Yahoo announced that it now believes a 2013 security breach exposed all 3 billion of its users at the time.
The stolen information didn’t include passwords in clear text, payment data or bank accounts. Yahoo is notifying users.
The company is facing a nationwide lawsuit lodged against it on behalf of more than 1 billion users; it remains to be seen if that number will rise with this new reveal. Verizon and Altaba Inc., the former owner of the Yahoo internet assets acquired by Verizon, agreed earlier this year to split the liability costs of consumer and business lawsuits related to the breach. Altaba also has to cover any shareholder liability costs.
“Certainly, this makes the hack look worse than Verizon and the rest of us thought, but I don’t know that that materially changes the valuation of Yahoo as a company or the ongoing cost of dealing with the hack,” said Jan Dawson, an analyst at Jackdaw Research.
Verizon was able to purchase Verizon for $350 million less than expected due to the 2013 data breach and a subsequent 2014 hack. Yahoo hasn’t been able to identify who was responsible for the 2013 breach, but the U.S. government has accused Russia of directing the 2014 hack.
The United States has accused Karim Baratov, a Canadian citizen who was born in Kazakhstan, of working with Russian intelligence agents who paid him to break into at least 80 email accounts, including those of specific targets with non-Yahoo accounts. In addition, the United States has charged two Russian intelligence agents, Baratov and another alleged hacker over the 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts, marking the first time the U.S. government had criminally charged Russian spies for cybercrimes.
Baratov faces U.S. charges that include identity theft, conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and could face decades in an American jail if found guilty on all charges.