Yahoo’s decline from an internet powerhouse to an also-ran is nothing short of extraordinary, albeit in an unfortunate way. But it still manages to make news that shocks the world. In an announcement made by Yahoo-parent Verizon on Tuesday, it was revealed that all three billion Yahoo accounts were hacked in the data theft of August 2013. It included Yahoo Mail as well as Tumblr, Fantasy and Flickr (platforms owned by Yahoo) accounts. This number is three times more than what Yahoo had reported late-last year.
At that time, Yahoo had disclosed that one billion of the three billion accounts that existed were affected. In 2016, Yahoo took action to protect all those accounts, including directly notifying impacted users, demanding password changes and invalidating non-encrypted security questions such those could no longer be used to access the accounts. Yahoo also put up a notice about the same on its website. However, four months after Verizon’s acquisition of the erstwhile internet giant, investigations made it clear that Yahoo had significantly downplayed the 2013 data breach. ALSO READ: Ex-Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer ‘can’t wait to use Gmail’ once again, but won’t give up on Yahoo Mail as well
“The company recently obtained new intelligence and now believes, following an investigation with the assistance of outside forensic experts, that all Yahoo user accounts were affected by the August 2013 theft,” Verizon declared in a statement. Yahoo will now be sending emails and warnings to the additional affected accounts. The Verizon investigation indicated that names, passwords (barring those in “clear text”) and email addresses were compromised. However, payment cards and bank account details were spared.
Yahoo is already facing more than 40 consumer class-action lawsuits in US courts that relate to that breach, according to Reuters. In fact, it was so massive that Yahoo had to cut the price of its assets during its $4.48 billion sale to Verizon last year. The new findings are only going to take the number of lawsuits up. Meanwhile, Verizon which is the middle of restructuring all its internet business — Yahoo, AOL, The Huffington Post — under one new arm, Oath, is likely to face the brunt of Yahoo’s past. ALSO READ: Yahoo and AOL to come together to form a company called ‘Oath’
“Verizon is committed to the highest standards of accountability and transparency, and we proactively work to ensure the safety and security of our users and networks in an evolving landscape of online threats. Our investment in Yahoo is allowing that team to continue to take significant steps to enhance their security, as well as benefit from Verizon’s experience and resources,” Chandra McMahon, Chief Information Security Officer, Verizon, stated on the Oath blog.