500 million Yahoo accounts hacked! Here’s what you can do

The Yahoo logo is shown at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California April 16, 2013. The company will release its quarterly results on Tuesday. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith  (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)

Yahoo accounts hacked: If you still use Yahoo, you must have already seen the ominous email from Yahoo’s Chief Information Security Officer Bob Lord. Titled, “Notice of Data Breach” the email talks of what appears to have been a government-sponsored (which government?) hack of Yahoo servers.

Stolen data includes names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. The Yahoo data breach happened in 2014, and for two years the email service has been haemorrhaging private information.

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Personal information from around 500 million Yahoo accounts are affected by the massive data breach. Yahoo advises immediate security precautions for those who last changed their passwords before 2014. Below is the email from Yahoo’s Chief Information Officer:

NOTICE OF YAHOO DATA BREACH


We are writing to inform you about a data security issue that may involve your Yahoo account information.

What Happened?
A copy of certain user account information was stolen from our systems in late 2014 by what we believe is a state-sponsored actor. We are closely coordinating with law enforcement on this matter and working diligently to protect you.

What Information Was Involved?
The stolen user account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. Not all of these data elements may have been present for your account. The ongoing investigation suggests that stolen information did not include unprotected passwords, payment card data, or bank account information; payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system that the investigation found to be affected.

What We Are Doing
We are taking action to protect our users:
We are asking potentially affected users to promptly change their passwords and adopt alternate means of account verification.
We invalidated unencrypted security questions and answers so they cannot be used to access an account.
We are recommending that all users who haven’t changed their passwords since 2014 do so.
We continue to enhance our systems that detect and prevent unauthorized access to user accounts.
We are working closely with law enforcement on this matter.

Our investigation into this matter continues.

What You Can Do
We encourage you to follow these security recommendations:
Change your password and security questions for any other accounts on which you used the same or similar information used for your Yahoo account.
Review your accounts for suspicious activity.
Be cautious of any unsolicited communications that ask for your personal information or refer you to a web page asking for personal information.
Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails.

Additionally, please consider using Yahoo Account Key, a simple authentication tool that eliminates the need to use a password altogether.

For More Information
For more information about this issue and our security resources, please visit the Yahoo Security Issue FAQs page available at https://yahoo.com/security-update.

Protecting your information is important to us and we work continuously to strengthen our defenses against the threats targeting our industry.

Sincerely,
Bob Lord
Chief Information Security Officer
Yahoo


What You Can Do

According to the email from Bob Lord above,  Yahoo recommends users to follow these instructions:

  • Change your password and security questions for any other accounts on which you used the same or similar information used for your Yahoo account.
  • Review your accounts for suspicious activity.
  • Be cautious of any unsolicited communications that ask for your personal information or refer you to a web page asking for personal information.
  • Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails.
  • Additionally, please consider using Yahoo Account Key, a simple authentication tool that eliminates the need to use a password altogether.

How to delete your Yahoo email

If you are as perturbed as we are, there is the option of permanently terminating your Yahoo account. Other options include Gmail, Outlook (Microsoft) or GMX. There are some things you need to do before you can terminate your account

  • Save/Forward your important emails to another account or download them to a desktop email client such as Thunderbird, Windows Mail App e.t.c
  • Download and Save/Export your contact information to desktop in [.csv] or [.vcf] formats which can be uploaded to another account.
  • Export your Yahoo Calender to another App
  • For more information read more on How to Close your Yahoo Account
  • To terminate your Yahoo account. While still logged in, open a new tab and paste the following without the brackets: [edit.yahoo.com/config/delete_user]. Follow the steps provided.
  • Yahoo Account Terminated.

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