The Largest Data Breach in History

By now, you may have heard about the news of a major hack at Yahoo!, which is considered the largest data breach in history.  This hack happened in August 2013, impacting 1 billion (yes, that’s billion) accounts.  In fact, the data from the breach is available for sale on the dark web.

Are You Impacted by the Data Breach?

I have a couple of Yahoo! accounts, including the longest running one I’ve had from college days.  Not all of my accounts were impacted, though I was not surprised to receive this email:

This is obviously bad news since the breached data can be used to attempt to compromise other (perhaps more sensitive) accounts.  Since this is Yahoo!’s second data breach in recent history, I have serious doubts in Yahoo!’s handling of user data.  I decided to move the bulk of my email content off Yahoo! and close most of my accounts, save for my primary email account.  Needless to say, I’ve enabled 2-factor authentication for the account.

Not as upsetting as T-Mobile/Experian’s Data Breach?

While this is bad news for Yahoo!, I’m not quite as angry as the T-Mobile/Experian data breach.  That was an egregious breach given that social security number (SSN) was compromised.  Credit cards can be replaced and passwords can be changed.  SSN, on the other hand, is a different beast because the number stays with you for life.  Technically, you can apply for a new one but it is only allowed under some very specific conditions.

Due to higher threat of identity theft with a compromised SSN, I was not thrilled that T-Mobile and Experian only offered one year of credit monitoring.  For a duration,  I also activated the recommended credit freeze and it was an inconvenience due to the added security for any credit pulls. Despite my generally positive feelings about T-Mobile as a wireless carrier (I switched back earlier this year), the T-Mobile/Experian data breach was far more upsetting to me than the Yahoo! data breach.

What You Can and Should Do Now:

In an upcoming post, I will be share tips on on how to protect your data when traveling.  In the meantime, if you are affected by this breach, you can do the following:

  • Change your password. Follow strong password guidelines.
  • Turn on your two-factor authentication for an added layer of protection.
  • Most drastic measure:  You can delete your Yahoo account if you no longer trust Yahoo! with your data.


Are you impacted by this huge data breach?  Is Yahoo! your primary email service?  Do you plan to stay with Yahoo! in light of this major breach?