‘2013 Hack Affected All Three Billion Yahoo Accounts’

 

A 2013 hack affected all three billion accounts at Yahoo, triple the original estimate, the online giant’s parent company said Tuesday following a new analysis of the incident.

The disclosure from Verizon, which acquired Yahoo’s online assets earlier this year, revised upward the initial estimate of one billion accounts affected.

The statement said the estimate is based on “new intelligence” following an investigation with the assistance of outside forensic experts into the incident in August 2013.

“While this is not a new security issue, Yahoo is sending email notifications to the additional affected user accounts,” said a statement issued by Verizon’s internet unit known as Oath.

“The investigation indicates that the user account information that was stolen did not include passwords in clear text, payment card data, or bank account information. The company is continuing to work closely with law enforcement.”

The Yahoo breach was already believed to be the largest ever in terms of numbers of users affected. But a recently disclosed breach by credit agency Equifax is seen as potentially more damaging because of the sensitivity of the data leaked.

– Yahoo brand lives on –
Although Yahoo is no longer an independent company — its financial holdings are in a separate company now called Altaba — Verizon has continued to operate the Yahoo brand, including its email service and a variety of news and entertainment websites.

Oath includes the Yahoo internet operations along with those of another former internet star, AOL.

“Verizon is committed to the highest standards of accountability and transparency, and we proactively work to ensure the safety and security of our users and networks in an evolving landscape of online threats,” said Chandra McMahon, the company’s chief information security officer.

“Our investment in Yahoo is allowing that team to continue to take significant steps to enhance their security, as well as benefit from Verizon’s experience and resources.”

Yahoo, which was once one of the leading internet firms, sold its main online operations to Verizon in a deal that closed in June for $4.48 billion.

The purchase price was cut following revelations of two major data breaches at Yahoo.

In addition to the 2013 breach, Yahoo said that hackers in 2014 stole personal data from more than 500 million of its user accounts.

The US Justice Department charged two Russian intelligence operatives and a pair of hackers over one of the attacks, which had apparent twin goals of espionage and financial gain.

Canadian authorities this year arrested Karim Baratov, 22, an immigrant from Kazakhstan, on a US warrant.

US authorities allege Russian intelligence agents hired Baratov and another hacker to carry out attacks on Yahoo from 2014 to 2016.

The attacks at Yahoo and Equifax have raised troubling questions about online security and data theft which may be used for fraud or espionage purposes.

Earlier Tuesday, a White House cybersecurity aide said officials were looking at using new types of identifiers online which would eliminate the use of social security numbers, which were leaked in the Equifax incident.

“I feel very strongly that the social security number has outlived its usefulness,” Rob Joyce said.

For years, social security numbers have been used by Americans to open bank accounts or establish their identity when applying for credit. But stolen social security numbers can be used by criminals to open bogus accounts or for other types of identity theft.

AFP

Police Offer Scholarships To Nine Students In Yobe

yobe police commissionerThe Nigeria Police Force has offered scholarships to nine students in Yobe State, north east Nigeria, who excelled in the Police Scholarship Scheme examination.

Of the nine that passed the aptitude test, three got scholarships from secondary school up to the university level, while six primary school pupils will be supported to their degree programmes.

Presenting the scholarship certificates to the beneficiaries, the Yobe State Commissioner of Police (CP), Zannah Ibrahim, said that the scheme is aimed at supporting Police officers’ children.

Mr Ibrahim disclosed that children of the deceased would continue to enjoy the scheme up to university level, while those still serving will only be supported if their parents are not found wanting in the discharge of their official duties.

He commended the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Solomon Arase, for instituting the scheme, saying it would stimulate productivity among the rank and file, as well as give them a sense of belonging.

Some parents of the beneficiaries of the award expressed gratitude to the IGP. They wished him God’s guidance and protection in piloting the affairs of the Nigeria Police Force.

The CP also presented a commendation letter from the IGP to the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Toyin Gbadegesin, for hard work, dedication to duty and for incomparable Public Relations partnership between the Force and the host community.

