A federal court has recently ruled that a lawsuit regarding Yahoo’s recent data breach, exposing the personal information of its nearly 3 billion users can go forward. The decision was announced on May 11, after U.S. District Judge, Lucy Kohl, rejected a request from Verizon Communications to dismiss many of the claims made against the company for negligence and breach of contract. Verizon Communications purchased Yahoo’s Internet business in June 2017.
The case stems from three different data breaches that occurred between 2013 and 2016. Yahoo has been criticized with how slowly it reacted to the breaches and informed their users. The breaches were not discovered and revealed until after Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo’s business. Upon discovering this news, Verizon demanded a $4.5 billion cut in the purchase price for the company.
Customers were later informed about the release of confidential information, which increased users’ risks of identity theft. Users were then required to pay for credit freezes and continued monitoring on their credit reports.
Kohl stated that, had customers been informed about the breach sooner, they would have taken measures against identity theft and fraud. By the time the company had informed users of the breaches, many of them had already had their identities stole by hackers who used their personal data to file fraudulent tax returns and make illegal credit card charges.
Initially, the company had said that one billion users were a part of the hack, but it later came out that three billion of the users were affected by the breaches. In fact, the complaint filed by plaintiffs had to be amended in October 2017 after it was revealed that the breach ended up affecting three billion users.
Kohl said the fact the complaint had to be amended to include these additional users highlighted just how serious the issue of security was in the plaintiff’s decision to use Yahoo as an Internet service.
In March 2017, two Russian intelligence agents and two hackers were charged by U.S. prosecutors for crimes connected with the Yahoo breaches. One of the accused hackers, Karim Baratov, pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy charges.
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