Yahoo has become the latest hacker target with usernames and passwords having been stolen from a notable part of its 273 million email users. The company stated on Thursday that the Yahoo email service had been hacked into by an organized group effort in order to obtain usernames and passwords to Yahoo Mail accounts. The company explained to the public that it thought the attackers were trying to get into the accounts by using identification that had been acquired from a breach of another company’s user databank, but Yahoo refused to say what business that was.
Yahoo stated that their investigation was ongoing, and that it showed malicious computer software had used a list of usernames and passwords to gain access to Yahoo Mail accounts. However, one of Yahoo spokespeople refused to say just how many user accounts had actually been broken into and the person would not give any kind of in depth description, only saying that the matter was now a subject of a federal law enforcement investigation.
Yahoo Mail is the second biggest provider of email, only behind Gmail, in the United Stated. The trouble with all email services is that the majority of people often use the same passwords when they have numerous accounts, so hackers try to use information stolen from only one breach to break into the different.
Yahoo also refused to say just how many accounts it believes was hacked into. The company has over 81 million email accounts in the United States. They did declare that they believe there is no evidence that the usernames and passwords were obtained straight from Yahoo’s own systems. Yahoo also stated that security attacks are regrettably becoming something that happens on a more regular basis. The company regrets that such a break-in occurred and wants to make sure that Yahoo email users realize that Yahoo takes the safety of their information extremely seriously.
Yahoo is based in Sunnyvale, California and explained it has started to notify any users whose accounts were hit and have begun using a second sign-in verification in order to let the users re-secure their email accounts. Some users could receive an SMS text.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has suffered through criticism by some users for the various changes she put into place at Yahoo and how she altered the design of the email service. Mayer ended up apologizing in December of 2013 due to various issues that seemed to be piling up, such as users getting shut out of the service, there being lost messages and also trouble with having access to other e-mail programs.
But getting back to the problems now, Yahoo stated that it was telling all users to go ahead and change passwords in order to help protect their accounts. There are also a few more ways a person can help to keep his or her account more secure. Always remember to change password often. Do not ever use the same password on different sites, a practice that ends up making people very vulnerable. Make sure to always use a variation of letters, numbers and symbols. Always beware very aware of “phishing” emails that ask for one to update a password or to enter any other personal information.
Hopefully most of Yahoo’s users will come out of this latest hacker target scheme just fine.
By Kimberly Ruble
The Washington Post