Stunned reaction to this latest Yahoo data breach
Struggling company admits 1 billion accounts were compromised
December 15, 2016
It took months for Yahoo to find a suitor willing to take it on with all of its problems.
But with the latest revelation of a serious data breach, it may have driven that suitor away.
Verizon’s deal to buy the company is now suddenly in doubt after Yahoo admitted Wednesday that hackers had stolen personal data for more than 1 billion of its accounts three years ago.
Yes, that’s billion, with a B.
The revelation came just months after Yahoo revealed a 2014 data breach that impacted some 500 million accounts. At the time, the company said it was the work of “state-sponsored” hackers.
This latest breach was apparently unrelated and occurred in August of 2013. It’s believed to be the largest hack ever, by a large margin.
The previous hack is the second-largest. The third largest involved 130 million at Heartland Payment Systems in 2009.
No identification of the hackers yet
Details about the hack are scant.
Yahoo has not identified who was behind it yet but said it believes it has since secured its network from them.
The information stolen included names, telephone numbers, passwords, dates of birth and email addresses.
The company advised any users to change their passwords immediately, just as it did three months ago when it disclosed the earlier hack.
Questions about Verizon deal
The revelation throws into doubt the acquisition of Yahoo by Verizon, which had bid $4.83 billion for the struggling internet giant over the summer, after months on the market.
In September, when the first breach was disclosed, Verizon was said to be reevaluating the deal. It believes the breaches are, at the very least, an opportunity to renegotiate terms of the deal.
“We will evaluate the situation as Yahoo continues its investigation,” Verizon said in a statement on Wednesday. “We will review the impact of this new development before reaching any final conclusions.”
It’s unclear as of yet what sort of liabilities Yahoo may face over the data breach, which will influence Verizon’s decision.
Why wasn’t it caught sooner?
Surely a big question on the mind of Verizon executives is why the three-year-old breach is just being revealed now.
One possibility is that Yahoo was hiding the information and didn’t realize it, which is clearly problematic.
But so is the other possibility–that the company did not know about the breach until now, which speaks to a level of incompetence and raises the question of what else Verizon doesn’t know.
Either way, it’s a bad situation for Yahoo, which has struggled under CEO Marissa Mayer and the many before her.
If the Verizon deal falls through, it’s unclear what Yahoo’s future would be–if any.
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