How Millions of Users were Affected by Yahoo Data Breach

  • By David Lukic
  • Jan 25, 2021

Yahoo, a news and internet service company, has had two severe data breaches during its history. Yahoo initially reported that the first Yahoo data breach affected 500 million users, and the second one, 1 billion users. Later they admitted that all of their 3 billion users were affected. The volume of data stolen is to date the largest in history. Hackers stole names, email addresses, phone numbers, security questions and answers, birthdates, and passwords (which were hashed). They also discovered web cookies used to falsify login credentials and gain access to user accounts.

When Was the Yahoo Data Breach

The actual breaches took place between 2012 and 2013, and the FBI eventually caught four men (two of working in Russian intelligence) who were responsible for one of the data breaches. However, Yahoo did not report the data breaches until 2016. Yahoo has been widely criticized for its lax attitude regarding security. Their system didn’t allow them to discover the breach until much later, and they were slow to react and secure their servers against future attacks.

yahoo data breach

How to Check if Your Data Was Exposed by Yahoo Breach

If you had any Yahoo account between the dates of Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2016, then your data was breached. Yahoo confirmed that all 3 billion of their customers’ records were stolen. Even users with just email accounts have been affected. Those users with web service accounts may have also lost payment or financial information. You can visit www.yahoodatabreachsettlement.com, to see a list of FAQs and more information about Yahoo breach settlement.

What to Do if Your Data Was Breached

If you were a Yahoo customer between those affected dates, then hackers stole at least some of your information. If your data was breached, then you should take immediate action.

  • First, change your login with Yahoo and use a strong password.
  • Visit the Yahoo security issue settlement website and file a claim.
  • Monitor your credit card accounts and bank statements looking for any suspicious activity.
  • Consider signing up for credit monitoring services from IDStrong.com.
  • You might also consider a credit freeze so that no new accounts can be opened in your name without your authorization.

If you suffered any losses due to the Yahoo security breach, Yahoo will reimburse you a cash payout of up to $25,000 to cover them.

yahoo breach settlement

Yahoo Security Breach Settlement

There are 23 class-action lawsuits against Yahoo for these data breaches. Each has a singular focus or point of contention. Yahoo has offered a settlement to those affected by Yahoo email breach (anyone who had a Yahoo account between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2016). This includes regular, free email accounts also. The deadline to file is Jul. 20, 2020. There are three ways to file a claim, and there is a cash payout of up to $358 per user. Yahoo is also offering refunds for premium and business account holders.
  • File online by going to www.yahoodatabreachsettlement.com/en.
  • Call 1-844-702-2788 or email info@YahooDataBreachSettlement.com to request a Yahoo settlement claim form. 
  • Print your claim form online and send it to Yahoo! Inc. Customer Data Breach Security Litigation, c/o Settlement Administrator, PO Box 1760, Philadelphia, PA, 19105-1760.

Can My Yahoo Information be Used for Identity Theft or to Hack my Computer?

Even basic information such as name, email address, and date of birth is enough to steal your identity, launch a campaign to hack into your other accounts or take control of your computer. Therefore, you need to take action to protect yourself.

How to Protect Yourself With Online Services

By taking a few precautions, you can help minimize any damage done to your online reputation or credit status.

  • Check your credit reports often and invest in credit monitoring.
  • Keep your computer antivirus updated to avoid malware, ransomware, or hacking.
  • Monitor your bank and credit card statements for unauthorized activity.
  • Watch out for spam and phishing emails.
  • Never click any links or open attachments in emails.
By following these few safety tips, you could avoid disaster the next time Yahoo experiences a data breach.
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