Yahoo hack: Have an account? Here's what you need to know

On the heels of yet another massive data breach, Verizon Communications Inc.is possibly getting cold feet concerning its acquisition of Yahoo. They are in the process of notifying potentially affected users and is requiring them to change their passwords.

The revelation of Yahoo's latest hack underscores what many Americans have known for years: All those emails, photos and other personal files stored online can easily be stolen, and there's little anyone can do about it. That's double the number affected by a hack revealed in September.

Yahoo also encourages users to review the online banking accounts for suspicious activity.

He adds that it is possible the data, including names, telephone numbers and dates of birth, will - or already has - become available to buyers on the dark net, although so far there has been no evidence of this. What risk? Well, for folks who re-use passwords, it might mean that the bad actors who stole their Yahoo account information may have the username and password to log into our bank accounts and steal money. He told NYT that three buyers, including two prominent spammers and another who might be involved in espionage tactics purchased the entire database at the aforementioned price from a hacker group believed to based in Eastern Europe. Also stolen are encrypted passwords for each account, as well as security questions used to validate users who want to recover passwords they have forgotten. Reset your password and start using good habits when creating passwords on other sites. You can change your password yet again.

The latest breach drew widespread criticism from security experts, several advising consumers to close their Yahoo accounts. "These are the sorts of questions that ask you where you first went to school or what the name of your first pet was".

"Yahoo users could have had immaculate computer security and still been the victim here", said Will Ackerly, chief technology officer at Virtru, a computer security firm he co-founded after working for eight years at the National Security Agency. "Of course first I'll send you a message to let you know I will do it and how much to pay me to get your email back", he says.

The extensive list of hacks and data breaches revealed this year points to a worrying trend. This means that attackers in some cases won't need passwords at all to login to Yahoo as you - the attackers may be able to create a cookie on your phone or laptop that makes it appear to Yahoo as if you previously did supply your password.

Yahoo shares fell $2.23, or 5.5 percent, to $38.68 in afternoon trading. Yahoo provided the email services for BT and Sky customers, as well as other services.

Speaking to reporters at a daily briefing, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Thursday that United States investigators would have to ensure that releasing any public information about those behind the attack would not compromise the probe.

Vermont senator Patrick Leahy has called for a hearing before a senate judiciary committee, which has yet to be scheduled.

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