What to do if you’re a victim of the Yahoo Mail hack

If you’re a Yahoo email user, there’s a good chance your account may have been hacked – the internet giant has just announced more than 1 billion email accounts may have been compromised in attacks dating back to 2013.

So, if you’re worried you may be a victim of the Yahoo Mail hack, here’s what you need to do…

What’s the Yahoo hack all about?

Yahoo has announced that almost a billion email accounts may have been affected by a major cyber attack that has seen all manner of data stolen, including:

  • Names
  • Email addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Encrypted passwords
  • Encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.

No financial data, such as bank account and credit card information, was stored in the system that was attacked, so there’s no need to worry about any money going missing, though it’s still worth checking for any suspicious activity on your account.

The hackers were able to access the accounts by using ‘forged cookies’ – pieces of code that stay in the browser cache so that a website doesn’t have to ask them to login every time they visit. This enabled the fraudsters to access users’ accounts without needing a password.

It’s believed the attacks date back to August 2013, and are unrelated to another security breach in 2014 that saw 500 million accounts compromised.

 

What to do if you think you’ve been hacked

Yahoo is currently taking steps to secure accounts, and it contacting affected users and suggesting they change their passwords.

If your account hasn’t been affected, or even if you’ve not got a Yahoo account, it’s still worth changing your passwords regularly to keep things secure, with email, online banking and social media the most important accounts to protect.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recommends using three random words to create a strong password, and suggests avoiding using any words that could be easy to guess, such as your place of birth, your child’s name and your favourite sports team.

And never share your passwords with anyone or write them down.

For more tips to stay safe online, check out our guide How to choose a safe password and stay secure online.

Have you been a victim of a cyber attack? Let us know your story.

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