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Yahoo Hack Steals Personal Information

Yahoo Hack Steals Personal Information

Yahoo hack steals personal info from at least 500 million accounts.

SAN FRANCISCO – Computer hackers swiped personal information from at least 500 million Yahoo accounts in what is believed to be the biggest digital break-in at an email provider.

The massive security breakdown disclosed Thursday poses new headaches for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer as she scrambles to close a $4.8 billion sale to Verizon Communications.

The breach Thursday dates back to late 2014, raising questions about the checks and balances within Yahoo – a fallen internet star that has been laying off staff to counter a steep drop in revenue during the past eight years.

At the time of the break-in, Yahoo’s security team was led by Alex Stamos, a respected industry executive who left last year to take a similar job at Facebook.

Yahoo didn’t explain what took so long to uncover a breach that it blamed on a “state-sponsored actor” – parlance for a hacker working on behalf of a foreign government. The Sunnyvale, California, company declined to explain how it reached its conclusions about the attack, but said it is working with the FBI and other law enforcement as part of its ongoing investigation.

MOST ACCOUNTS EVER STOLEN

“This is a pretty big deal that is probably going to cost them tens of millions of dollars,” predicted Avivah Litan, a computer security analyst for Gartner Inc. “Regulators and lawyers are going to have a field day with this one.”

Litan described it as the most accounts stolen from a single email provider.

The stolen data includes users’ names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, scrambled passwords, and the security questions – and answers – used to verify an accountholder’s identity.

Last month, the tech site Motherboard reported that a hacker who uses the name “Peace” boasted that he had account information belonging to 200 million Yahoo users and was trying to sell the data on the web.

Yahoo is recommending that users change their passwords if they haven’t done so since 2014. The company said the attacker didn’t get any information about its users’ bank accounts or credit and debit cards.

THE VERIZON IMPACT

News of the security lapse could cause some people to have second thoughts about relying on Yahoo’s services, raising a prickly issue for the company as it tries to sell its digital operations to Verizon Communications.

That deal, announced two months ago, isn’t supposed to close until early next year. That leaves Verizon with wiggle room to renegotiate the purchase price or even back out if it believes the security breach will harm Yahoo’s business. That could happen if users shun Yahoo or file lawsuits because they’re incensed by the theft of their personal information.

Verizon said it still doesn’t know enough about the Yahoo break-in to assess the potential consequences. “We will evaluate as the investigation continues through the lens of overall Verizon interests, including consumers, customers, shareholders and related communities,” the company said in a statement.

DELAY OF ACQUISITION?

At the very least, Verizon is going to need more time to assess what it will be getting into if it proceeds with its plans to take over Yahoo, said Scott Vernick, an attorney specializing in data security for the law firm Fox Rothschild.

“This is going to slow things down. There is going to be a lot of blood, sweat and tears shed on this,” Vernick said. “A buyer needs to understand the cybersecurity strengths and weaknesses of its target these days.”

Investors evidently aren’t nervous about the Verizon deal unraveling yet. Yahoo’s stock added a penny Thursday to close at $44.17. But the Verizon sale represents a sliver of Yahoo’s total market value, which primarily consists of a stake in Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group currently worth $42 billion.

 

 

Contact a broker at Moller Insurance Ltd. today to learn more about cybersecurity and how to protect your personal information.

Source:

Liedtke, Michael. “Yahoo Hack Steals Personal Info from at Least 500 Million Accounts.” Canadian Underwriter. Associated Press, 23 Sept. 2016. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.

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Virtual Craze Opens Up Real World Risk

Virtual Craze Opens Up Real World Risk

Pokemon GO – Gotta Catch ’em All…Carefully

“Third-party liability coverage – I choose you” are words that have been hopefully uttered by Pokemon Go developers, as today’s hottest virtual app can lead to real world dangers.

Pegged as the first augmented reality experience, the new app – which utilizes a smartphone’s location tracking, GPS and digital image camera overlay – sends users on a digital monster hunt in their immediate surroundings. That means thousands are literally taking to the streets – often with gazes glued to their phones – to seek out Pikachu in the digital flesh.

Along with the app’s overnight popularity – Nintendo’s stock has soared U.S. $7.5 billion in the days since launch – safety concerns have been mounting, with images of game-induced injuries being uploaded on social media.

As well, the game has designated certain buildings, landmarks and businesses as Pokemon ‘training gyms’, without the knowledge or consent of owners, driving thousands of unwanted visitors to trespass or disrupt businesses. Criminals have also taken advantage of the game’s potential, with three St. Louis men allegedly using it to lure unsuspecting players with the intention of robbing them.

All said, Nintendo and app developer Niantic Inc., had better have air-tight liability coverages – an area often overlooked by smaller developers and businesses when launching new technology says an underwriting expert.

“Consumers use apps in ways that one cannot always predict and thus claims are brought that insureds cannot always predict,” stated Charlie Murray, technology underwriter at CFC Technology limited in a previous interview with Insurance Business. “Therefore, app developers should be seeking a broad E&O wording, covering exposures such as user generated content, bodily injury, property damage, breach of contract and civil liability, which can give insured’s peace of mind and balance sheet protection in the event an allegation is made against them.”

He adds that given the rapid growth enjoyed by some apps, insurance is an immediate need for any developer bringing a new app to market.

“It doesn’t always post a problem to small businesses when not purchasing insurance from the offset; when very small the exposure to a business is generally minimal. However, the growth you see in the Tech sector is profound, they can go from zero users to widespread adoption almost overnight, and so insurance should be sought from day one.”

While it’s unclear what type of coverages Nintendo and Niantic currently have, the latter web developer has taken extensive protections via disclaimer in the past. Niantic’s earlier game Ingress, upon which the location and gameplay technologies of Pokemon Go are based, urged players to be aware of their surroundings, not to trespass while in gameplay, and protected the developer from all liability for injuries or losses incurred during gameplay.

Just goes to show – when it comes to liability coverages, it’s smart to catch em’ all.

 

 

Graham, P. (2016, July 13). Virtual Pokemon Go Craze Opens Up Real World of Risk. Retrieved July 13, 2016, from http://www.insurancebusiness.ca/news/virtual-pokemon-go-craze-opens-up-real-world-of-liability-210319.aspx

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