Mr Toyin Gbadegesin, in an interview with newsmen after receiving the commendation letter, dedicated the award to God, the IGP and to journalists who continue to disseminate the policies and programmes of the Police. He promised to always justify the confidence reposed in him.

Over a thousand students of the rank and files in Yobe Police Command sat for the IGP scholarship scheme exams in the state.

FBI Appeals In Chansler Web ‘Sextortion’ Case

chanslerThe FBI has made a public appeal to help identify over 240 victims of a man who used the internet to extort pornographic images from teenage girls.

United States (US) agency says Lucas Michael Chansler, a 31-year-old man, had posed as a teenager to get girls to expose themselves via a webcam and blackmailed them into sending him more explicit images.

Last year, he was sentenced to 105 years in jail after pleading guilty to producing child pornography.

According to reports, so far 109 girls have been identified.

FBI’s Assistant Director, Joseph S. Campbell said, “Sextortion is a growing threat both domestically and internationally.

“The devastating impact of these crimes on the victims, their families, and friends cannot be ignored,” he added.

Chansler had targeted teenage girls in 26 US states, three Canadian provinces and the United Kingdom (UK).

He had admitted he used social sites to chat with girls who ranged in age from 13 to 18, saying that adults were “too smart” to fall for his scheme.

Obama To Sign Executive Order On Cyber Security

obamaThe U.S President, Barack Obama, is expected to sign an executive order on Friday which is aimed at encouraging companies to share information about cyber security threats with the government and each other, a response to attacks like that of Sony.

Obama will sign the order at a day-long conference on cybersecurity at Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley.

The order of the summit sets the stage for new private-sector led “Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations” (ISAOs) – hubs, where companies share cyber threat data with each other and with the Department of Homeland Security.

Mr Obama, who will be joining at the summit with top US security officials, is planning to call on private tech firms to share more information with law enforcement, potentially placing him at odds with the companies.

A senior member of Britain’s National Crime Agency is also due to appear, along with executives from Microsoft, Facebook and Google.

Mr Obama “wants to build support for efforts to better protect against cuber-threats and share more information about cyber-attacks”, the White House said.

Michael Daniel, Obama’s cyber coordinator, in a conference call with reporters said: “We believe that by clearly defining what makes for a good ISAO, that will make tying liability protection to sectoral organisations easier and more accessible to the public and to privacy and civil liberties advocates”.

Cybersecurity industry veterans said that Obama’s anticipated order would be a modest step in one of the president’s major priorities which is the defense of companies from cyber attacks.

Obama has proposed legislation to require more information-sharing and limit any legal liability for companies that share too much. Only Congress can provide the liability protection through legislation.

In the last summit, Obama said cybersecurity was a “challenge that we can only meet together, adding that ”it’s going to bring everybody together – industry, tech companies, law enforcement, consumer and privacy advocates, law professors who are specialists in the field, as well as students – to make sure that we work through these issues in a public, transparent fashion.”

Other dignitaries are microsoft vice-president Scott Charney and Chief Executives from Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Facebook Records Fourth-Quarter Profit

faceFacebook has reported its fourth-quarter profits of $701m (£462m), a 34% increase on the same period a year ago.

Its revenue grew 49 percent in the fourth quarter, as mobile advertising helped the social network beat Wall Street’s targets for earnings sales. The social networking giant said it now has 1.39 billion active users each month, a 13% increase from a year ago, with 86 percent of them accessing its service on smartphones and other mobile devices.

Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook’s CEO, said in a statement that “We got a lot done in 2014.”

Facebook’s business has boomed thanks to its mobile ads for smartphones and tablets. Its success contrasts other established Internet companies such as Google Inc (GOOGL) and Yahoo Inc (YHOO) which have struggled as advertisers shift more to mobile apps from personal computers.

Ronald Josey, a JMP Securities analyst said in a statement that “they are taking share of advertising dollars online. They are taking share of overall advertising budgets”, noting the strong quarter.

