Yahoo Passwords Stolen, Latest in Rash of Hacking Thefts

Image: Yahoo Passwords Stolen, Latest in Rash of Hacking Thefts

Friday, 31 Jan 2014 01:03 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Yahoo became the latest victim of a security breach Thursday when hackers stole usernames and passwords of its email users. The company didn't say how many accounts have been compromised.

"The information sought in the attack seems to be names and email addresses from the affected accounts' most recent sent emails," Yahoo said in a statement. 

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The usernames and passwords are likely being used to obtain users' personal information. The company said it believes the usernames and passwords were collected from a third party.

Yahoo also said they are resetting passwords on affected accounts. 

The Associated Press reported that Yahoo has 273 million email users worldwide, including 81 million in the U.S.

This is the second security problem for Yahoo's email system in the past two months. In December, more than 2 million account passwords were stolen for sites such as Facebook, Google, and Yahoo, among others, and subsequently posted online.

In July 2012, about 450,000 Yahoo users' email addresses and passwords were leaked as a result of a hack by thieves that called themselves the D33D Company, though Yahoo said that only a fraction of the stolen passwords were valid. 

This attack is the latest in a rash of cyber thefts that have given criminals access to personal information through high-end software. Millions of Target and Neiman Marcus customers were victims during the Christmas holiday shopping season, when personal information and credit and debit card numbers were stolen. The suspected hacker was identified last week as a 17-year-old Russian national from St. Petersburg. 

"It's an old trend, but it's much more exaggerated now because the programs the bad guys use are much more sophisticated now," Avivah Litan, a security analyst at the technology research firm Gartner, told the AP. "We're clearly under attack."

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