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BT and Sky email users affected by Yahoo cyber attack

Friday, September 23rd 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The cyber attack on Yahoo appears to have affected a number of BT and Sky broadband customers.

Yahoo confirmed yesterday that personal details associated with at least 500m accounts – including names, passwords, phone numbers and security questions – were stolen by hackers in 2014.

The company said it believes the details were taken by a state-sponsored hacking group and is advising users who may have been affected to change their password.

Some BT and Sky customers are at risk because both companies have outsourced webmail hosting to Yahoo.

A BT spokesperson said: “A minority of BT Broadband customers have a legacy email product from Yahoo.

“We advise customers generally to reset their password regularly and we will be contacting affected customers specifically to help them keep their information safe.”

BT has a help page with information about compromised BT Yahoo Mail accounts and has a tool to check if users aren’t sure whether theirs is a Yahoo account.

A notice on a Sky help page says: “You may have seen Yahoo’s announcement that user account information was stolen from its network in late 2014.

“If you use Sky Yahoo Mail we’d advise that you change your password to help keep your email account safe.”

Sky has also tweeted about the hack.

The UK’s information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said: “The vast number of people affected by this cyber attack is staggering and demonstrates just how severe the consequences of a security hack can be.

“The US authorities will be looking to track down the hackers, but it is our job to ask serious questions of Yahoo on behalf of British citizens and I am doing that today.

“We don’t yet know all the details of how this hack happened, but there is a sobering and important message here for companies that acquire and handle personal data.

“People’s personal information must be securely protected under lock and key – and that key must be impossible for hackers to find.”

UPDATE

A Sky spokesperson said: “Sky takes the security of our customers’ data and information extremely seriously.

"Overnight Yahoo! announced that a copy of certain user account information was stolen from its company’s network in late 2014.

"Yahoo! is the provider of Sky.com email accounts. In line with their advice, we are encouraging sky.com email holders to change their passwords and security questions.”

The number of Sky customers affected is thought to be "significantly fewer" than the 2.5m people who held Sky.com email accounts at the time of the breach in 2014.

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