Investors are betting that video ads, which Facebook started last year, will provide the company’s next length of growth.

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Facebook, Dave Wehner, said in an interview that the company still had a lots to do being optimistic about video. “We have great marketer interest in video. It’s a creative medium that they know how to use effectively.”

Facebook’s revenue growth during the fourth quarter was outstripped by its operating expenses, which grew roughly 87 percent as a result of sharp increases in research and development costs and marketing and sales spending.

Facebook also mirrored a common complaint among US firms, saying its revenue would have increased by 53% instead of 49% were it not for unfavorable foreign exchange rates.

Yahoo To Shut Down Seven Products, Including Blackberry App

Yahoo Inc is shutting down seven products, including its mobile app for Blackberry smartphones, as new Chief Executive Marissa Mayer takes a page from Google Inc’s Playbook by eliminating unsuccessful products en masse.

The product shutdowns, which Yahoo announced on its official company blog on Friday, are part of what the company said are regular efforts to evaluate and review its product lineup.

“The most critical question we ask is whether the experience is truly a daily habit that still resonates for all of you today,” wrote Jay Rossiter, Yahoo’s executive vice president of Platforms.

The announcement represents Yahoo’s second group shutdown of products since Mayer, a former Google executive, became CEO of the struggling Web portal in July. So-called “spring cleaning” announcements, in which multiple products are shut down, have become a regular feature at Google in recent years.

Mayer signaled the company would prune its line-up of mobile apps at an investor conference last month, noting that Yahoo would reduce the 60 to 75 disparate mobile apps it currently has to a more manageable 12 to 15 apps.

Yahoo said its app for Blackberry smartphones would no longer be available for download, or supported by Yahoo, as of April 1.

Yahoo also said that on April 1 it will stop supporting Yahoo Avatars – the cartoon-like digital characters that consumers create to depict them on Web services such as Yahoo instant messenger and Facebook. Consumers who want to continue using their avatar on Yahoo’s online services must download the avatar and then re-upload the information to their personalized Yahoo profile.

The other Yahoo products set to be terminated include Yahoo App Search, Yahoo Sports IQ, Yahoo Clues, the Yahoo Message Boards website and the Yahoo Updates API.

Mexican court orders Yahoo to pay $2.7bn for breach of contract

Yahoo! after a court battle has been ordered by a Mexican court breach of contract involving a yellow pages listings service.

Although, the US firm have decided to appeal as it claimed that the allegations were without merit and would vigorously pursue all appeals.

The civil case was brought by Worldwide Directories and Ideas Interactivas against Yahoo! and Yahoo! De Mexico.

The two firms claim to have suffered breach of contract, breach of promise and lost profits arising from contracts related to a listings service.

Yahoo! said the ruling by the 49th Civil Court of the Federal District of Mexico City was only a preliminary judgement, and vowed to fight on.

It was not immediately clear when the lawsuit had been filed against Yahoo!

Worldwide Directories and Ideas Interactivas could not immediately be reached for comment.

Documents from local courts in Mexico are not available for public consultation.

Shares of Yahoo! were down 1.7% at $18.45 in after-hours trading in the wake of the news.

In October, Yahoo! reported that its quarterly profit rocketed above $3bn (£1.9bn), fuelled by the sale of part of its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The Californian Company’s revenue from display advertising was little changed from the same quarter last year.

But Yahoo! said its income from adverts which appeared alongside online search results was up by 11%.

It has been trying to reinvent itself after being overtaken by Google for internet searches.

iPhone 5 pre-orders hit 2 million as shares skyrocket

Apple Inc. booked orders for over two million iPhone 5 models in the first 24 hours, reflecting a higher-than-expected demand for the consumer device giant’s new smartphone and setting it up for a strong holiday quarter.

Apple shares rose in extended after-market trading to touch $700 per share for the first time. They have gained nearly 22 per cent in the past 3-1/2 months in the build-up to the launch of the iPhone 5.

