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Hackers Breach More than 1 bn Yahoo Accounts

The company revealed that they found breach of over 1 Bn user accounts, which happened in Aug. 2013. Techcrunch.com posted on December 15th, 2016, stating that this breach is believe as distinct and separate than the other data theft of 500 Mn accounts that was reported by Yahoo this September.

The hack happened in Aug. 2013. The stolen data includes the user names, date of birth, telephone numbers, encrypted passwords, and email addresses. Those passwords were scrambled up by the encryption tool known as MD5, whose crack is possible with little patience according to experts. The data, in addition, includes a few security questions as well as answers, with some of them were not encrypted.

Yahoo posted a statement on the website saying, "An unauthorized party" broke into accounts. The company believes that hacks were connected, and breaches are "state-sponsored".

Bob Lord, Chief Information Security Officer of Yahoo, wrote that the hackers are using "forged 'cookies'" - bits of code which stay in browser cache of the user, so that the website does not need to login on every visit. The cookies "could allow an intruder to access users' accounts without a password" by misidentifying anybody using them as email account owner. Lord added that breach may be linked to the proprietary code theft of Yahoo.

As per a statement of the company, Yahoo is informing potentially the affected users, along with taking steps for securing their accounts that includes asking them for changing their passwords. "Yahoo has also invalidated unencrypted security questions and answers so that they cannot be used to access an account."

Bloomberg report says that there are over 150,000 US military and government employees among victims, which is posing threat to the national security. The accounts belong to former and current White House staff, congressmen and their aides, Officials of National Security Agency, FBI agents, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), and each branch of US military.

Law enforcement alerted Yahoo about the huge breach, and the data was examined with help from external forensic experts. Yahoo also claimed that it is informing the affected account holders of this breach. Affected users may require changing its passwords.

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