Thu, Oct 05, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Yahoo triples number of breached accounts

AP, BOSTON

Yahoo Inc has tripled down on what was already the largest data breach in history, saying it affected all 3 billion accounts on its service, not the 1 billion it revealed late last year.

The company on Tuesday announced that it has sent e-mails providing notice to additional user accounts affected by the August 2013 data theft.

The breach now affects a number that represents nearly “half the world,” said Sam Curry, chief security officer for Boston-based firm Cybereason, though there is likely to be more accounts than actual users.

“Whether it’s 1 billion or 3 billion is largely immaterial. Assume it affects you,” Curry said. “Privacy is really the victim here.”

Yahoo first disclosed the breach in December last year. The stolen information included names, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, and security questions and answers.

Following its acquisition by Verizon Communications Inc in June, Yahoo says, it obtained new intelligence while investigating the breach with help from outside forensic experts. It says the stolen customer information did not include passwords in clear text, payment card data or bank account information.

Yahoo had already required users to change their passwords and invalidate security questions so they could not be used to hack into accounts.

The disclosure is also a huge embarrassment for Verizon, which has just started running TV ads for its new subsidiary Oath, which will consist of Yahoo’s and AOL Inc’s services.

Verizon spokesman David Samberg said the company has no regrets about buying Yahoo, despite the latest revelation.

Companies often do not know the full extent of a breach and have to revise statements about how it affects customers years later, said Ben Johnson, cofounder and chief technology officer for Obsidian Security Inc, based in Newport Beach, California.

Johnson said Yahoo might never know exactly what was accessed.

“The fact is attackers are having field days and the problem is only going to get worse,” he said.

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