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Senate panel grills Equifax, Yahoo execs over recent cyberattacks

09 November, 2017, 00:54 | Author: Samuel Sharp
  • Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer    
   Matt Winkelmeyer  Getty Images for Glamour

The Department of Justice indicted Russian hackers for attacking Yahoo during a 2014 breach, but not the 3 billion users affected by the data leak from 2013.

Verizon bought Yahoo's web assets, including its Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Sports, in June.

In September, Equifax revealed that hackers had stolen the personal information of over 140 million U.S. consumers from its website.

Some of the most pointed questioning came from Thune when he asked Mayer how the company for so long failed to recognize that data for all 3 billion of its user accounts were compromised. It also featured current and former CEOs of Equifax, which suffered a 2017 breach that reportedly affected approximately 145 million individuals and exposed sensitive personal and financial information.

In the end, she said "Russian agents intruded on our systems and stole our users" data'. A representative for Mayer said on Tuesday she was appearing voluntarily. Richard Blumenthal of CT says enforcing punishments for data breaches on executives like Mayer could motivate companies to protect users' data.


"The threat from state sponsored attacks has changed the playing field so dramatically that today I believe all companies, even the most well defended ones, could fall victim to these crimes", she said. Its chief security officer now reports directly to the CEO, and a new chief transformation officer is overseeing the firm's broader response.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the committee chairman, said 48 states have separate laws governing how and when companies must notify consumers of a breach. "This hearing will give the public the opportunity to hear from those in charge, at the time major breaches occurred and during the subsequent response efforts, at two large companies who lost personal consumer data to nefarious actors". "Not fines, or other penalties - or real deterrents", said Connecticut Sen.

She said Yahoo still has not been able to identify the intrusion that led to that theft.

The stolen account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers, the company said.

Nevertheless, Yahoo still does not fully understand "how the act was perpetrated", Mayer admitted.

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