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Yahoo Reports That the 2013 Data Breach May Impact 3 Billion Accounts

Yahoo Reports That the 2013 Data Breach May Impact 3 Billion Accounts

By Ambia Staley

If you've ever had a Yahoo account at some point in your life, you'll want to take note, as the company is now reporting that as many as 3 billion accounts could be affected by the August 2013 data breach.

Last December, Yahoo reported that an unauthorized third-party had gained access to data from more than 1 billion accounts in back in 2013, however the company is now tripling the estimate of what was already known as the largest data breach in history.

After disclosing the data breach last year, Yahoo reported the following information was stolen:

  • Names
  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Birthdates
  • Security questions and answers

After Verizon acquired Yahoo this past June, further investigation by forensic experts revealed that the stolen information did not include passwords in clear text, payment card data, or bank information.

While it's likely that people held multiple Yahoo accounts, making the number of accounts affected much higher than the number of people, Sam Curry, chief security officer for Boston-based firm Cybereason says, "Whether it's one billion or three billion is largely immaterial. Assume it affects you."

It's also important to remember that throughout Yahoo's history, the company has owned a variety of Yahoo and non-Yahoo branded platforms. Here's a quick run-down of some popular past and current Yahoo-affilated platforms users may have created an account for:

  • Yahoo! Mail
  • Yahoo! Messenger
  • Yahoo! Answers
  • Yahoo! News
  • Yahoo! Search
  • Yahoo! Auctions
  • Yahoo! Maps
  • Yahoo! GeoCities
  • blo.gs (Service transferred to Automattic, the owners of WordPress, in 2009)
  • Flickr
  • Rivals.com
  • Tumblr (acquired in May 2013)

While is remains unclear exactly which accounts were affected, if you've ever had any Yahoo-affiliated account, you'll want to change your passwords and security questions right away. If you're using the same passwords or security questions on any of your other online accounts, you'll want to make sure to change those as well. And as always, be careful about the information you're disclosing online.

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