The international tech conglomerate, Yahoo, has once again made it to the front page, claiming that a mammoth 3 billion of its accounts have been hacked in a major data theft in 2013. This news comes along the heels of Yahoo’s earlier revelation claiming that only 1 billion of its accounts have been hacked, which in itself was touted as the largest breach in history. The exposition had considerably increased the legal exposure for Verizon Communications Inc., currently the new owner of Yahoo.
Toward the end of the last quarter of 2016, Yahoo had categorically stated that more than 1 billion of its user accounts had been hacked in 2013. The disclosure sent out shockwaves across the global cyber security market, and turned out to be disastrous for Yahoo, given that the cyber thefts had pressurized the company to cut down its selling price for Verizon. In the light of two prodigious cyberattacks that took place at Yahoo, Verizon Communications, in February 2017, brought about a reduction of close to USD 350 million in its purchase price. Furthermore, the closure of the Verizon acquisition deal, which was first brought to public light in the month of July, had been perpetually delayed on account of the discussions between both the companies regarding the two major data breaches. For the record, Verizon paid up a total of USD 4.48 billion for Yahoo’s core business.
Now, Yahoo asserts that the data theft applies for 3 billion accounts, not just 1 billion, as claimed earlier. A substantial percentage of Yahoo users possess multiple accounts as well, and according to the company, they have got their hands on ‘new intelligence’ that depicts all user accounts to have been affected. The investigation however, has also revealed that the hacked information was not inclusive of payment card data, bank account details, or passwords in clear text.
Yahoo’s cyberattacks brought under the scanner have led to the fling numerous lawsuits. In August 2017, for instance, Yahoo’s users brought forth a lawsuit, the ruling of which stated that Yahoo must face a nationwide litigation. In the latest developments, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, Senator John Thune, mentioned that he intends to hold a hearing later in October with regards to the huge data breaches at Yahoo and Equifax, Inc. (EFX.N) and Yahoo.
Verizon has so far, not commented on the ongoing issue. Experts predict though, that this incident would eventually lead to an increased number of class action lawsuits by Yahoo account holders and company shareholders. So far, it has been reported that the internet behemoth has already faced close to 41 consumer class action lawsuits in U.S. courts, and this number may most plausibly increase in the ensuing months.