For some time, the once mighty Yahoo company has been struggling to maintain its former popularity, and the latest Yahoo security breach is not dong them any favor.
The hackers managed to get away with sensitive information from about 500 million accounts. Some speculate this is the largest attack of its kind on a single email provider. Yahoo was already in trouble. It seems during the past years, Yahoo has been unable to keep up the pace with its competition, such as Google, or Facebook. Yahoo has been losing users, traffic and advertising.
This major slip up could bring all the issue Yahoo’s been facing sharply into the foreground. Already, there have been some to joke about the situation, arguing that this would have been a catastrophe if anyone actually used Yahoo anymore.
But the fact of the matter is 500 million people were victims of this attack. If these people decide to leave Yahoo, this could spell disaster for the company, that is now negotiating a deal to become part of Verizon for $4.8 billion.
Yahoo has been losing users at an alarming rate. In July, they had about 161 million users worldwide using Yahoo mail on their personal computers. Though this may seem impressive, that’s almost a third less than last year. And the numbers are even more alarming when you consider the fact that Google has nearly 5 times that number of users, and theirs have been going up.
Yahoo Security Breach Could Have Dire Consequences
Now, many fear that Yahoo is losing its ability to protect users’ data, and generally maintain security. During the past 8 years, the company has been reducing staff, and trying to keep expenses as low as possible, in an effort to counteract its massive losses.
When the break-in occurred, last year, Alex Stamos was the leader of the security team. He left Yahoo during that year, to become part of the Facebook team, occupying a similar position.
So far, the company hasn’t explained why it took them so long to uncover the Yahoo security breach. The company blamed the attack on “state-sponsored actor”. The term refers to hackers that are working for a country’s government. Company officials refused to say how they arrived at this conclusion, citing security reasons.
In July, a tech site called Motherboard announced that there was a hacker, going by the name of Peace, trying to sell information from about 200 million Yahoo accounts.
Yahoo looked into this, but couldn’t find evidence of that hack. They did reportedly discover a far larger Yahoo security breach.
This is the largest security breach of its kind in history. It’s the first time so many accounts from one single email provider were hacked. And the extent of the stolen information is quite alarming. Hackers managed to get users’ names, phone numbers, birth dates and even scrambled passwords and security questions and answers. Yahoo mentioned, however, that the attackers did not get any bank account information.
Yahoo recommends that all its users change their account passwords, if they haven’t done so since 2014. They also advise users who use the same password on other websites to change those ones as well.
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