Yahoo Agrees to Settlement Following Massive 2013 Data Breach, Including $50M Fund for Victims

The data breach that affected all 3 billion Yahoo accounts beginning in 2013 is getting a bit of closure this week, with a settlement agreement between Yahoo and the Northern District Court of California (via Engadget). In the settlement, Yahoo has agreed to put $50 million into a fund for victims of the breach, provide two years of credit monitoring from AllClear, and a few other benefits for victims. The settlement is still awaiting court approval.


Those users who spent time addressing the damage from the breach, and can show documentation that they were affected, will be able to file a complaint. The filing requires users to prove documented losses of time measured in hours, and victims can be awarded $25 per hour for up to 15 hours at a maximum of $375. If the user does not have proof of lost time, they are eligible for up to five hours of compensation reaching $125. Those who paid for a premium Yahoo email account will be able to request a 25 percent refund.

In September 2016, Yahoo first disclosed a 2014 hack in which "at least" 500 million Yahoo accounts were compromised. In December 2016, Yahoo then disclosed a second major hack that affected more than one billion accounts in August 2013 -- the case that this settlement is addressing. Yahoo's new parent company Verizon then explained in October 2017 that all three billion Yahoo accounts that existed at the time were affected in the 2013 hack.

Information stolen from affected accounts in the 2013 data breach included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, hashed passwords, and both encrypted and unencrypted security questions and answers. Clear text passwords, bank account information, and credit/debit card information were not believed to have been accessed in the attack.

Verizon said in a statement last year, "We proactively work to ensure the safety and security of our users and networks in an evolving landscape of online threats," further iterating that Yahoo will now "benefit from Verizon's experience and resources" in the field of privacy and security.

Tag: Yahoo

Discuss this article in our forums

Yahoo Debuts New ‘Yahoo Together’ Group Messaging App

Yahoo today announced the launch of a new group messaging app that it's calling Yahoo Together, which features built-in organization and smart tools to make it easier to streamline conversations about different topics.

Yahoo Together supports different groups, such as family, friends, book clubs, etc., with conversations able to be split up by topic. According to Yahoo, this is designed to allow users to follow the they care about in the group conversation while muting the rest.


The app, which looks a lot like Slack and similar services, supports the sharing of videos, photos, and other file types, all of which are uploaded into a shared library accessible to everyone in the group. Powerful search tools have been included to help users find specific discussions and content easily.

Shared calendars let Yahoo Together participants plan events, and built-in reminders make sure everyone knows when something is happening. Users can also set up a custom reaction that can be inserted into the chat with a tap, which Yahoo says is ideal for inside jokes and catchphrases.

Yahoo Together is available for download on iOS and Android devices starting today.

Tag: Yahoo

Discuss this article in our forums

Yahoo Mail Debuts New Mobile Web Service for iOS and Android Smartphones

Yahoo today announced the launch of a new Yahoo Mail website optimized for mobile devices, allowing users to access their inboxes without having to download an app on their iPhone or Android smartphone (via TechCrunch).

On the website for the new mobile web experience, Yahoo says that its users will have access to swipe gestures to easily mark messages as read or delete them completely, organizable folders, auto-suggest email addresses, and customizable themes.


According to senior director of product management for Yahoo Mail, Joshua Jacobson, the company built the new mobile web service for users who don't want to download an app that takes up more storage on their device.
“We’ve heard loud and clear from users that they’re not always ready to make the big leap to downloading an app that takes up any storage space on their phone,” said Joshua Jacobson, senior director of product management for Yahoo Mail.

“People with high-capacity phones may want to save that space for photos or videos, while others with entry-level smartphones may just have limited space from the get-go. Further, some folks share devices or borrow a family member’s to access their email. This is all especially true in developing markets.”
The mobile web launch also ties into a new app for Android Go, which touts a smaller download size on the Android software that's tailored for cheaper devices. With the new Yahoo Mail versions, Yahoo is aiming at both storage-concerned users and those in emerging markets where low-cost devices are popular.

The company hopes to boost stagnated user growth, which sits at 227.8 million active users per month, an increase from about two million from one year ago. As TechCrunch points out, Yahoo's user base is far smaller in comparison to Google's Gmail client, which reported 1.4 billion users in April.

As the company grows Yahoo Mail, just over a week ago it announced that it will be permanently discontinuing Yahoo Messenger on July 17, 2018. At the time, Yahoo said its reason for shutting down Messenger was to focus on "building and introducing new, exciting communications tools" that will be a "better fit" for its customers.


Discuss this article in our forums

Yahoo Messenger Will Be Discontinued on July 17, 2018 After 20 Years of Service

Yahoo today announced that its Yahoo Messenger service will no longer be supported after July 17, 2018, encompassing the closure of apps for iOS and Android and any web browser clients (via TechCrunch). The service will function normally until then, and after that date users will no longer be able to access their chats and the Messenger service as a whole will be shut down.


