Yahoo Breach Resulted in 500 Leaked Accounts

Published: September 23, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Internet giant Yahoo official confirmed the largest hack in history yesterday. The company was attacked in 2014 and some 500 million user accounts were breached. The largest digital security collapse in history saw hackers take details of users, including personal information, account details, and password credentials.

It has been widely reported for some time that Yahoo was the subject of such an attack. Early estimated suggested the number of accounts breached was 200 million. The company never officially confirmed the rumors and didn’t tell customers to change their credentials. One hacker took to the dark web to sell the account information for 3 bitcoins per account.

The company finally came clean about the hack yesterday. Yahoo was a juggernaut and the most used web presence online. It still has hundreds of millions of users, but has fallen a long way since its peak. Former Google executive Marissa Mayer was brought in to try and turn the tide, but Yahoo has continued to decline.

This attack confirmation gives the company problems. Earlier in the year, it was announced that US telecommunications giant Verizon would purchase Yahoo for $4.8 billion. Mayer was reported to be against the buyout, but was overruled by the board. The Verizon deal has not yet been closed, it is unclear if this breach will throw the acquisition into doubt.

“This is a pretty big deal that is probably going to cost them tens of millions of dollars,” predicted Avivah Litan, a computer security analyst for Gartner Inc. “Regulators and lawyers are going to have a field day with this one.”

Insurance Implications

The hack raises a question that is being frequently asked as these breaches continue to happen. Users of these online services are losing their personal information which they believe is being held securely. Will consumers begin pushing for coverage to protect their details as they move further into a connected online environment?

Companies like Yahoo would argue that their service is provided to free and they are covered by the T&C agreement with users. Insurance companies do not offer this kind of online coverage at the moment, but continued major breaches could see consumers want more reassurances about their data safety.