Yahoo says hack of 500 million users "state-sponsored," but a security firm calls bullshit

Yahoo logo at Mobile World Congress in Spain. February 24, 2016. REUTERS

So, that huge hack of 500 million Yahoo user accounts last week that Yahoo blamed on a "state-sponsored actor"? A private internet security firm is calling bullshit on the "state-sponsored" part.

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Yahoo says at least 500 million accounts hacked, blames "state-sponsored actor"

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Yahoo today confirmed that it suffered a massive data breach that exposed information for at least 500 million user accounts in 2014. If you have a Yahoo account, the company says you should review all your online accounts for any suspicious activity.

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Marissa Mayer will earn $55 million to leave Yahoo

Image: Flickr/Fortune Live Media

Marissa Mayer has a nice executive pay package coming her way if she is terminated from Yahoo.

Via CNBC

The CEO of the embattled online news site, currently trying to sell itself, is entitled to severance benefits valued at $54.9 million in case she is terminated without cause, according to a regulatory filing after the market closed Friday. The potential payout would also be triggered by a "change of control," which includes the sale of the company, according to the filing.

Mayer's potential payout includes cash severance of $3 million, $26,324 to continue her health benefits, $15,000 for outplacement, and—if that's enough—nearly $52 million worth of accelerated restricted stock and options.

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Verizon to buy Yahoo for $5bn

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Twenty-one years ago, Yahoo became the soul of the nascent web. Now it's telco food, to be eaten by Verizon for $5bn.

Verizon is also the proud owner of AOL, snagged last year for $4.4bn. At their height, the two lynchpins of the 90s' WWW were worth about $350 billion—at least to those unlucky enough to buy tech shares in 2000.

Verizon plans to unite the two companies to create a Facebook-killer made of nostalgia and its own users' personal information—and the zoo of startups and internet publishers the two companies gobbled up in their dying years.

The US telecoms giant is expected to merge Yahoo with AOL, to create a digital group capable of taking on the likes of Google and Facebook.

Verizon bought AOL - another faded internet star -in a $4.4bn deal last year, which gave it ownership of the Huffington Post, Techcrunch, Engadget and other news sites.

Shortly afterwards, Verizon announced it would start combining data about its mobile network subscribers - which is tied to their handsets - with the tracking information already gathered by AOL's sites.

Update: It struck me that Yahoo is custodian of Tumblr and Yahoo Answers, two of the last real refuges for girls and young women on the 'net. Verizon will want to kill or heavily sanitize both. Read the rest

All the startups Yahoo bought in the last few years, and what happened to them

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After 20 years at the heart of the web, Yahoo is all but done, with a sale expected soon and talent fleeing as fast as it can. CEO Marissa Mayer's plan to turn things around involve buying 50 startups. What happened to them? Read the rest

WSJ: Daily Mail aims to buy Yahoo

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Would it be a fitting end, for one of the first and greatest of the American web's dreams, to be eaten by the most infamous of British tabloids?

The parent company of the Daily Mail, the British newspaper and global tabloid website, is in talks with several private-equity firms to launch a bid for Yahoo, the people said. ... A possible bid by Daily Mail could take one of two forms, the people familiar with the matter said. In one scenario, a private-equity partner would aim to acquire the entirety of Yahoo’s U.S. operation, with the Mail taking over the news and media properties. Those assets include verticals such as Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports plus Yahoo News and a video operation whose big star is Katie Couric. Yahoo has been retrenching in those businesses—in February the company closed seven digital magazines including sites dedicated to food, parenting and health. In the other scenario, the private-equity firm would acquire Yahoo and merge its media and news properties into a new company that would include the Mail’s Web properties, DailyMail.com and Elite Daily, the people said. The Mail would run that business and would get a larger equity stake than under the first scenario.

