Yahoo is confirming what Recode describes as a "widespread and serious" data breach affecting 500 million users. Yahoo blames "state-sponsored actors" for the personal data that was stolen in 2014 but only recently discovered to have been stolen, the AP reports. Yahoo had previously been expected to confirm an estimated 200 million users were affected. Motherboard spoke in August to a hacker known as "Peace” who claimed to be hawking data from 200 million Yahoo accounts on the dark web, per Business Insider. The hacker said the data—which includes usernames, passwords, security questions and answers, birth dates, phone numbers, and email addresses—was likely stolen in 2012.
No such breach was ever made public. However, Yahoo said at the time that it was "aware of the claim" and was investigating. Confirmation of such a breach—which Hacked.com says could be "the largest data breach on record"—could now affect Yahoo's $4.8 billion sale to Verizon. Not only is it a pain for Verizon, but Yahoo shareholders will be concerned about a possible drop in the company's sale price. The sources tell Recode that government investigations and legal action in regards to breach are expected. In its confirmation of the breach, Yahoo suggested users change their passwords, assuming they haven't already done so since 2014. (Read more Yahoo stories.)