Yahoo!, the social media pioneer with its Yahoo! Chat in the 1990s, is changing it’s name after its management just confessed that three billion, not one billion, of its user accounts were actually hacked in 2013. It will be called Yahacked!
Well, that’s just a joke, though a hacker stealing your Yahoo mail login and password is not laughable. Surely, you won’t take it for granted that someone is reading your personal emails and eavesdropping on what’s going on in your life, if you won the lottery or stumbled on a buried leprechaun treasure. It will also be worrisome if hackers know your account details as they can use those information to impersonate you and borrow money from anyone in your contacts list or commit crime in your name.
Your only peace of mind is that no hacker, even if they are 100,000 strong, can really take the time reading the emails of each of the three billion Yahoo! email users to get sensitive information or photos. They could not possibly do that and even if they subcontract it to a million readers-for-hire, it will take a lifetime to read the billions of emails of the three billion Yahoo! email users. Let’s just hope that when the Yahoo! email password thief randomly pick one user to blackmail, it will not be you.
It’s not practical to target each of the three billion Yahoo! email users but hackers may have the technology or program to filter the infinitely long list of accounts so they can pick one to target. A nobody Yahoo! email user can heave a sigh of relief for he or she will most likely not catch a cybercriminal’s fancy. The likely targets are those corporate executives with fat bank and PayPal accounts.
Just the same, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You will have to change the password of your Yahoo! email and use the portal’s added layer of security features to protect against hacking. You also need to check your bank and credit card accounts to see if your deposits are still intact and there are no suspicious purchases. And if you have sensitive information there, you may have to migrate its content to your other email accounts and delete it.
Of course, you have the option to just ignore the risk and stay worry-free. After all, this news about Yahoo! having three billion users sounds like a marketing gimmick by its new owner Verizon Communications probably just to prop up the brand to get more advertisers or to further lower its purchase price for Yahoo! The 2013 hacking forced the original owner of Yahoo! to lower its selling price to Verizon by $350 million.
The latest revelation by Yahoo! may also be the death knell for the email and Internet content service provider as the hacking of one billion user’s accounts is very bad PR and already caused multiple class suits. The vulnerability of Yahoo! may force the exodus of users to other email services like Gmail, which currently has one billion active users. Losing patrons will weaken Yahoo!’s earning potentials via advertisements. And if more class suits follow with the news that more accounts were actually compromised, it may prove costly for Verizon should it eventually lose the case in court and may be forced to sell Yahoo! to pay the damages if not shut down the service for good.