Yahoo Responds to Data Breach

Yahoo Breach
More than 500 million Yahoo users were affected by a security breach, just as the company is being acquired by Verizon. The breach happened in 2014, and information is surfacing now.

In a Tumblr post, Yahoo explained what information was stolen (and what was not), what the company is doing, and what individuals should do to protect themselves:

"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. 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."

A Wired article offers this advice: "And for the millionth time: Don't reuse passwords." Wired also discussed the bad timing: "Yahoo's buyout deal is set to become a test case of whether a massive corporate sale can weather an equally massive hacking debacle."

Discussion Starters:

  • Read Yahoo's statement. What principles from Chapter 8, Bad-News Messages, are followed?
  • How well does Yahoo reassure users? How clearly are the action steps explained?