For internet giant Yahoo, the year 2016 cannot be over soon enough. The legendary internet services portal and search engine has been losing significant market share over the years, but two major security issues in 2016 may have compromised its future.
Yahoo has been involved in talks with American telecommunications giant Verizon about a possible merger. Massive data breach episodes announced by Yahoo in September and December could leave the company in a precarious position with regard to its finances.
The first data breach happened in 2013, and it involved the theft of personal data belonging to a billion users of the online service. The second incident, which took place a year later, compromised 500 million accounts.
An Endangered Merger
What is truly worrisome about these data breach instances is that the company’s security team had not been able to identify the method of intrusion as of late 2016. What is known, however, is that the data sets are being sold in the black market, and information such as passwords, dates of birth, and even secret question/answer challenges could now fall into the wrong hands.
Armed with the stolen data, hackers could engage in massive identity theft operations. Many users are known to use security question/answer combinations and passwords across many websites that provide personal banking and online payment services. Credit card holders would be particularly vulnerable in this regard.
The potential issues for hacked users are numerous; for its part, the company could now see its hopes of a merger evaporate. Earlier in 2016, Verizon lowered the proposed value of the acquisition, which at one point was mentioned to be around $4.8 billion. The second incident could actually turn Verizon completely off, thereby leaving Yahoo wistfully waiting for another buyer that may fail to materialize due to the negative press that the security incidents have received.