Yahoo confirms theft of 450,000 users' passwords (Update)

July 12, 2012 by RAPHAEL SATTER

Some 450,000 Yahoo users' email addresses and passwords have been leaked because of a security breach, the company confirmed Thursday, adding that just a small fraction of the stolen passwords were valid.

The company said in a statement that an "old file" from the Yahoo Contributor Network was compromised Wednesday. Among the stolen emails and passwords were many from Yahoo's own email service along with those of other companies. The Yahoo Contributor Network is a content-sharing platform.

Yahoo said it is fixing the vulnerability that led to the disclosure, changing the passwords of affected Yahoo users, and notifying other companies whose users' accounts may have been compromised.

"We apologize to all affected users," the company statement said.

Technology news websites including CNET, Ars Technica, and Mashable identified the hackers behind the attack as a little-known outfit calling itself the D33D Company. The group was quoted as saying it had stolen the unencrypted passwords using an SQL injection — the name given to a commonly used attack in which hackers use rogue commands to extract data from vulnerable websites.

"We hope that the parties responsible for managing the security of this subdomain will take this as a wake-up call," the group was quoted as saying.

Online security experts said Yahoo might have done more to protect the stored passwords, with Ohio-based TrustedSec describing the Internet giant's decision not to encrypt them as "most alarming."

Nevertheless, the haul does not appear as useful to hackers as they might have thought. Yahoo cautioned that only 5 percent of passwords associated with its account holders were valid.

It was not immediately possible to contact the Ukraine-registered website associated with D33D Company. Its contact form was inoperable Thursday, while an email address and a phone number attributed to the site's registrant appeared to be invalid.

Explore further: Sony probes new claim that hackers stole user data


Related Stories

Hackers claim new Sony cyberattack

June 3, 2011

Hackers have claimed to have compromised more than one million passwords, email addresses and other information from in the latest cyberattack on the Japanese electronics giant.

Spotlight falls on Sony's troubled cybersecurity

June 3, 2011

(AP) -- Another massive data breach at Sony has left hackers exulting, customers steaming and security experts questioning why basic fixes haven't been made to the company's stricken cybersecurity program.

Hacker claims porn site users compromised

February 13, 2012

A hacker claims to have compromised the personal information of more than 350,000 users after breaking into a disused website operated by pornography provider Brazzers.

Password breach spreads beyond LinkedIn

June 7, 2012

More websites admitted security breaches Thursday after LinkedIn said some of its members' passwords were stolen, and experts warned of email scams targeting users of the social network.

Recommended for you

Toyota promises better mileage and ride with Prius hybrid

October 13, 2015

Toyota Motor Corp. released details for its fourth-generation Prius on Tuesday, promising that improvements in the battery, engine, wind resistance and weight mean better mileage for the world's top-selling hybrid car.

Facebook to test mobile app shopping tab

October 12, 2015

Facebook said Monday that it will begin testing a shopping tab for its mobile app as it works to ramp up advertising and online commerce offerings.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.