Yahoo blocking probe into record-setting user-data hacks: German authorities

While the status of U.S. investigations into Yahoo’s two world-record breaches of users’ data is unclear, the company is stonewalling investigators in Germany, that country’s national cybersecurity agency says.

Yahoo last year revealed it had suffered a 2013 hack of more than a billion user accounts and a 2014 breach of at least a half-billion accounts. Yahoo later admitted in a regulatory filing it had known about the 2014 hack for almost two years — but it had kept quiet about it.

A U.S. federal indictment against four people, including two Russian intelligence agents, accused of the 2014 data theft said the hack’s targets included U.S. government officials working in cybersecurity, diplomacy, the military and the White House.

And now the German agency, the BSI, “decided to go public after Yahoo repeatedly failed to respond to efforts to look into the data breaches and garner lessons to prevent similar lapses,” according to Reuters.

The BSI has been unable to obtain information about the Yahoo breaches from the beleaguered Sunnyvale firm, provoking a pointed recommendation from its president.

“Users should therefore be very careful about which services they want to use in the future and to whom they entrust their data,” Arne Schoenbohm said in a statement.

Yahoo declined to comment on the matter to Reuters.

The FBI is reported to be investigating at least one of the hacks, as is the Securities and Exchange Commission.

And because Yahoo has users in many countries, nations including Germany and Australia are investigating the data breaches.

Yahoo, which has seen the digital-advertising dominance of Google and Facebook crush its business, is at the tail end of a sale process to Verizon, a deal that had been thrown into jeopardy by news of the massive hacks. Verizon, initially set to pay $4.83 billion for Yahoo, was able to cut $350 million off the price as a result of the data breaches.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has said the $4.48 billion sale would close in June.


Photo:  Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer, file)


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