Yahoo admits at least one billion accounts compromised

Yahoo admits at least one billion accounts compromised

Remember when Yahoo was riding high? When the company was so successful, it represented a punchline in the movie Frequency? In that film it was a sure-bet investment, a code-word snuck in by one of the movie’s time-bending lead characters. Today, not so much.

Yahoo’s downward spiral has been epic in its freefall. Getting trounced by Google in the search market, then lapped in multiple other Internet interface actions, was not enough. Now the company is dealing with yet another security issue … and this one’s huge.

The company released an announcement last week admitting a massive security breach dating all the way back to 2013. No, it’s not the same one they announced back in September. This one is an additional breach that “may have” affected more than one billion – with a “b” – accounts.

According to the most recent release, an unidentified third party took user data from more than one billion accounts during late summer in 2013. Data that could have included names, emails, and passwords. The company was quick to add this would not have included financial information.

Consumers are wary, though. If the hackers got all that personal information, could they use it for other purposes, or to try to hack other accounts using that information.

As users wonder if they will be one of the unlucky ones getting contacted about their vulnerability, the company has instructed pretty much everyone who has a Yahoo account to immediately change their password.

Then the next phase of the PR crisis intervention begins. At the moment, Yahoo is tied in headlines to what many news agencies are already calling “one of the largest cyber security breaches ever…”

Worse, this is on top of the news from a few months back when Yahoo announced at least 500 million accounts had been stolen. Yahoo says the new hack is “likely unrelated” to the other hack, but has offered very little additional information.

The lack of information combined with the multiple headlines about the multiple hacking incidents has consumer confidence in Yahoo dropping. The company needs to do something immediately to stop this fall and begin to rebuild user trust … or this could just be the beginning. Internet users have many options who are not in the headlines for hacking scandals, so Yahoo cannot afford to take crisis PR communication for granted.

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