Yahoo hack: 1bn accounts compromised by biggest data breach in history

Yahoo hack: 1 billion accounts compromised by biggest data breach in history

by Sam Thielman, The Guardian

The latest incident to emerge – which happened in 2013 – is probably distinct from the breach of 500 million user accounts in 2014

Yahoo said on Wednesday it had discovered another major cyber attack, saying data from more than 1 billion user accounts was compromised in August 2013, making it the largest such breach in history.

The number of affected accounts was double the number implicated in a 2014 breach that the internet company disclosed in September and blamed on hackers working on behalf of a government.

“An unauthorized party” broke into the accounts, Yahoo said in a statement posted on its website. The company believes the hacks are connected and that the breaches are “state-sponsored”.

The hackers used “forged ‘cookies’” – bits of code that stay in the user’s browser cache so that a website doesn’t require a login with every visit, wrote Yahoo’s chief information security officer, Bob Lord. The cookies “could allow an intruder to access users’ accounts without a password” by misidentifying anyone using them as the owner of an email account. The breach may be related to theft of Yahoo’s proprietary code, Lord said.

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