Yahoo might soon confirm a massive data breach of its service, after earlier this year a hacking action unveiled the credentials of a few hundred million users.
Insiders familiar with the matter say the extent of the attack is still undisclosed, as both a government investigation and a legal action might be ongoing in the case. However, the sources point out that the breach is serious and massive.
In early August, a hacker went online and offered millions of accounts from the company for sale on the dark web. At the time, Yahoo did not confirm nor deny the breach, yet it mentioned that it is investigating the security issue. Insiders from the company said that more than 200 million accounts were compromised then.
The company is expected to go official about the security mishap this week, which could severely impact the sale of Yahoo's core business to Verizon. The $4.8 billion deal is supposed to move Yahoo's core assets (which are a main part of the hack) into Verizon's backyard.
The magnitude of the liability could come with a series of concerns to the new owners. Shareholders, for example, might be on their toes as such a security issue could lead to a downgrade in the value of the transaction. Officials from both Yahoo and Verizon have started meeting recently to review the Yahoo business, so that the acquisition process is zeroing in on a neat wrap up.
The hacking scandal is anything but neat, as sources note that a hacker known as "Peace" advertised the sale of 200 million Yahoo users from 2012 for about $1,800 this August.
According to the report, the auctioned data offers usernames, personal information such as birth dates and easily decrypted passwords.
Yahoo acknowledged the claim but was reluctant to admit its security flaws and did not ask for its users to urgently reset their passwords. People from within the company are touting that Yahoo might have to do it now, but it might be a case of ill-advised postponing.
Should the confirmation land, it will be another poor mark on Marissa Mayer's record, who led the company in the recent years. Mayer's rule was flooded with issues, and Yahoo saw a deceleration of its business since she came on board in 2012.
Most argue that it is her lack of vision and inaptitude of turning Yahoo around that led to the sale to Verizon.