Yahoo Hacked But Is Anybody Safe Online?

by Sohini Bagchi    Sep 23, 2016


Yahoo has confirmed on its official website a massive data breach that had stolen information from at least 500 million user accounts, leaving many to wonder - once again - that no organization or individual is secured online. 

The attack on Yahoo is reportedly huge in size, which experts believe is the largest-ever publicly disclosed data breach and it comes to light at a critical time of the company only days after Verizon and Yahoo agreed to the $4.8 billion deal.

Yahoo has already been struggling for years to keep people on its email services. The email breach further raises questions about Yahoo’s ability to maintain secure and effective services, as alreasy it has been laying off staff and trimming costs to counter a steep drop in revenue for years. Further it will also have to bear analysts raising the issue for the company as it tries to sell its digital operations to Verizon.

Read more: Verizon Buys Yahoo! And, We Find It Tough To Digest

Yahoo urges users to change their password and security questions and to review their accounts for suspicious activity. Yahoo’s Chief Information Security Officer Bob said Cyber thieves may have stolen names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth and encrypted passwords. But unprotected passwords, payment card data and bank account information did not appear to have been compromised, signaling that some of the most valuable user data was not taken.

When Yahoo and its users’ world may turn topsyturvy. at least for some time in the wake of the incident. But businesses, irrespective of size and industry are grappling to protect thier data. 

Nobody is safe in the cyber space

In recent years, several big companies and websites were targets to cyber attacks and data breaches. As demonstrated by recent security breaches of several large, tech-savvy companies such as Target, Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Acer, Facebook, and LinkedIn  to name only a few - no set of security measures is completely infallible to a breach. And is all these examples whether it the initial purpose of the perpetrators or not, these attacks resulted in the stealing of personal information and data from thousands of users.

cyber attack

It goes without saying that those data breaches can be quite costly for the affected companies – in fact, IBM estimates that the average cost of a data breach is now $4 million, which is a 29 percent increase since 2013. Along with negative publicity, a sense of insecurity can grow among users and subscribers, in addition to the trouble of making users change their credentials, something that is clearly not good for business.

While there is no such thing as a 100% secure website, computer or server, some steps might be taken in order to avoid such threats. And, despite their devastating power, these data breaches can actually be helpful in avoiding future attacks. 

Read more: Is Yahoo CEO Mayer’s Job Really In Jeopardy?

While businesses of today are well aware of common data security issues, what they have to consider is: what is your plan of action after a data breach when your security and data loss prevention measures have failed? Many organizations fail to meet even the very basic security steps, which highlight tactics that create a more defense-in-depth approach to security.

“While perimeter technologies like firewalls can prevent against certain types of external attack, it cannot block malware that has already found its way onto endpoints within an organization. Organizations should instead create a multi-layered strategy that incorporates solutions like patching, application whitelisting and privilege management, which will help limit the pathways for malware to obtain sensitive data, said Surendra Singh, Country Director, Forcepoint India and SAARC in a recent interview with CXOtoday.

In the case of the Yahoo account hack however experts recommed Yahoo users and others should immediately take steps to protect themselves, and stay vigilant for attempted add-on attacks in the coming days and weeks. 

To know more about Yahoo hack, read on Techtree: The Yahoo Hack Is Major, And Here Is What To Do With It

[With inputs from Poonam Mondal]