Yahoo Attack: Breach through Partners

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 @ 09:02 AM gHale

Yahoo is urging users to change passwords because unknown attackers have attempted to access Yahoo Mail accounts, the company said last week.

“Based on our current findings, the list of usernames and passwords that were used to execute the attack was likely collected from a third-party database compromise,” said Jay Rossiter, Yahoo senior vice president of platforms and personalization products. “We have no evidence that they were obtained directly from Yahoo’s systems.”

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“Our ongoing investigation shows that malicious computer software used the list of usernames and passwords to access Yahoo Mail accounts. The information sought in the attack seems to be names and email addresses from the affected accounts’ most recent sent emails,” Rossiter said.

Although Yahoo did not identify the compromised third party, security professionals have said attackers are increasingly finding ways to breach their targets by cracking systems belonging to their business partners.

The company conducted a password reset on affected accounts, and users will get a prompt to re-secure their accounts by changing the password.

“In addition to adopting better password practices by changing your password regularly and using different variations of symbols and characters, users should never use the same password on multiple sites or services,” Rossiter said. “Using the same password on multiple sites or services makes users particularly vulnerable to these types of attacks.”

The company didn’t say how many mail accounts have suffered in the attack. Yahoo did not disclose details on the attack, but said it is working with federal law enforcement agencies and that it has “implemented additional measures” to block attacks.

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