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On Sep 22, 2016, Yahoo issued a press release: “A recent investigation by Yahoo! Inc. has confirmed that a copy of certain user account information was stolen from the company’s network in late 2014 by what it believes is a state-sponsored actor. The 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.”
Yahoo states that it has not yet completed the investigation, and adds that “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 has found to be affected. Based on the ongoing investigation, Yahoo believes that information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen and the investigation has found no evidence that the state-sponsored actor is currently in Yahoo’s network. Yahoo is working closely with law enforcement on this matter.”
At least 500 million user accounts – Wow! Could the breach be blamed on lack of sufficient cybersecurity or that Yahoo could not face the brunt of the purported “state-sponsored” attack.
Cybersecurity experts warn that the breach is a massive disaster that can have severe ramifications. Cybercriminals who have access to the data could now resort to “credential stuffing” cyber attacks. Now, what is “credential stuffing”? The stolen username and passwords are used for trying to gain access to other websites. This attack process is quite easy now with available software. Though credential stuffing has a quite low rate of success, considering 500 million user accounts means thousands of other accounts could be hacked into. “This was why we were warned not to use the same username and password for multiple websites. But how many do follow the security measure.”
Yahoo claims that most of the passwords were encrypted and could not be broken. This attack took place in 2014, and was discovered only in July 2016 when cyber criminals started to offer stolen Yahoo account credentials for sale. Yahoo uses multiple encryption protocols for passwords, and it is possible that one of them had been broken.
Yahoo also alerts that some security questions were also compromised. Hence, users who use the same credentials for accessing multiple accounts must change them immediately.
Precautions Against Cybersecurity Breaches
Most precautions are actually necessary standard procedures.
Reading Time: 2 minutes Cyber breaches are quite common in the medical industry. In 2019 alone, over 40 million patient records were breached, an almost 50% increase in cases from the previous year. With COVID-19 increasing the need for healthcare and forcing more interactions between providers and patients to take place online, the risk of cyber breaches has increased….
Reading Time: 2 minutes Ransomware is a dilemma that we have been facing for quite some time now. However, in 2020, we have seen a significant rise in the total number and variety of ransomware attacks. This latest ransomware boom is most probably the outcome of organized cyber-criminal networks recognizing the revenue-generating potential of this ‘business model’—amounting to over…
Reading Time: 3 minutes Celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month By Learning to Protect Against Ransomware Attacks It’s the season for pumpkin picking, leaves changing color, getting ready for Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. But ghosts and ghouls aren’t the only scary things you’ll be seeing this month: October is also National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a time when business leaders and…
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