Yahoo's Email Hack May Interfere With Verizon Acquisition

Yahoo’s 2014 email hack may cost the company $4.8 billion.

Verizon hinted that Yahoo’s significant data breach could interfere with its acquisition of the technology company on Thursday while speaking to a roundtable of reporters in Washington.

“I think we have a reasonable basis to believe right now that the impact is material, and we’re looking to Yahoo to demonstrate to us the full impact,” stated Craig Silliman, Verizon’s general counsel. “If they believe that it’s not, then they’ll need to show us that.”

This is the first time Verizon has publicly stated that Yahoo’s data breach could affect its acquisition of the embattled technology company.

According to Reuters, the Verizon-Yahoo acquisition deal contained a clause that allows Verizon to back out of the acquisition if an event “reasonably can be expected to have a material adverse effect on the business, assets, properties, results of operation or financial condition of the business.” 

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Last month it was revealed that a Yahoo hack in 2014 resulted in the theft of 500 million email accounts. The half a billion account credentials that were stolen by hackers included email addresses, telephone numbers, birthdays, hashed passwords, and security questions and answers.

Earlier this month, Yahoo disabled automatic email forwarding, stating that the feature was “under development.” Since email forwarding is most often used to automatically transfer emails from one account to another, it was likely an attempt to squash fleeing email users.

Yahoo is now fighting a class-action lawsuit accusing the technology company of security negligence and failing to take care of sensitive information, and civil liberty groups have called upon Verizon to do better in safeguarding Yahoo’s data if and when the acquisition is finalized.

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