At Least 500 Million Yahoo Accounts Were Stolen By Hackers

By Victor Thomson , Sep 23, 2016 03:00 AM EDT

Yahoo Inc. disclosed on Thursday, Sept. 22, potentially the largest data breach on record, a massive hack involving at least 500 million stolen accounts.

500 Million Yahoo Accounts Stolen

According to The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo believes that the 2014 massive security breach has carried on by a "state-sponsored actor." The attack is believed to be state-sponsored because of its resemblance to previous hacks traced to Russian intelligence agencies.

Yahoo announced that it is working with law enforcement on investigating the matter. So far, no evidence was found that the state-sponsored actor is still in Yahoo's network.

The company said that hackers may have stolen email addresses, encrypted passwords, names, dates of birth, telephone numbers. However, the most valuable user data such as bank account information and payment card data did not appear to have been compromised, according to Yahoo.

Reuters reports that well-known cryptologist Bruce Schneier stated that it is too early to evaluate what impact the hack might have on Yahoo and its users, but it seems that this is the biggest security breach ever. Compared to other corporate breaches, the size of the 2014 attack on Yahoo was unprecedented.

Schneier added that many important questions are still without answer, including details on the identity of the state-sponsored hackers behind the 2014 data breach. It is also still unclear when Yahoo first discovered the hack and why it took the company two years to make its findings public.

The Yahoo breach could prompt the businesses and government alike to increase digital defenses, according to Dan Kaminsky, a well-known Internet security expert. He said that "five hundred of the Fortune 500 have been hacked" but nothing changed except maybe the fact that these security breaches are getting disclosed publicly.

Yahoo is currently negotiating a deal with Verizon. The mobile carrier company is interested to acquire Yahoo, but it is unclear how the disclosure of the 2014 data breach might affect the negotiation.

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