Yahoo! Hack Endangers Over 450,000 Users
One of Yahoo!'s (NASDAQ: YHOO) biggest properties has been compromised, causing more than 450,000 passwords to fall into the hands of hackers.
According to Business Insider, TrustedSec, a security research firm, discovered that hackers have published an 18MB file that includes the e-mail addresses and passwords of users whose accounts were compromised.
Those 453,000 users are apparently part of the Yahoo! Voices network, which was conceived after Yahoo! acquired Associated Content in 2010. The site, which Yahoo! paid $100 million to obtain, features stories from a large number of freelance contributors who produce content for a wide range of topics.
Yahoo!'s password leak is significant for the company, but it pales in comparison to the massive leak that tarnished the accounts of 6.5 million LinkedIn (NASDAQ: LNKD) users. After that leak occurred, Bill Carey, the VP of Marketing and Business Development at Siber Systems, told Benzinga that another security breach was inevitable.
"It's not inevitable that every single website that you sign up for is going to get exposed at some point," said Carey, whose firm developed password memory software. "I'm definitely not saying that. What I'm saying is, at some point, somewhere, there's going to be a way for a hacker to get in. And it's not going to be 100%. But it only takes, you know, 1% penetration, or 5% penetration, to access millions of passwords."
Sony (NYSE: SNE), however, did endure a password leak of 100% penetration when the accounts of all of its PlayStation Network users were compromised. The passwords, credit card numbers, and e-mail addresses of more than 70 million people were spread across the Internet, causing numerous headaches for PlayStation Network users and a lawsuit for Sony's video game division.
Today's password leak is a stark reminder of Carey's words.
"It is just a matter of time before another company announces that there has been a password leak," he said last month.
In the weeks after Sony's attack, hackers targeted another game company - Codemasters. From usernames and home addresses to users' phone numbers, order history, and site activity, hackers were able to obtain a considerable amount of information.
"Other hackers and hacking groups realized they could jump on the bandwagon and break into other Sony properties and get in the news," Richard Wang, the manager of a security vendor called Sophos Labs, told the Huffington Post in 2011. "Really anything that has the Sony brand on it has become a target for someone trying to make a name for themselves or trying to prove they can break into the website."
But while a media conglomerate, Yahoo!, is making headlines for getting hacked this week, Sony has maintained its security this summer.
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