Yahoo's core business is hard to value because of holdings in successful foreign companies such as Alibaba. At one point, its fortunes were so dire that squinting at it just right made the company seem to have negative value. More recently, an analyst put it at $4.3 billion. Read the rest

Yahoo blocks some users from accessing email until they turn off ad-blocking

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The company says it's not policy to do this -- yet -- but they're testing locking Yahoo Mail users out of their accounts unless they turn off ad-blocking. Read the rest

Man who channels alien from the future bombards Tumblr GIF artists with takedown notices

Darryl Anka telepathically channels a space alien from the future named Bashar who lives on the planet Essassani; on this basis, he has claimed many copyright infringements in the creations of Tumblr's GIF artists. Read the rest

Marissa Mayer makes 1,100 Yahooers jobless, calls it a "remix"

Why would a CEO be so tone-deaf as to call a mass-firing a "remix?" Because the only audience that matters today are shareholders, not the public. Read the rest

Yahoo's security boss faces down NSA director over crypto ban

During Monday's Cybersecurity for a New America conference in DC, Yahoo's Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos stood up and had an intense verbal showdown with NSA director Mike Rogers about the NSA's plan to ban working crypto, in which the nation's top spook fumfuhed and fumbled to explain how this idea isn't totally insane. Read the rest

Firefox switches default search from Google to Yahoo

In some ways, it's the inevitable outcome of Google's increased focus on Chrome and Yahoo's increased focus on getting anyone, anywhere to care about it before it runs out of money. Read the rest

Feds wanted to fine Yahoo $250K/day for fighting PRISM

We've known since the start that Yahoo fought the NSA's Prism surveillance program tooth-and-nail; but as unsealed court docs show, the Feds made the process into a harrowing ordeal, and sweet-talked gullible judges into dropping the hammer on Y. Read the rest

Restoring CC attribution to Flickr, because Yahoo broke it

For years, Flickr has been one of the most important repositories of Creative Commons imagery in the world; now, thanks to a new design, it's all but useless for serving and attributing the CC-licensed images it's been entrusted with by museums, galleries, national archives, libraries, and millions of individuals.

Yahoo beefs up security in two meaningful and important ways

Yahoo has taken some serious steps towards protecting user-privacy, writes the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Seth Schoen. After revelations that the NSA and GCHQ had hacked its services, intercepted private video-chats, and harvesting mass data from its fiber optic links, the company has added forward secrecy and STARTTLS to its roster of default-on security measures. Of the two, forward secrecy is the most interesting, as it protects the privacy of old intercepted Yahoo data even if the company loses control of its keys. Bravo, Yahoo! Read the rest

GCHQ spied on millions of Yahoo video chats, harvested sexual images of chatters, compared itself to "Tom Cruise in Minority Report"

A stunning new Snowden leak reveals that the UK spy agency GCHQ harvested images and text from millions of Yahoo video chats, including chats in which one or both of the participants was British or American. Between 3 and 11 percent of the chats they intercepted were sexual in nature, and revealing images of thousands of people were captured and displayed to spies. The programme, called OPTIC NERVE, focused on people whose usernames were similar to those of suspects, and ran from at least 2008 until at least 2010. The leak reveals that GCHQ intended to expand the programme to Xbox 360 Kinect cameras and "fairly normal webcam traffic." The programme was part of a facial recognition research effort that GCHQ compared to "Tom Cruise in Minority Report." While the documents do not detail efforts as widescale as those against Yahoo users, one presentation discusses with interest the potential and capabilities of the Xbox 360's Kinect camera, saying it generated "fairly normal webcam traffic" and was being evaluated as part of a wider program. Beyond webcams and consoles, GCHQ and the NSA looked at building more detailed and accurate facial recognition tools, such as iris recognition cameras – "think Tom Cruise in Minority Report", one presentation noted. Read the rest

Yahoo mail changes anger Yahoo mail users

In what Nicole Perlroth describes as "the online equivalent of a riot", Yahoo Mail users are revolting against recent updates to the service. Apparently they turned it into a confusing gmail clone with gaudy backgrounds and display advertising, or something. Read the rest

British Telecom quits Yahoo!

Britain's largest ISP, British Telecom, has ragequit Yahoo! after learning that the internet giant had bought beloved microblogging site Tumblr. Just kidding! It's actually sick of its customers' Yahoo-provided email accounts getting hacked. [Telegraph] Read the rest

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