Yahoo has already confirmed that as much as 1 billion of its users are affected by a breach that seemed to have been executed in August 2013. The staggering number adds to the 500 million compromised accounts by a separate cyber attack carried out a year later.
What is particularly significant with the latest revelation is the fact that Yahoo did not uncover it on their own. They only got wind of it after law enforcement officers approached them with the information. This underscores the high level of risk for users who should be scrambling at this point to find ways to secure their personal data.
There are a few things that users can do to protect their data and security online.
The very first step involves password change. This is particularly important for Yahoo users or those who maintain accounts to its other platforms such as Flicker. Replacing password with the Yahoo Account Key is an excellent alternative.
You should also change your password even if you are using other email services such as Gmail as well as social media especially if they are linked to a Yahoo account or, worse, if you are using the same passwords for all these services.
Change Account Details
According to CNN, the hackers were not only able to obtain names and passwords in the cyber attack but also other details such as security questions. These data are purportedly used to execute an automated attack dubbed as credential stuffing.
That being said, you need to change your relevant account details, including your security questions along with information that outfits such as Yahoo use to verify your account.
It is also best to use the Yahoo two-step account notification. This involves the requirement for a secondary password temporarily sent to your device. This is a roundabout process, but it could add another layer of security to your Yahoo account, which is possibly included in the compromised list.
Two-factor notification is also being offered in other email services.
Finally, it is also crucial to adopt some online discipline. When opening an email, for instance, do not open or click any content, link, or messages from unknown or suspicious sources. The same goes when surfing the web in general.
It is important to also note that your email and online security are also the responsibility of the online services you are using. It is their obligation to make sure your data are safe and you can evaluate the security solutions that companies such as Yahoo have or are adopting. Then you can base your decision from that information when using email, social media, and other web services.
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