Joining the list of global companies who have faced users’ data breach in the recent past, a Yahoo investigation has confirmed that at least 500 million user accounts were hacked in late 2014 which, it believes, was a “state-sponsored” attack.
The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers,” Yahoo revealed in a statement late Thursday.
Online intrusions and thefts by state-sponsored actors have become increasingly common across the technology industry including professional social network LinkedIn, micro-blogging website Twitter and file hosting service Dropbox, to name a few.
According to Yahoo’s Chief Information Security Officer Bob Lord, the information was stolen from the company’s network in late 2014.
Based on the ongoing investigation, Yahoo believes that information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen and the investigation has found no evidence that the state-sponsored actor is currently in Yahoo’s network.
Yahoo is working closely with law enforcement on this matter. The breach could also impact Yahoo’s $4.8 billion sale of its core business to Verizon. Yahoo has notified potentially affected users and has taken steps to secure their accounts. These steps include invalidating unencrypted security questions and answers so that they cannot be used to access an account and asking potentially affected users to change their passwords.
Yahoo has recommended that users who have not changed their passwords since 2014 to do so. & also encourages users to review their online accounts for suspicious activity and to change their password and security questions and answers for any other accounts on which they use the same or similar information used for their Yahoo account.
Yahoo further recommends that users avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails and unsolicited communications that ask for personal information.