The company promised that the discontinuation of Yahoo Messenger will not impact a user's Yahoo ID, so it will continue to work for products like Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Fantasy. As for a reason, Yahoo said that it is focusing on "building and introducing new, exciting communications tools" that will be a "better fit" for its customers.
We know we have many loyal fans who have used Yahoo Messenger since its beginning as one of the first chat apps of its kind. As the communications landscape continues to change over, we're focusing on building and introducing new, exciting communications tools that better fit consumer needs.
"There currently isn't a replacement" for Yahoo Messenger, however, so the company pointed users toward the invite-only group messaging app Yahoo Squirrel. Squirrel is still in the testing phase and allows groups to organize private chats with friends and family members in a style similar to Slack and Discord.

Yahoo originally debuted its Yahoo Messenger app on the iOS App Store [Direct Link] in April 2009, giving users the ability to instant message their contacts when away from their computer. In the years since, messaging apps like Apple's iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and others have surged in popularity and caused users to leave Yahoo's platform for ones more popular among their own friend groups. Today, Yahoo Messenger is #167 on the App Store's most-downloaded Social Networking app list.

Prior to its appearance on the App Store, Yahoo Messenger originally debuted in 1998 (dubbed "Yahoo Pager") as an instant messaging client that users could download for free to chat with friends. In 2018, Yahoo said that users will be able to download their chat history to a computer or other device for the next six months, and more information can be found in the FAQ section of the announcement page.

Yahoo Messenger's closure in 2018 follows the sunsetting of AOL Instant Messenger in December 2017, both of which are owned by parent company Oath and lasted for around 20 years online.

Tag: Yahoo

Discuss this article in our forums

Yahoo Testing Invite-Only Group Messaging App ‘Squirrel’ on iOS and Android

Yahoo this week began testing a new messaging app on iOS and Android called "Squirrel," aimed at organizing private group chats with friends, family members, and work acquaintances. The app's main feature is that group access is private and people can only be added through invitation links (via TechCrunch).

Squirrel looks visually similar to apps like Slack and Discord, offering groups access to a "Main Room," where everyone can meet up and chat, and then there's an option to create side rooms for more specific topics. These can potentially include "Secret Rooms" for chats hidden from the main group and one-on-one threads. Users in all rooms can share photos, documents, or links in chats, as well as create custom reactions.


Users can mute rooms they don't have any interest in, and administrators can send "blasts" to all users that flag priority messages. Whenever someone mentions your name, a separate Activity view will accumulate these messages so it's easier to scroll through and get caught up with the conversation.

Yahoo originally debuted its Yahoo Messenger app on the iOS App Store [Direct Link] in April 2009, giving users the ability to instant message their contacts when away from their computer. In the years since, messaging apps like Apple's iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and others have surged in popularity and caused users to leave Yahoo's platform for ones more popular among their own friend groups. Today, Yahoo Messenger is #167 on the App Store's most-downloaded Social Networking app list.

According to Yahoo parent company Oath, one of the main reasons for Squirrel's creation is "improving group communication in everyday life."
“At Oath, we’re always looking for creative ways to add value to our members’ lives,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We listen closely and frequently test new product ideas based on research and feedback. Right now we’re experimenting with a new invite-only messaging app focused on improving group communication in everyday life.”
Since Squirrel is invite-only, to gain access you'll have to ask someone who already has it to send you an invite to a group. According to TechCrunch, "the ability to kick off a conversation group is also currently in invitation-only mode." The iOS app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch [Direct Link].

Tag: Yahoo

Discuss this article in our forums

Verizon Says All 3 Billion Yahoo Accounts Were Compromised in 2013 Attack

Yahoo's massive data breach that occurred in August of 2013 affected all three billion Yahoo accounts that existed at the time, Yahoo parent company Verizon disclosed today in a statement on Oath.com, the website for the brand that now encompasses both AOL and Yahoo.

Previously, Yahoo said the hack affected 1 billion accounts, or a third of all accounts at the time. Verizon now says new intelligence suggests the attack was much larger, compromising all Yahoo accounts in 2013.

Subsequent to Yahoo's acquisition by Verizon, and during integration, the company recently obtained new intelligence and now believes, following an investigation with the assistance of outside forensic experts, that all Yahoo user accounts were affected by the August 2013 theft.
Information stolen from affected accounts included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, hashed passwords, and both encrypted and unencrypted security questions and answers. Clear text passwords, bank account information, and credit/debit card information are not believed to have been accessed in the attack.

In a statement, Verizon says the Yahoo team is continuing to take significant steps to enhance security.
"Verizon is committed to the highest standards of accountability and transparency, and we proactively work to ensure the safety and security of our users and networks in an evolving landscape of online threats," said Chandra McMahon, Chief Information Security Officer, Verizon. "Our investment in Yahoo is allowing that team to continue to take significant steps to enhance their security, as well as benefit from Verizon's experience and resources."
Yahoo initially uncovered the attack after law enforcement officials provided the company with Yahoo user data from an unknown source. Yahoo notified users it believed were affected in 2016 at the time the attack was disclosed, but the company will now send email notifications to additional user accounts affected by the hack.

Along with the attack in 2013, Yahoo saw another data breach in 2014 that compromised 500 million accounts, and a third major breach targeting accounts between 2015 and 2016.

The security breaches affected Verizon's $4.48 billion June acquisition of Yahoo, leading Yahoo to drop its asking price by $350 million.

Yahoo is already under SEC investigation for not disclosing the data breach sooner and affected victims have been given the right to sue the company.

Tag: Yahoo

Discuss this article in our forums