The hits keep on coming for Internet search giant Yahoo. The company officially confirmed today that an attack in late 2014 compromised at least 500 million accounts. No reason was offered on why it took almost two years to announce the breach.
What you should do
The company posted a short release to its investor site:
A recent investigation by Yahoo! Inc. has confirmed that a copy of certain user account information was stolen from the company’s network in late 2014 by what it believes is a state-sponsored actor. The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. The ongoing investigation suggests that stolen information did not include unprotected passwords, payment card data, or bank account information; payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system that the investigation has found to be affected. 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 company said it will be notifying users that may have been affected and offer some steps to protect and secure their accounts. Some steps include invalidating unencrypted security questions and answers and changing their passwords. Even if you don’t receive any type of notice, you should change your password if it hasn’t been updated since 2014:
Yahoo 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. The company further recommends that users avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails and that they be cautious of unsolicited communications that ask for personal information. Additionally, Yahoo asks users to consider using Yahoo Account Key, a simple authentication tool that eliminates the need to use a password altogether.
Verizon announced its intent to purchased Yahoo for $4.83 billion back in July. But this news could possibly affect the acquisition.