by Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Yahoo says the claim that it’s been attacked by computer criminals is true, but hundreds of millions more accounts than previously thought have been compromised, and there are critical steps for Yahoo users to take.
The admission from Yahoo was expected, but the scope of the breach is stunning: the personal information associated with 500 million email accounts has been stolen — names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, scrambled passwords, and, Yahoo says, “in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.”
The company says it believes the attack came at the hands of a hacker supported by some government.
Yahoo is contacting people who may have been affected, but you shouldn’t wait: change your password, and security questions and answers, for any Internet account where you use the same or similar information to login to Yahoo.
There’s been no known larger data breach in history: this far eclipses attacks on Adobe and eBay earlier this decade, and LinkedIn and MySpace uncovered earlier this year.