In December 2016, Yahoo revealed it had been hacked back in 2013. It was reported at the time that this security breach by an “unauthorized third party” saw the user data associated with 1 billion accounts stolen. However, it turns out that this epic hack was even worse than Yahoo thought.
This hack didn’t just affect 1 billion random Yahoo users. Instead, it hit every single Yahoo account that existed in August 2013. And there were 3 billion of them at the time. Let that sink in for just a minute: 3. billion. accounts. Making it the largest data breach in history. That we know of…
The Most Epic Security Breach Ever Recorded
Since Yahoo first disclosed the hack Verizon has acquired the company. During that acquisition new intelligence was uncovered that clued Yahoo into the fact it had underestimated just how epic this hack was. Rather than “just” 1 billion users being affected, all 3 billion users were caught up in it.
Yahoo has subsequently sent out a notice revealing the truth. The company states it now believes that “all Yahoo user accounts were affected by the August 2013 theft”. And Yahoo, now called Oath, has drawn this conclusion “following an investigation with the assistance of outside forensic experts”.
Thankfully, although the size of the security breach has been scaled up significantly, the information stolen has remained the same. Which means that “names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords […] and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers” were stolen.
However, Oath (formerly Yahoo) is ultra keen to stress that no “passwords in clear text, payment card data, or bank account information” was stolen from its servers. This should be of some comfort to anyone who had a Yahoo account in 2013. Which is probably most people reading this right now.
Please Follow Yahoo’s Common Sense Advice
Oath has created a full page of FAQs related to this data breach. And this provides the common sense advice the company suggests you follow in order to safeguard your information. Which basically amounts to changing your passwords and security questions and answers for any and all Yahoo accounts, and, crucially, all other accounts that share the same or similar information.
What do you think of the revelation that all 3 billion Yahoo accounts were affected by this security breach? Did you have a Yahoo account in 2013? If so, what steps are you taking to secure your account? Albeit four years too late. Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Christoph Schulz via Flickr
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