For those still using Yahoo, the company has released an update to its users about a data security issue that the company previously announced in December 2016. Yahoo claimed it already took “certain actions” in 2016 to help secure accounts in connection with this issue.
On December 14, 2016, Yahoo announced that, based on its analysis of data files provided by law enforcement, the company believed that an unauthorized party stole data associated with certain user accounts in August 2013. Yahoo notified the users it had identified at that time as potentially affected. It recently obtained additional information and, “after analyzing it with the assistance of outside forensic experts, we have determined that your user account information also was likely affected.”
The stolen user account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (using MD5) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.
“Not all of these data elements may have been present for your account,” Yahoo claimed. “The investigation indicates that the information that was stolen did not include passwords in clear text, payment card data, or bank account information. Payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system we believe was affected.”
In connection with the December 2016 announcement, Yahoo took action to protect users beyond those identified at that time as potentially affected. Specifically:
- Yahoo required potentially affected users to change their passwords.
- Yahoo also required all other users who had not changed their passwords since the time of the theft to do so.
- Yahoo invalidated unencrypted security questions and answers so they cannot be used to access an account.
“We are closely coordinating with law enforcement on this matter, and continue to enhance our systems that detect and prevent unauthorized access to user accounts,” The company said.
While Yahoo already has taken action to help secure accounts, it encourages users to consider the following account security recommendations:
- Change your passwords and security questions and answers for any other accounts on which you used the same or similar information used for your Yahoo account.
- Review your accounts for suspicious activity.
- Be cautious of any unsolicited communications that ask for your personal information or refer you to a web page asking for personal information.
- Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails.
“Additionally, please consider using Yahoo Account Key, a simple authentication tool that eliminates the need to use a password on Yahoo altogether.”
For more information about this issue and the company’s security resources, visit the Yahoo 2013 Account Security Update FAQs page at https://yahoo.com/security-update.