The Hacking of Yahoo
Last week, Yahoo! announced that it was hacked pretty massively in 2014. Over half a billion usernames and passwords were affected, making this the largest data breach of all time.
Yahoo! claimed it was a government that did it:
A recent investigation by Yahoo! Inc. has confirmed that a copy of certain user account information was stolen from the company’s network in late 2014 by what it believes is a state-sponsored actor.
I did a bunch of press interviews after the hack, and repeatedly said that “state-sponsored actor” is often code for “please don’t blame us for our shoddy security because it was a really sophisticated attacker and we can’t be expected to defend ourselves against that.”
Well, it turns out that Yahoo! had shoddy security and it was a bunch of criminals that hacked them. The first story is from the New York Times, and outlines the many ways Yahoo! ignored security issues.
But when it came time to commit meaningful dollars to improve Yahoo’s security infrastructure, Ms. Mayer repeatedly clashed with Mr. Stamos, according to the current and former employees. She denied Yahoo’s security team financial resources and put off proactive security defenses, including intrusion-detection mechanisms for Yahoo’s production systems.
The second story is from the Wall Street Journal:
InfoArmor said the hackers, whom it calls “Group E,” have sold the entire Yahoo database at least three times, including one sale to a state-sponsored actor. But the hackers are engaged in a moneymaking enterprise and have “a significant criminal track record,” selling data to other criminals for spam or to affiliate marketers who aren’t acting on behalf of any government, said Andrew Komarov, chief intelligence officer with InfoArmor Inc.
That is not the profile of a state-sponsored hacker, Mr. Komarov said. “We don’t see any reason to say that it’s state sponsored,” he said. “Their clients are state sponsored, but not the actual hackers.”