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Yahoo Email Service Gets Worst Hack Ever: 500 Million Accounts Hacked, Company Confirms

Yahoo Email Service Gets Worst Hack Ever: 500 Million Accounts Hacked, Company Confirms

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First Posted: Sep 23, 2016 05:52 AM EDT
Yahoo Website Hacked
The account hack that actually took place back in 2014, may have revealed details of 500 million users.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images)

Yahoo Inc. stated in a press release on Thursday that at least 500 million of its email accounts were hacked in 2014 by what is believed to be a state-sponsored performer. The theft is reported to be the world's biggest data breach in history.

The account hack that actually took place back in 2014, may have revealed details of the users including their email addresses, names, phone numbers, birth dates and in some cases even the security questions and answers, Yahoo stated in its press release. Encrypted passwords which are usually jumbled so that only the right person with the passcode can read them were also stolen in the data theft.


The email service provider, which is currently in the process of its acquisition to Verizon, said earlier that it's been working very closely with the law enforcements to nab the hackers, who it has earlier stated as the state-sponsored actors. Yahoo didn't reveal the country which it assumes was behind the breach. Yahoo has also urged the users to have their passwords changed if they haven't done it already since 2014. The company has about a 1 billion monthly email users including its other internet services as well which spans finance, online shopping as well as fantasy football.

The Data breach is a reminder of how extensive hacking is, it also highlights the vulnerability of information theft and passwords, states a report on CBS news. Cyber-security specialists have recommended using different passwords for other accounts the users have on the internet as the Hackers may use the data they have to access them. According to Reuters.com, Other experts are also working on modern day alternatives such as those including biometrics like your fingerprint or retina.


"Cyber-criminals are very well aware that the users have the same passwords for different websites, which is why the leaked password details are useful for continuing frauds," said executive director of the FIDO Alliance, Brett McDowell. Verizon, which is to pay $4.83 billion for the acquisition of Yahoo, said earlier that it was only notified of the massive data breach in the last two days. The telecom giant only had very limited information and little understanding of its impact, according to an official statement. B. Riley with Co. analyst Sameet Sinha in an interview with The Wall Street Journal stated the breach is not likely to have any effect on Yahoos sale to Verizon.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, that investigates cyber hacks and data breaches, stated the hack is the largest-ever disclosed breach. Yahoo has already taken steps to protect its consumers, but the real risk is with the hackers using the hacked email passwords on other websites.

Jeremiah Grossman, the former Yahoo information security officer, stated that giant internet companies continuously face challenges to protect its consumer details as there are many points of entry for hackers. "It's quite unsurprising when these huge breaches take place," Grossman said. "Yahoo isn't the first and it certainly won't be the last."

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