Yahoo has announced a few days ago that hackers have stolen the accounts of 1 billion users some time in 2013. They have reportedly gained access to names, dates of birth, passwords and other important personal information. The bigger problem is that, according to Yahoo, the attackers managed to also steal security questions and the additional e-mail addresses which users can access in order to recover or reset forgotten passwords. Millions of such backup addresses were owned by military or government employees.
The largest breach ever recorded
The breach which Yahoo revealed on Wednesday marks the biggest attack in history. It is interesting and bizarre that Yahoo did not know about its existence until a month ago. In the announcement from Wednesday, Yahoo admitted to still not knowing who broke into their system, how they did it or what have they done or are planning to do with the personal data of so many users. Still, this is a different hack from the one which they reported back in September. That one occurred in 2014. Then, only 500 million user accounts were stolen from their database. In September, Yahoo put the blame on foreign governments, especially Russia’s, along with state-sponsored actors.
The dark web
Let’s come back to 2013. The breach takes place. Three years later, nobody knew what actually happened to those pieces of information which the hackers stolen from 1 billion users. Until August this year, when a group of hackers based somewhere in Eastern Europe started offering the information on the dark web. According to an American chief intelligence officer who knows the dark corners of the internet well and is observing them, three unknown persons offered $300 000 each for the stolen dates from Yahoo. It is still unknown whether or not they actually closed the deal and bought everything the hackers stole in 2013.
Undermining Yahoo ’s authority
After Yahoo announced the first breach in September, Verizon, the company which wants to buy the Internet giant, chose to continue the agreement but asked for a $1 billion discount from the entire $4.8 billion deal. Now, things might hurt their chances a lot more. According to analysts, on Thursday, Yahoo ‘s stock fell down 6 per cents. Now, investors are very worried that Verizon might choose to end the deal and not buy Yahoo anymore.
The FBI is reportedly conducting an investigation into the Yahoo breach. As for Verizon, the company said that for the moment, they have not made a decision. They might ask for an even bigger discount or worse, they might give up on the entire deal. As attractive as yahoo might be to buyers, mainly because of their enormous number of users, these breaches might prove to be the worst thing to ever happen to the company. Users might choose to give up on their services. If enough people will do that, Yahoo’s authority and subsequently attractiveness might seriously collapse.
For now, one cannot do anything but wait for a conclusion. Verizon’s decision will be the most important thing in this whole business. If they walk away, Yahoo might be in big trouble.
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