Apple said on Monday that pre-orders outstripped initial supply but it would deliver most phones as planned by Friday, the first day of delivery. Many would not be available until October, however.

It is not unusual for Apple products to sell out the first day but this time around Apple has doubled its first-day sales record. Last October, the company booked 1 million orders for the iPhone 4S, in the first 24 hours. That had beaten Apple’s previous one-day record of 600,000 sales for the iPhone 4.

The strong pre-orders could mean a huge holiday quarter for Apple as the iPhone — its marquee device — accounts for half of Apple’s revenue.

Apple will make initial deliveries of the iPhone 5 by September 21 in the United States and most of the major European markets, such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The phone then goes on sale on September 28 in 22 other countries.

Given the demand for the device so far and Apple’s aggressive rollout of it internationally, some analysts raised their sales and earnings estimates.

“The pace of these iPhone 5 roll-outs is the fastest in the iPhone’s history and points to a big December quarter,” said Barclays’ analyst Ben Reitzes, who expects Apple to sell 45.21 million iPhones in the December quarter, up 22 per cent from last year. Reitzes said his estimates “could still be conservative.”

Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley said he now expected Apple to ship 9 million to 10 million iPhone 5s from Friday to September 29, the last day of its fiscal 2012 year.

He also raised his earnings per share estimates for the September and December quarters to $44.32 from $43.25, and to $56.96 from $56.90, respectively.

Wall Street analysts on average expect Apple to earn $44.25 per share in the December quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates.

The new phone, which will appear in stores on Friday for walk-in purchases, has a larger, 4-inch screen and is slimmer and far lighter than the previous model. The iPhone 5 supports the faster 4G network and also comes with a number of software updates, including Apple’s new in-house maps feature.

 

Apple began taking orders for the iPhone 5 at midnight Pacific Time on Friday (0700 GMT Saturday). Shipping dates for the smartphone slipped by a week within an hour of the start of pre-orders.

On Monday morning, Apple’s U.S. store, at www.apple.com, showed pre-orders placed at that time would take two to three weeks to ship.

Wall Street is also keeping a close eye on the supply of the smartphone.

One of Apple’s key suppliers for screens, Sharp Corp, is struggling with high costs and scrambling to raise funds to pay debt.

The latest iPhone comes as competition in the smartphone market has reached a fever-pitch with Apple up against phones that run on Google Inc.’s Android software. Android has become the most-used mobile operating system in the world, while Apple’s key supplier and rival, Samsung Electronics and has taken the lead in smartphone sales.

But Apple appears to be making headway into the corporate market, a traditional stronghold of now-struggling Canadian company Research In Motion.

Yahoo Inc. has instituted a new corporate policy that allows employees to pick from a host of smartphones, including the iPhone 5 and Android-based phones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S3. Yahoo, which previously gave out RIM’s Blackberry phones, will no longer support them, according to Business Insider blog, which cited an internal memo from Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer.

AT&T, the No. 2 U.S. mobile service provider, said demand over the weekend had made the iPhone 5 the fastest-selling iPhone the company has ever offered.

AT&T did not disclose how many iPhones it had sold, but said the iPhone 5 was still available for pre-order and would go on sale September 21 at AT&T retail stores.

All the phones carriers, including Verizon Communications Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp, showed delays of up to three weeks in shipping the phone.

European carriers also reported brisk sales. France Telecom’s Orange said bookings for the new phone “have been very strong, breaking the records of what we saw for the iPhone 4 or 4S.” But the carrier said it could deliver pre-orders on time.

Analysts have forecast that Apple will have sold more than 30 million iPhones, including older models, by the end of September.

New Yahoo CEO sacks 2000 employees to save $375million

In his first three months on the job, the new Yahoo chief executive officer, CEO Scott Thompson has imposed the largest layoffs in the company’s 17-year history and reshaped the board of directors.

