Yahoo is warning their customers to be careful and secure their information, after discovering that a 2013 hack was much worse than they thought.
When Yahoo revealed their customer's private information had been stolen last year, they originally claimed that about one billion accounts were affected, or around one in three Yahoo users. Now, "recently obtained new intelligence" has confirmed every customer's worst fear.
According to Oath, a subsidiary of Verizon which now owns Yahoo, forensic experts from outside the company uncovered new evidence that every single Yahoo user was affected by the 2013 hack. Private information including e-mail addresses, passwords, birth dates, phone numbers and other data stored on Yahoo accounts were all vulnerable.
Even if you don't have a Yahoo e-mail account, users on other Yahoo websites including Flickr, Tumblr and the sports website Fantasy were also affected. Thankfully, Yahoo claims that credit card and bank information were not accessed, and passwords were not in plain text, which could protect your account.
If your account was one of the three billion affected by the hack, there are steps you need to take to protect your information...
Don't be surprised or suspicious if you receive a notification from Yahoo, as they'll be updating all of their users with new details about the hack and how to protect themselves.
After the 2013 hack was revealed last year, Yahoo required users to change their passwords and add security questions. If you haven't done this yet, you should log into your Yahoo account and secure it, just to be safe. It also can't hurt to change your passwords on other accounts once again.
Cybersecurity experts recommend using a strong, unique password for each account, and setting up "two factor authentication" whenever possible (this means adding a phone number or security question to make your private data harder to access).
It's unclear who's behind the hack, but a separate Yahoo hack in 2014 was carried out by a pair of Russian spies, according to the Department of Justice. Internet security firms also report that private Yahoo account information is being sold online, through shady websites.
Even after you change your passwords, be on the lookout for old-fashioned phone scams, which will be targeting the phone numbers of Yahoo users.
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