When Internet giant Yahoo was hacked in 2013, the world knew that something major had occurred. But it wasn’t until 2016 that it became known that more than 1 billion user accounts had been compromised as a result of the Yahoo data breach, and even then, the true scope of the Yahoo hack had not truly come to light.
This week, four years after the Yahoo data breach, an announcement has been made that 3 billion user accounts were compromised in the hack: in other words, every single Yahoo account in existence at the time. This revelation makes the Yahoo data breach the single largest data breach ever reported.
Not only is the 2013 Yahoo data breach the largest ever reported, but it was so far-reaching that it affected more people than the next eight largest data breaches and hacks combined.
The next eight largest data breaches include the eBay, MySpace, FriendFinder, and LinkedIn hacks, and even the recent Equifax data breach. The Vevo data breach did not make it into the top eight since the 3 TB of leaked data was restricted to “mundane” documents and confidential company information, rather than information relating to individual user accounts.
As a result of the Yahoo data breach, varying amounts of personal information pertaining to every single one of the company’s then 3 billion users was accessed, including birthdates, passwords, and email addresses. And given that the majority of people use the same password across multiple websites, anyone who had a Yahoo account when the breach occurred in 2013 should err on the side of caution and assume that their email address and password are now in the public domain.