Thompson delivered on  Wednesday, a payroll purge of about 2,000 workers, or about 14 percent of Yahoo’s 14,100 employees. The cuts will save about $375 million annually as Yahoo tries to boost its earnings and long-slumping stock price.

Thompson is Yahoo’s fourth full-time CEO in less than five years — a period marked by steady declines in revenue, even though more advertising has been shifting to the Internet.

 

Last year, Yahoo produced revenue of $353,000 per employee while its two biggest rivals, Internet search leader Google Inc. and social networking leader Facebook Inc., each generated $1.2 million per employee.

Other major technology companies were also far more productive: Microsoft Corp. had about $800,000 in revenue per employee last year, while Intel Corp. posted $540,000 in revenue per employee, according to S&P’s data.

Meanwhile, Google and Facebook are hiring even more engineers and sales representative to develop new products and sell more ads. Google added 8,000 employees last year, and Facebook recently moved to sprawling headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., in anticipation of tripling its current workforce of about 3,200 people within the next few years.

 

 

Yahoo sues Facebook over 10 disputed patents in the US

Yahoo has filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Facebook.

Yahoo claims the social network has infringed 10 of its patents including systems and methods for advertising on the web. Facebook denies the allegation.

The move comes ahead of Facebook’s planned flotation later this year.

Patent litigation has become common between the smartphone makers, but this marks a new front in the battles between the tech giants.

A statement from Yahoo suggested the web portal believed it has a strong case.

“Yahoo’s patents relate to cutting edge innovations in online products, including in messaging, news feed generation, social commenting, advertising display, preventing click fraud and privacy controls,” its suit said.

“Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology.

The social network signalled that it believed that Yahoo had not tried hard to settle the matter without involving the courts.

A statement by Facebook secured by the All Things D website read: “We’re disappointed that Yahoo’s effort to engage with us was limited to a few short phone calls and that we continue to learn of new developments about a long-time partner through the press. We will defend ourselves vigorously against these puzzling actions.”

The case has echoes of Yahoo’s decision to sue Google ahead of its flotation in 2004. That dispute centred over patents that Yahoo had acquired the previous year as part of its takeover of pay-per-position specialist Overture.

Google ultimately settled the case by issuing 2.7 million shares to its rival.

The latest suit was filed in the US district court for the northern district of California.

Yahoo threatens Facebook as patent war looms

Yahoo has demanded licensing fees from Facebook for use of its technology, the companies said on Monday, potentially engulfing social media in the patent battles and lawsuits raging across much of the tech sector.

Yahoo has asserted claims on patents that include the technical mechanisms in the Facebook’s ads, privacy controls, news feed and messaging service, according to a source briefed on the matter.

Representatives from the two companies met on Monday and the talks involved 10 to 20 of Yahoo’s patents, said the source, who was not aware of what specific dollar demands Yahoo may have made for licenses.

Yahoo did not elaborate in an emailed statement on details of its discussions with Facebook, but indicated it would not flinch at taking the social networking giant to court over its patents.

Yahoo said other companies have already licensed some of the technologies at issue, and that it would act unilaterally if Facebook refused to pay for a patent license.

“Yahoo has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property,” the company said.
The meeting between the two companies was first reported by the New York Times.

A Facebook spokesman said: “Yahoo contacted us at the same time they called the New York Times and so we haven’t had the opportunity to fully evaluate their claims.”

Should Yahoo wind up suing Facebook, it would mark the first major legal battle among technology giants in the social media sphere and a major escalation of patent litigation that has already swept up the smartphone and tablet sectors and high-tech stalwarts such as Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Motorola Mobility.

Yahoo’s patent claims follow Facebook’s announcement of plans for an initial public offering that could value the company at about $100 billion.

Several social networking companies, including Facebook, have seen an uptick in patent claims asserted against them as they move through the IPO process.

However, most of those lawsuits have been filed by patent aggregators that buy up intellectual property to squeeze value from it via licensing deals, and none by a large tech company such as Yahoo.

Reuters