry".

According to Recode, which broke news of the Yahoo hack, sources at Verizon said they weren't aware of how bad the attack was until recently and that Yahoo executives didn't alert them during the bidding process.

Verizon has confirmed it was only informed of the breach within the last two days, and said it would "evaluate as the investigation continues". We believe this high "dwell time" achieved by the hackers is remarkable since Yahoo has one of the most sophisticated security infrastructures in the world. "We advise customers generally to reset their password regularly and we will be contacting affected customers specifically to help them keep their information safe", a spokesperson told TechWeekEurope. Here are some answers to basic questions that you may have about the breach. Verizon's July purchase of Yahoo cost $4.8 billion.

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Colburn said hackers will attempt to capitalize on fear generated by news of the Yahoo breach.

Data protection law specialist Kathryn Wynn of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said that regulators are likely to seek an explanation from the internet company over the timing of its notification of the breach. If the same password is used to access other sites, it should be changed too, as should any security questions similar to those used on Yahoo.

Yahoo is asking affected users to change passwords, and recommending anyone who has not done so since 2014 to take the same action as a precaution.

Users with Yahoo Account Key don't need passwords to sign into their accounts.

Yahoo users should be cautious of all unsolicited communications that ask for personal information, the company said. The company didn't identify the country believed to be involved in the hack.

It's not just BT customers who may be surprised to learn they have a Yahoo account.

Yahoo did not find any evidence to substantiate the claim but chose to launch a wider probe into the security of its systems, resulting in this week's findings.

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