PC Doctor September 30, 2016

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Dear PC Doctor:

I am a Yahoo subscriber and use it for all my email (but do have GMail as a backup).

How do I know if I was one of the millions of people hacked recently in the security breach?

Will I be notified by the company?

    Grammy M.


Dear Grammy M:


Many people are asking the same question!

Last week, Yahoo announced that hackers had been able to steal information from over 500 million accounts.  According to Fortune.com, the hackers gained access to users’ names, email addresses, phone numbers, and birthdates.  In some cases they also stole security questions and answers that would let the hackers access the account.

Even if you do not know if your account has been compromised, the first thing you should do, now, is change your password.  Did you use your Yahoo password for any other account?  Change that password, too.  It would be best if each of your accounts had a different password.

Interestingly, all reports, including CNN and the NY Times, indicate that the security breach happened in 2014; 2016 is three-quarters over.  You might think that you would know already if your account was one of the many compromised.  Yahoo also recommends looking closely at your accounts and noting if there is any unusual activity.  Treat every e-mail you receive cautiously – Is it from a known entity?  As ever, be careful when clicking links embedded in a message.

According to an official statement from Yahoo, the company has begun directly contacting users whose accounts were hacked.  It may take time, due to the sheer volume.  Yahoo cautions that the message that they send to those affected will NOT ask you to click on any links or contain attachments and also will not ask you for personal information. If an email you receive about this issue prompts you to click on a link, download an attachment, or asks you for information, the email was not sent by Yahoo and may be an attempt to steal your personal information. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from such suspicious emails.

Yahoo help has an official information page for this issue.  It has a list of frequently asked questions and may be helpful to you.  Go to help.yahoo.com and type “account security” in the search box.  You may find more useful information there.

I hope this helps!
Until next time,
Happy computing!

    PC Doctor