Yahoo unveils more cyber woes

James Pearce
Published on:

Internet giant warns customers that hackers may have used intricate techniques to hack their accounts, as Verizon nears $350m discount on its takeover price

Yahoo has issued customers with a third warning over a potential cyber threat to their accounts, raising further questions around Verizon’s proposed takeover of the embattled internet company.

Reports claim US telco Verizon is close to knocking around $350 million off the $4.83 billion price tag it originally agreed to buy Yahoo last year, after the internet firm admitted it had been victim to two of the largest recorded cyber attacks in history.

Yahoo has now warned customers that their accounts could have suffered cookie-forging activities linked to the same state-sponsored hackers that were blamed for a cyber attack that hit 500 million customers in 2014. Yahoo only disclosed details of the 2014 attack in August, a month after it struck a deal with Verizon.

It then disclosed what has been labelled as the largest recorded cyber attack in history, which took place in 2013 and compromised the accounts of one billion users.

According to ZDNet, an email sent to Yahoo customers warned of another potential attack that may have taken place in 2015 or 2016 using advanced forged cookies. Yahoo did not disclose how many accounts may have been impacted.

The email said: “Our outside forensic experts have been investigating the creation of forged cookies that could allow an intruder to access users’ accounts without a password. Based on the ongoing investigation, we believe a forged cookie may have been used in 2015 or 2016 to access your account.”

Initial reports around Yahoo’s cyber security problems cast doubt on Verizon’s proposed takeover, but the operator has yet to cancel the deal. 

Bloomberg this week reported that the deal is still on, but Verizon will buy Yahoo at a cut-price between $250-$350 million less than the price originally agreed.

The reports claim an announcement about the new agreement could be made within a matter of days or weeks, but it remains to be seen if this latest concern around Yahoo’s cyber security will have any further impact on the proposed takeover.