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500 Million Accounts Leaked from Yahoo – Biggest Hack in History?

The 2016 hacking-spree continues with a colossal breach of Yahoo. This time, 500 million records were stolen from the site. This may be the biggest data breach in history. It’s still unknown who’s behind the attack. Yahoo blames a government-sponsored group.

The Yahoo Hack Up-Close

Yahoo publicly disclosed the hack on September 22. The company admitted that the breach might have jeopardized a massive amount of personal data. Among the leaked confidential information are:

  • Email Addresses
  • Names
  • Dates of Birth
  • Telephone Numbers
  • Passwords
  • Security Questions

That’s a pretty big pile of personal data, but at least no bank account data, or payment card information was leaked, according to Yahoo. Let’s hope that they’re right.

Yahoo also claims that affected users will be notified. As usual, all users of the breached network are advised to change their password, even if Yahoo didn’t tell them.

In their public announcement, the company recommended their Yahoo Account Key service. It’s ironic that a company will admit to a giant security breach in their system and promote their security tool in the same breath.

Yahoo Users Should Watch Out!

As virtually all cyber-security specialists would advise, changing your Yahoo password is a must. That’s true not only for the half a billion people that may be affected by the data breach but to all Internet users.

The hack happened in 2014, but the general public learned about it yesterday. The stolen information was at the attackers’ disposal for two years. That’s why passwords need to be changed regularly. We can assume that many big breaches that have happened in the past are still unknown to us. As cliched as it may sound, it’s better to be safe than sorry. There’s no guarantee that passwords weren’t stolen without anyone knowing.

Massive breaches and personal information leaking are becoming more and more common. Here are a few examples, along with the numbers of affected accounts:

These are just the hacks that we know of. Saying that 2016 was the year of hacks wouldn’t be entirely accurate. As you can see for yourselves, all the hacks above were carried out years before the public learned about them, and were then reported in 2016. There are likely more data breaches that remain hidden from the public eye.

Alex Dimchev

Alex Dimchev is a beat writer for Best Security Search. When he's not busy researching cyber-security matters, he enjoys sports and writing about himself in third person.