Congress grills former Equifax, Yahoo CEOs over identity data breaches

09 November, 2017, 01:26 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • While speaking to lawmakers on Wednesday former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer apologized for Yahoo hacks and claims that no company is immune from them. Mayer left her position in January after hackers stole information from billions of Yahoo users

While testifying to lawmakers on Wednesday, former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer apologized for the Yahoo hacks and claims that no company is immune from them. Mayer says Yahoo, which originally said only 1 billion accounts were affected, didn't find out about the hack until it got data from the government in 2016 and still hasn't figured out how it happened, though she says Russian intelligence officers have launched attacks on Yahoo systems.

But under questioning from the Senate Commerce Committee, she also admitted that Yahoo still doesn't know exactly how hackers managed to steal the usernames and passwords of all of its registered users.

"A combination cooperation between public-private to address this issue is needed", said former Equifax CEO Richard Smith. It's also implemented new measures to protect the affected accounts.

"To this day, as I understand it, we still have not been able to identify the intrusion that led to that theft", Mayer said during a congressional hearing on Wednesday. Richard Blumenthal of CT says enforcing punishments for data breaches on executives like Mayer could motivate companies to protect users' data.

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Mayer told the committee that Yahoo learned of a state-sponsored attack on its system in late 2014, and promptly reported it to law enforcement and notified users who were impacted by the hack.

In March, federal prosecutors charged two Russian intelligence agents and two hackers with masterminding a 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts, the first time the USA government has criminally charged Russian spies for cyber crimes.

They answered questions about the Equifax breach in September and Yahoo's in March.

During her tenure as CEO, she said, Yahoo roughly doubled its internal security staff and made significant investments in its leadership and team. The company adopted a comprehensive information security program created to enhance its policies, procedures and controls based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology's cybersecurity framework, she said. Indeed, the former CEO said, much of the facts behind the breaches remain shrouded in mystery.

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