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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo has discovered a 3-year-old security breach that enabled a hacker to compromise more than 1 billion user accounts, breaking the company's own humiliating record for the biggest security breach in history.
The digital heist disclosed Wednesday occurred in August 2013, more than a year before a separate hack that Yahoo announced nearly three months ago . That breach affected at least 500 million users, which had been the most far-reaching hack until the latest revelation.
NOTICE OF DATA BREACH Dear ****, We are writing to inform you about a data security issue that may involve your Yahoo account information. We have taken steps to secure your account and are working closely with law enforcement. What Happened? Law enforcement provided Yahoo in November 2016 with data files that a third party claimed was Yahoo user data. We analyzed this data with the assistance of outside forensic experts and found that it appears to be Yahoo user data. Based on further analysis of this data by the forensic experts, we believe an unauthorized third party, in August 2013, stole data associated with a broader set of user accounts, including yours. We have not been able to identify the intrusion associated with this theft. We believe this incident is likely distinct from the incident we disclosed on September 22, 2016. What Information Was Involved? The stolen user account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (using MD5) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. Not all of these data elements may have been present for your account. The investigation indicates that the stolen information did not include passwords in clear text, payment card data, or bank account information. Payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system we believe was affected. What We Are Doing We are taking action to protect our users: We are requiring potentially affected users to change their passwords. We invalidated unencrypted security questions and answers so that they cannot be used to access an account. We continuously enhance our safeguards and systems that detect and prevent unauthorized access to user accounts. What You Can Do We encourage you to follow these security recommendations: Change your passwords and security questions and answers for any other accounts on which you used the same or similar information used for your Yahoo account. Review all of your accounts for suspicious activity. Be cautious of any unsolicited communications that ask for your personal information or refer you to a web page asking for personal information. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails. Additionally, please consider using Yahoo Account Key, a simple authentication tool that eliminates the need to use a password on Yahoo altogether. For More Information For more information about this issue and our security resources, please visit the Yahoo Security Issues FAQs page available at yahoo.com... Protecting your information is important to us and we work continuously to strengthen our defenses. Sincerely, Bob Lord Chief Information Security Officer Yahoo