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500 Million Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) User Accounts Hacked

Yahoo

Yahoo! Inc. has confirmed that data from ‘at least 500 mn’ users was stolen. It provided details on a large hacking case. It also said that it believes “information associated with at least 500 mn user accounts was stolen”. The firm says its investigation suggests the stolen data doesn’t include payment and bank account information. This, the firm says, are stored in a different system. The firm suspects that a “state-sponsored actor” performed the hack, stealing users’ account information from the firm’s network late in 2014.

Yahoo! Inc.’s Headache is not for Verizon to Cure

That account information could include users’ names, emails, phone numbers, and dates of birth, Yahoo! Inc. says. In some cases, security questions and their answers were also stolen. The firm has published an FAQ page about the security problems. An investigation into the hack is ongoing, Yahoo! Inc. says in a message about the hack. It adds that it is notifying users who may have been affected and is taking steps to secure those accounts. The firm says it’s using email to notify those who were potentially affected; it’s also urging users to change their passwords.

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) Sunnyvale CA

What to do if your information was compromised

Yahoo! has published answers to the most common questions being asked by account holders.

The FAQ page states

“We are notifying potentially affected users by email and posting additional information to our website. Additionally, we are asking potentially affected users to promptly change their passwords and adopt alternate means of account verification.”

Yahoo! encourages users to take the following steps:

  • Change your password and security questions and answers for any other accounts on which you use the same or similar credentials as the ones used for your Yahoo Account.
  • Review your accounts for suspicious activity.
  • Be cautious of any unsolicited communications that ask for your personal information or refer you to a web page asking for personal information.
  • Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails.

The hack’s confirmation comes nearly two months after Verizon announced plans to acquire Yahoo! Inc. for some $4.8 bn in cash. Today, Verizon says: “Within the last two days, we were notified of Yahoo! Inc.’s security incident. We know that the firm is making an active investigation of this matter. But, apart from that we have little data and sense of the impact. We will examine as the investigation continues, through the lens of overall Verizon interests. Until then, we are not in a position to comment further.”

Does this Matter to Analysts?

Not much, reports Smart Stock News. Here’s why: Although search giant Yahoo! Inc. ‘s legacy is nearing its end; UBS analysts still feel that the firm has some gains to offer its investors.  The brokerage believes that the positive point for the Santa Clara-based firm is its affiliation with the e-commerce giant Alibaba. A bright outlook for the Beijing-based retailer might come to the rescue of Yahoo! Inc. This gives a hint that the increase in valuation only comes from its $282 bn holding firm.

Perhaps there are a few hurdles that need to be addressed before Yahoo! Inc. gets its slice of the gains. The deal with Verizon is set to be closed in early 2017. Until then, Yahoo! Inc. will continue to operate as an independent entity. The firm has taken certain measures to ensure that it does not lose more of its limited resources. It seeks to focus on lowering its content costs and expects cost savings of up to $400 mn.

As per Benchmark Monitor, the news about the data breach were expected to be disclosed anytime soon. Yahoo! Inc. was reported to reveal ‘massive’ loss of user data, as per Recode. Earlier this week, Recode had reported that Yahoo! Inc. is preparing to disclose a “massive” data breach of its main service. This would happen just as Verizon Communications Inc. prepares to take over the ailing Internet firm’s core assets. The break-in was “widespread and serious”, the tech news website said. It cited several anonymous sources close to the situation as saying so. Yahoo! Inc.  didn’t respond to Benchmark Monitor via phone and e-mail requests for comment outside of normal business hours.

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