Yahoo warned yesterday that unknown attackers have attempted to access a number of Yahoo Mail accounts, and urged users to change their passwords even if they haven't been affected. Jay Rossiter, Yahoo's Senior VP said: "Based on our current findings, the list of usernames and passwords that were used to execute the attack was likely collected from a third-party database compromise. We have no evidence that they were obtained directly from Yahoo’s systems,"
"Our ongoing investigation shows that malicious computer software used the list of usernames and passwords to access Yahoo Mail accounts. The information sought in the attack seems to be names and email addresses from the affected accounts’ most recent sent emails."
Affected users will be prompted to re-secure their accounts by changing the password.
"In addition to adopting better password practices by changing your password regularly and using different variations of symbols and characters, users should never use the same password on multiple sites or services," he added. "Using the same password on multiple sites or services makes users particularly vulnerable to these types of attacks."
The company didn't say how many mail accounts have been affected, but they have 81 million accounts in the U.S. The compromised accounts could have been used to send out spam directly, but the collected information (contacts' names and emails) can also be used to make scammy emails from other sources look more legitimate.
Problem: reusing any password
Probably one of the worst habits is to use the same passwords for multiple accounts, if anyone finds your password, by any method, they can impersonate you on those services.
Here is a recent blog post that helps with creating strong passwords. If you have a Yahoo account, today or tomorrow is a great day to change your password!