Yahoo email account passwords stolen - Fox 2 News Headlines

Yahoo email account passwords stolen

Posted: Updated:

Usernames and passwords of some of Yahoo's email customers have been stolen and used to gather personal information about people those Yahoo mail users have recently corresponded with, the company said Thursday.

Yahoo didn't say how many accounts have been affected. Yahoo is the second-largest email service worldwide, after Google's Gmail, according to the research firm comScore. There are 273 million Yahoo mail accounts worldwide, including 81 million in the U.S.

It's the latest in a string of security breaches that have allowed hackers to nab personal information using software that analysts say is ever more sophisticated. Up to 70 million customers of Target stores had their personal information and credit and debit card numbers compromised late last year, and Neiman Marcus was the victim of a similar breach in December.

"It's an old trend, but it's much more exaggerated now because the programs the bad guys use are much more sophisticated now," says Avivah Litan, a security analyst at the technology research firm Gartner. "We're clearly under attack."

Yahoo Inc. said in a blog post on its breach that "The information sought in the attack seems to be names and email addresses from the affected accounts' most recent sent emails."

That could mean hackers were looking for additional email addresses to send spam or scam messages. By grabbing real names from those sent folders, hackers could try to make bogus messages appear more legitimate to recipients.

"It's much more likely that I'd click on something from you if we email all the time," says Richard Mogull, analyst and CEO of Securois, a security research and advisory firm.

The bigger danger: access to email accounts could lead to more serious breaches involving banking and shopping sites. That's because many people reuse passwords across many sites, and also because many sites use email to reset passwords. Hackers could try logging in to such a site with the Yahoo email address, for instance, and ask that a password reminder be sent by email.

Litan said hackers appear to be "trying to collect as much information as they can on people. Putting all this stuff together makes it easier to steal somebody's identity."

Yahoo said the usernames and passwords weren't collected from its own systems, but from a third-party database.

Because so many people use the same passwords across multiple sites, it's possible hackers broke in to some service that lets people use email addresses as their usernames. The hackers could have grabbed passwords stored at that service, filtered out the accounts with Yahoo addresses and used that information to log in to Yahoo's mail systems, said Johannes Ullrich, dean of research at the SANS Institute, a group devoted to security research and education.

The breach is the second mishap for Yahoo's mail service in two months. In December, the service suffered a multi-day outage that prompted Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to issue an apology.

Yahoo said it is resetting passwords on affected accounts and has "implemented additional measures" to block further attacks. The company would not comment beyond the information in its blog post. It said it is working with federal law enforcement.

Yahoo blog post

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Some residents return after NJ brush fire forces evacuations

    Some residents return after NJ brush fire forces evacuations

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:03 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:03:25 GMT
    A school and several homes in Ocean County were evacuated on Thursday afternoon because of a large brush fire that was being fanned by winds. Some residents returned a few hours later. The fire burned about half a square mile.
    A school and several homes in Ocean County were evacuated on Thursday afternoon because of a large brush fire that was being fanned by winds. Some residents returned a few hours later. The fire burned about half a square mile.
  • Startups flock to NY TechDay

    Startups flock to NY TechDay

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:40 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:40:26 GMT
    NY TechDay is where the hottest new startups come every year. More than 400 of them from all different countries come to check out the NYC tech scene. Our first stop at Pier 92 was Rent Hackr, a website with renter generated data to help apartment hunters. Then we checked out Karma, a portable Wi-Fi device that lets you share hot spots with friends.
    NY TechDay is where the hottest new startups come every year. More than 400 of them from all different countries come to check out the NYC tech scene. Our first stop at Pier 92 was Rent Hackr, a website with renter generated data to help apartment hunters. Then we checked out Karma, a portable Wi-Fi device that lets you share hot spots with friends.
  • PETA protests Central Park horse-drawn carriages

    PETA protests Central Park horse-drawn carriages

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:08:12 GMT
    Chanting the mayor's name in appreciation, some 50 demonstrators protested horse-drawn carriages in the city on Thursday. The protest was organized by PETA and NYCLASS after a horse fell on the corner of 5th Avenue and 59th Street Wednesday. The protestors said the horse was spooked by a bus and cited witness accounts who shot some video. The horse that fell is 15-year-old Spartacus.
    Chanting the mayor's name in appreciation, some 50 demonstrators protested horse-drawn carriages in the city on Thursday. The protest was organized by PETA and NYCLASS after a horse fell on the corner of 5th Avenue and 59th Street Wednesday. The protestors said the horse was spooked by a bus and cited witness accounts who shot some video. The horse that fell is 15-year-old Spartacus.
Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices