Yes, Yahoo was indeed hacked and the attack was much worse than expected. The company described the hacking as a “state-sponsored attack” and claims that over 500 million accounts have been affected. In case your account has been compromised, check your inbox for mail where Yahoo will ask you to update your password and registered mobile number. Even if you are safe, here are a few steps you need to take to protect your account. Also Read - Your Window PC can now run Android appsAlso Read - Yahoo Groups to shut down from December 15
The first and easiest step is to update your account details, and more importantly change the password. Passwords are almost always taken for granted and even the likes of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg found the perils of a weak password the hard way. Here are a few pointers that will help you create a strong password to protect your account (this applies for all your accounts, and not just Yahoo). The very basic rule involves creating a password that includes a combination of uppercase, lowercase letters, symbols and numbers. Also ensure that the password you choose includes at least eight characters, and doesn’t involve any commonly used phrase. If you are worried about forgetting complex passwords you create for different accounts, there’s a solution. Apps like Keeper, LastPass, Dashlane help you save all your passwords in one place, which are further protected by a password. In essence you will only have to remember one password, which will give you access to all your other stored passwords. Also Read - WordPress owner Automattic buys Tumblr from Verizon
Yahoo is notifying users who’s accounts have been affected via an email, and is also urging potentially affected users to promptly change their passwords, security questions and update their verified mobile numbers. It is also asking users to review their accounts for any suspicious activities, and remain cautious about any ‘unsolicited communications that ask for your personal information’.
Websites these days, including Yahoo, allow users to add an extra-layer of security to keep accounts safe. Yes we are talking about the two-factor-authentication system. To enable this security measure, head over to the Yahoo account page, and login. Next, click on Account Security, enable the two-step verification feature by hitting the toggle button and then enter your mobile number. The next step involves verifying the mobile number by clicking the ‘Send SMS’ or ‘Call Me’ options. You will be provided with a verification key, which needs to entered and then click on verify.
Yahoo has another security feature that doesn’t really require you to remember passwords. Yahoo calls it ‘Account Key’ and on enabling it, users will only have to enter in their username to login. Users will be sent a notification on their phones that will ask for approval to log into the account. On a web browser, head over to Account Security, and click on ‘Yes, send me a notification’. A test account key will be sent to the device and a user will need to tap on yes. Once logged in, users will also need to click on ‘Always use Yahoo Account Key’. The last step involves verifying your phone number by clicking confirm.
A Yahoo Account Key can also be setup on an Android or iOS smartphone by following these steps. Tap on the Account Key icon, and then set up account key. Tap yes to proceed to the confirmation screen, and then tap on the Got it button. The last step involves tapping on the enable account key option.
However, it is not just your Yahoo account that needs to be protected. Also change passwords for all accounts that are linked to your Yahoo account and even those where you use the Yahoo account and password to login (it is a bad idea to use the same password on multiple accounts). Also check the accounts and services where you have given Yahoo access, ensure that you change the password there as well.