Yahoo made a distressing announcement confirming that data, which was associated with a minimum of 500 million accounts, was stolen in one of, if not the most, expansive data breaches of all time.
The company went on to say that it believes that a “state-sponsored actor” was the mastermind behind the data breach, which translates to a person acting on the behalf of a foreign government. If you think this just happened, though, you are incorrect. It occurred in late 2014.
In its statement, Yahoo stated that the information stolen including the names of individuals, their email address, dates of birth, telephone numbers, passwords, and in some cases, security questions and answers.
Yahoo urged all of its users to change their passwords and security questions immediately, and to review their Yahoo accounts for any suspicious activity.
Yahoo stated that if there is one silver lining for anyone involved, it’s that Yahoo believes that there was no sensitive information, such as bank account, credit card or other financial data, stolen in the breach, which frankly is a bunch of malarkey.
First, email accounts are often directly associated with bank and credit card data whenever that email address is used to sign up for the specific bank or credit card account. If a hacker has access to your email accounts, he can reset the password for all your associated bank or credit card accounts.
The internet giant is currently working with law enforcement to further investigate the incident. Even the FBI is involved in this, and also released a statement. A spokesperson from the government agency said that the Bureau is aware of the intrusion and is investigating. The FBI is also taking this very seriously and currently investigating how the breach occurred and who might be responsible.
Rumors of a large-scale data breach surfaced back in August when a known hacker, who calls themselves “Peace,” claimed to be selling data from 200 million Yahoo users. The same person had claimed previously to have stolen LinkedIn and MySpace account information.
At that point, Yahoo said that it was aware of these claims and that they were investigating things further. Now, it turns out that this situation was even worse than they originally thought – and it could affect the online world for years to come.
What Can You Do To Help Protect Your Accounts:
- Change your password every time you are made aware of a breached account.
- Never have the same password for 2 accounts.
- Use upper case, lower case, numbers, and characters.
- Easy to remember, hard to guess passwords are best.
- Use a password manager. This is the best use of your time and money for preventing a breach.
- Enable Yahoo Two Step Verification for account security.
- Invest in identity theft protection because even state sponsored hackers are hacking EVERYONE.