Internet search browser company Yahoo, which was sold to Verizon Communications, will face a nationwide lawsuit lodged against it on behalf of more than 1 billion users. Those users were affected by the company’s recent data breaches, cyber attacks that were the largest ever.
According to a report in the New York Post, citing a decision from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, the decision to let the lawsuit stand is seen as a blow to Verizon. The company spent $4.7 billion to acquire Yahoo’s core internet asset. Verizon was going to pay more but, when the two massive data breaches came to light, it obtained the company’s internet assets for a lower price tag.
In the court decision, the judge dismissed Yahoo’s claim that victims of the data hack didn’t have the standing to sue.
“All plaintiffs have alleged a risk of future identity theft, in addition to loss of value of their personal identification information,” the judge wrote, according to the New York Post. What’s more, the judge noted some plaintiffs claim they had to spend money to prevent future identity theft attacks while others could have changed their passwords had Yahoo informed them sooner.
“We believe it to be a significant victory for consumers, and will address the deficiencies the court pointed out,” said John Yanchunis, a lawyer for the plaintiffs who also chairs an executive committee overseeing the case, in an interview with the New York Post “It’s the biggest data breach in the history of the world.”
Infiltrating companies’ computer networks has been a favorite pastime of hackers for years, but recently, the pace and sophistication of the cyberattacks have rapidly increased. The Identity Theft Resource Center pegs the number of data breaches in the U.S. at close to 1,000 in 2016 alone, potentially impacting more than 35 million personal records such as Social Security numbers and bank account information. Many of the companies saw an initial hit to their businesses, but only for a short period of time.