SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — 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 dates back to late 2014, raising questions about the checks and balances within Yahoo — a fallen internet star that has been laying off staff and trimming expenses 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.
So how can you make sure your account stays safe?
Here's three things you can do right now to protect your identity:
- Change your passwords - It may seem like the the most obvious thing to do, but it's often the last to get done because it can be such a hassle. Make sure to come up with a strong complex passwords. Things like 123 or Password1 just don't cut it.
- Change your security questions - All of these were part of the hack and can include names, dates of birth and e-mail addresses, making them very important to change,
- Get your free credit report - The only true free report is the one at annualcreditreport.com. You should be keeping up with your credit report each year, but now would be a good time to check if you haven't done so yet this year.
At this point the data breach shows no signs that users bank accounts or credit cards were stolen, but that's definitely something you want to keep an eye on moving forward.
Since this breach dates back to 2014 and is the suspected work of a foreign entity the best piece of advice you can follow moving forward is to be careful which e-mails you open, since they could contain malware.