Yahoo recently notified its members that their system had been hacked sometime in the past two years and warned them to take certain precautions to protect their data. While it is apparent that the company has actually known about the hack for sometime now, this is the third time that Yahoo has reported an attack on their security system in the past year.
All of this suspicious activity is making the company’s users pretty uncomfortable and it makes us wonder how Yahoo has continued to be so susceptible. Customers are now taking their trust elsewhere as it appears that the company has lost control of the safety of their accounts.
According to Yahoo, a ‘state sponsored actor’ attacked the company’s data in 2014. This implies that the hacker was working for the government. The warning that they sent to their customers says that “hackers may have been able to access their accounts without knowing the password. The attackers are believed to have stolen Yahoo’s source code and used it between 2015 and 2016 to create forged cookies, allowing them to log in to user’s accounts without their details.”
Yahoo’s chief information security officer, Bob Lord, notified users of this intrusion just recently. Apparently Yahoo has ‘invalidated the forged cookies so they cannot be used again”, but it is a mystery why it has taken so long for the company to send out this knowledge. Just as the information was released, Verizon is closing on their deal to buy Yahoo despite the major data breaches.
Though, because of this recent news, Verizon has knocked off 250 million of the original price that started as a 4.8 billion dollar deal. Still, this switch is coming at a good time for Yahoo, as the company is quickly losing it’s customers and clearly needs a major adjustment.
If You Have a Yahoo Account
If you are one of Yahoo’s many customers, you should check now to see if you have received one of their messages. Apparently the company has alerted all of the customers that were affected by the breach, but the investigation is still being carried out and they may still be discovering new information.
If they have indeed contacted you, there will be advice in the email about the steps you should take to regain proper security. You could now be in danger of being a target for hackers and they could tap into your personal or even financial information, so it is very important that you follow all of the recommended steps.
If you are prompted to change your Yahoo password when you go to login, you should also change any other accounts where you have used this same password. You should also continue to change your passwords every so often from here on out. As demonstrated by Yahoo, a company won’t necessarily tell you if their security has been breached right away. Therefore, it is up to you to take the precautionary measures in order to protect your sensitive data.
Use different passwords on all of your accounts. If you use the same one for everything and a hacker gains access to one, they will absolutely try to get access to anything else they can with that same password. When you are choosing a password, try to come up with something random and difficult to guess. It help to use phrases instead of single words, like “walk the dog” or “shine my shoes”. Make sure to keep all of your security questions updated and use different ones for each of your accounts. Most importantly, keep your eyes peeled for any suspicious activity.
Check your outgoing emails to see if things are being sent that you did not write and do not click on links or open downloads from email addresses that you don’t recognize. Don’t skimp on any of these steps. You may think you are safe, but hacking has become more and more common and they are only getting better at it.
Do what is necessary to ensure that all of your devices are protected. People often do not realize how much sensitive information they keep on their computers and phones until it is too late.