Yahoo revealed last week that they had been the victims of the largest publically disclosed data breach in history, with 500 million user accounts compromised. The hack occurred in 2014, when names, email addresses, passwords, telephone numbers, birthdates and more were stolen by “state-sponsored” hackers. While the stolen passwords were encrypted, this type of encryption can potentially be broken with enough persistence. In some cases, hackers also stole security questions and answers that would allow them access to the affected accounts.
What should you do?
If your account was one of those affected by the data breach you should receive a notification email from Yahoo. Follow the instruction of Yahoo in this email to change your password and security questions. You should also watch out for suspicious activity in any of your accounts and be cautious of unsolicited communications that ask for personal information.
Even if you have not yet received notification your account was affected by the breach, Yahoo recommends changing your password and security questions if you have not done so since 2014 to ensure your account is secure. Your new password should be strong, using a mixture of lower and upper case letters, characters and numbers to make it hard for hackers to crack. You should also continue to change all your passwords regularly, to protect against the threat of a hack.
Additionally, to enhance security further you should enable two factor authentication for as many accounts as possible, whereby you receive a text message from the company whenever you try to log in, which will include a code that you’ll have to input into the site. That way, at least theoretically, people won’t be able to log in without physical access to your phone.
If you used the same passwords as that used for Yahoo on accounts for other websites, it is also recommended you change the passwords on all other accounts and ensure all are unique. Furthermore, it is advised to delete old accounts you do not use to avoid your information being put at risk when websites are compromised.
All the information on the account and data breach can be found on help.yahoo.com.
If you have any questions about securing your accounts, we welcome the opportunity to discuss your security situation further. I can be contacted on 1300 769 460 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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