Yahoo has announced it has lost user information for over 500 million accounts.
The tech giant posted a notice this week that information on the accounts over over half a billion users has been compromised. This is allegedly the result of a hack, and a significant range of user data may have been stolen.
According to Yahoo:
“The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.”
The notice closes out with a statement about the current state of information technology, and the increased vulnerability to hacking presented in the modern age:
“Online intrusions and thefts by state-sponsored actors have become increasingly common across the technology industry. Yahoo and other companies have launched programs to detect and notify users when a company strongly suspects that a state-sponsored actor has targeted an account. Since the inception of Yahoo's program in December 2015, independent of the recent investigation, approximately 10,000 users have received such a notice.”
The Bitcoin community is no stranger to security breaches
Similar security breaches to what happened to Yahoo are common in the world of Cryptocurrency. The DAO was hacked, leading to a loss of 3.6 million Ether, 1,000 of which the hacker donated to Ethereum Classic’s development after the currency was forked in order to foil the thief. Cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift also experienced a hack this year, and Bitfinex was as well, leading the exchange to implement a loss socialization scheme to push the effects of the hack directly onto its users.
This spate of hacks underscores the fact that over one third of Bitcoin exchanges so far have been hacked and had funds stolen. Some security experts believe that all exchanges are insecure because they still employ hot wallets, instead of opting for a more labor-intensive, but much more secure, rapid cold storage solution.
In the tech world, users have the responsibility to care for their own security
As with any relatively new field, the world of internet technology is rife with security risks for the unaware user. For this reason users should take caution with the protection of their devices and data, including avoiding the use of untrusted third party apps that may secretly be malware (possibly including Pokemon Go), and conducting sensitive actions, such as Bitcoin transactions, over insecure and public networks.
In the Bitcoin world, the use of higher levels of security is on the rise, as multisig wallet use is higher than ever. However, only 13% of Bitcoin is currently protected by multisig, meaning improved wallet security still has a long way to go in adoption.