Ever since the early age of the Internet, Yahoo has been one of the primary search engines and go-to websites when creating first email addresses. And who can forget the interactive Yahoo messenger where we got to chat with someone from the other side of the world and get to build friendship and connections with them? But we also cannot deny that the Internet has significantly evolved over the last few years. Yahoo’s popularity is declining because of the rise of Google, Facebook, and other competitive websites but above all, many people are now leaving Yahoo because of this one fatal flaw: security. We’ve been receiving a flood of spam, scams, and frauds in our email accounts recently. Not to mention we’ve all heard about many breach security and hacking events. The latest of them is the hacking of ALL Yahoo accounts that happened last year.
Verizon conducted an Investigation regarding the incident
Verizon, Yahoo’s now parent company, had conducted an investigation regarding compromised accounts that were reported a year ago. And just this week, they confirmed that every single one of those Yahoo accounts was indeed compromised. According to the PDF filing, they submitted to the Security and Exchange Commission the total number of 3 billion compromised accounts, which is roughly around 40% of the world’s population.
And even though Yahoo still exists, the Verizon Company now vows to blast out notifications to uncompromised accounts in order to tighten their web and email security. They will give their best to secure passwords of bank and cards data.
“Verizon is committed to the highest standards of accountability and transparency, and we proactively work to ensure the safety and security of our users and networks in an evolving landscape of online threats,” said Chandra McMahon, Chief Information Security Officer, Verizon. “Our investment in Yahoo is allowing that team to continue to take significant steps to enhance their security, as well as benefit from Verizon’s experience and resources.”
Yahoo and Verizon may face Litigation for Security Breach
While Verizon is still trying to fix the damage and recover from the huge loss, it’s unfortunate that they may face repercussions and litigation about the incident. On Wednesday night, Judge Lucy Kho of San Jose, California, rejected Yahoo’s contention that its users lacked the probable cause to sue the company. She reiterated that the users can pursue the company for breach of contract and unfair competition claims. This 93-page decision was issued when the company was about to pay $4.76 billion for Yahoo’s Internet business tax in June.
The Judge further explained that the company needs to be accountable for the breach, saying Yahoo had downgraded the security issue that started in 2013 and had only acknowledged and confirmed it just last year. And this year, through its new parent company Verizon (which they bought Yahoo at a substantially lower purchase price), had just conducted their investigation.
“All plaintiffs have alleged a risk of future identity theft, in addition to loss of value of their personal identification information,” the judge wrote.
She even said that these plaintiffs may have used the stolen money to fund their future identity thefts or misuse the data.
“We believe it to be a significant victory for consumers, and will address the deficiencies the court pointed out,” John Yanchunis, a lawyer for the plaintiffs who chairs an executive committee overseeing the case, said in an interview. “It’s the biggest data breach in the history of the world.”
Yahoo’s Counter Response
However, the company, through Verizon Communications, insisted that the breach is just a result of “a triumph of criminal persistence” by a “veritable ‘who’s who’ of cybercriminals,” and that no security system is hack-proof as stated in their court papers. Furthermore, the perpetrators responsible for the hack were already punished. On March 15, the U.S Department of Justice charged the two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service and two other hackers for the breach and they were sentenced to time in jail. Of course, the efforts are still ongoing to capture the ones responsible for the breach and to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.
Will you still use your Yahoo account or will you opt to other providers? Let us know…