Yahoo confirms huge data breach affecting 500 million accounts

FILE - This Jan. 14, 2015 photo shows a sign outside Yahoo's headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. Yahoo is trying to phase out passwords with an update to its mobile application for its email service. The renovated app released Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015 for iPhones and Android devices will include an option called "Account Key" that allows people to sign into their email accounts by pressing on a notification sent to their smartphones instead of typing in a password.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

NEW YORK (AP) – Yahoo says the personal information in 500 million accounts was stolen in a massive security breakdown. The breach disclosed Thursday, the latest setback for the beleaguered internet company, dates back to late 2014.

The stolen data includes users’ names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and security questions for verifying an accountholder’s identity. Yahoo is blaming the hack on a “state-sponsored actor.”

Yahoo is recommending that users change their passwords if they haven’t done so since 2014.

A full list of ways Yahoo has attempted a make sure users are safe include:

  • Notifying affected users.
  • Asking affected users to promptly change their passwords and adopt alternate means of account verification.
  • Invalidating unencrypted security questions and answers so that they cannot be used to access an account.
  • Recommending that all users who haven’t changed their passwords since 2014 do so.
  • Continuing to enhance our systems that detect and prevent unauthorized access to user accounts.
  • Continuing to investigate into this matter continues.

The company compiled this FAQ for users concerned about their privacy.

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