Yahoo: 1 Billion User Accounts Hacked

December 15, 2016

The largest data breach ever has struck Yahoo, and if you have an account with the company, you’ll want to take precautions right away. More than 1 billion Yahoo accounts were hacked, potentially jeopardizing private information, the company announced Wednesday.

The hack, just coming to light now, occurred during August 2013. Unidentified hackers stole data including names, e-mail address, telephone numbers, dates of births, and passwords, the company says. The data breach is twice as large as a 2014 hack that Yahoo Inc. had disclosed earlier this year that affected 500 million users.

Yahoo is urging its users to change passwords, security questions, and upgrade security to their accounts immediately. Consider enabling two-step authentication to your Yahoo accounts for an extra level of security. This will send a text message or call the user’s phone with a code as a second verification step.

Further, review your non-Yahoo accounts. Change passwords and security questions on those accounts that may have similar information that was used to access your Yahoo account.

Also, scrutinize any e-mails you might receive from Yahoo: Phishing e-mails have been reported from crooks who are posing as Yahoo and asking users to click on links. Yahoo says none of its e-mails contain attachments, and the e-mails will not request user’s personal information.

"If an e-mail you receive about these issues prompts you to click on a link, download an attachment, or asks you for information, the e-mail was not sent by Yahoo and may be an attempt to steal your personal information,” the company said. “Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from such suspicious emails.”

Source: “Yahoo Discloses New Breach of 1 Billion User Accounts,” The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 14, 2016) [Log-in required.] and “Do This Now if You’re a Yahoo User,” USA Today (Dec. 14, 2016)