Last Wednesday, Yahoo Inc. confirmed it has been subjected to a security leak that compromised the accounts over one billion of its users. The attack happened in August 2013 and has led to authorities calling for action against the internet giant. One cybersecurity expert believes that the perpetrators of the breach could have been working for a government.
In an interview with Radio Sputnik, Gary Miliefsky echoed Yahoo’s theory that a foreign government was behind the breach. Miliefsky is a cybersecurity expert and founding member of the US Department of Homeland Security.
Yahoo says two hacks from a state actor combined to cause the breach. The attack resulted in the largest security exposure in history. Unfortunately for Yahoo, this is an unwanted title the company has already been holding since a similar attack announced in September that saw 500 million user accounts hacked.
Companies are beeing fooled by attackers, Miliefsky adds. Hackers are targeting employees through seemingly legitimate emails.
“When they click on a link, or download an attachment or open a file they think they should open, because they trusted the email, they get infected with a remote access trojan which allows criminals, hackers or nation states to get at the data inside that network from far away.”
The expert adds that companies are not giving staff sufficient training. Because of this, major breaches are likely to continue. Miliefsky says employees can avoid such phishing scams by avoiding opening and sending email attachments.
“Spearfishing is the number one way to steal data from any organization. In the United States, Anthem.com lost 80 million records, OPM.gov lost 22 million records, now Yahoo a billion – it’ll just keep happening if people are not more aware and more vigilant,” he says.
Pressure on Yahoo
After the previous attack, problems have been mounting for Yahoo. The internet giant has been in steep decline in recent years and this latest breach could be a final nail in the proverbial coffin. Verizon has agreed to purchase Yahoo in a $4.8 billion deal in July.
However, industry insiders now say the US telecommunication giant could pull out of the deal entirely. At the very least, the BBC reports Verizon wants to amend the acquisition and lower the price. Essentially, the carrier is purchasing a company that has now been tarnished. This eventuality is something we suggested could happen in October.