*Yahoo secretly monitored emails for the US government

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Yahoo last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information at the request of US intelligence officials.

The company complied with a classified US government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency (NSA) or FBI, two former employees and a third person who knew about the program told Reuters.

Some surveillance experts said this represents the first known case of a US internet company agreeing to a spy agency’s demand by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

It is not known what information intelligence officials were looking for, only that they wanted Yahoo to search for a set of characters. That could mean a phrase in an email or an attachment, said the sources.

According to the two former employees, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to obey the directive troubled some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of the chief information security officer, Alex Stamos, who now heads security at Facebook.

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*But what if you DON’T have a Yahoo account? Are you affected?

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With this latest breach you may be asking, “Am I affected if I don’t have a Yahoo email account?”

Simply put, yes you are. If you have friends or family who use Yahoo, and they communicated with you, then your information is available to the hackers as well.

As emails are transmitted back and forth between service providers, a string of information ‘tid-bits’ in the email headers keep track of all the who-when-where of the process. That’s what all those seemingly meaningless numbers and letters are in the headers.  (How to decode an email header will be in an upcoming article).

But what’s key here is what was accessed in the breach. Stolen user data reportedly includes not just the contents of emails, but also account user’s names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth and passwords.

And you still don’t think a hacked email account is serious? Well, it’s serious enough it exposed corruption and brought down a Presidential candidate.

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*Yahoo just announced MORE breached accounts (no, this is NOT last year’s news)

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After Yahoo announced last year that 1.5 Billion of their accounts had been breached, many were wondering if it was time to close their email accounts and move elsewhere.

Well, the time has come. Close your Yahoo account now. Don’t just change your password or secret information. Close it down and move to something more secure, at least until Yahoo can get it’s act together. 

What is Yahoo’s latest security breach? On February 15, 2017, Yahoo announced this time, hackers used forged cookies to access accounts without needing passwords. That’s right folks, cookies. 

Here is what the announcement stated: “We are writing to inform you about a data security issue that involves your Yahoo account. We have taken steps to secure your account and are working closely with law enforcement. 

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*Update On Yahoo Name Change, and Merger With Verizon & AOL

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Only the investment part of Yahoo that will be renamed ‘Altaba’, while the main brand will retain its name.

Contrary to some news reports on Monday, only the part of Yahoo that is not being sold to Verizon will be renamed “Altaba”.

In addition, Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, is to step down from its board, but will continue to be CEO.

Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo’s search engine and web portal for $4.83bn back in July. However, Yahoo’s shareholders held on to the company’s lucrative investments – including a 36% stake in Yahoo Japan and a 16% stake in Alibaba, and patent portfolio. This remaining entity has no product and no staff members.

According to an SEC filing released on Monday, that entity will, provided the Verizon deal goes through, be know as Altaba and Mayer, along with five other board members, will resign from its board.

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