Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ever Had a Yahoo Account? Do This Now

[ed. See also: A Hack to Yahoo's Shrunken Reputation and The Privacy War's About to Get a Whole Lot Worse.]

If you’ve read the news in the past 36 hours you already know that at least a half billion Yahoo accounts were jeopardized by hackers. Names, email addresses, passwords, telephone numbers, dates of birth, security questions and answers, and more were “scraped” from Yahoo accounts. So if you’re a former or current Yahoo account holder, what does that mean to you and what can you do about it?

Well first off, take a breath. If nothing horrible has happened to your email or other password protected accounts so far, chances are you’re actually okay, for the moment anyway. But just because nothing has happened yet, that doesn’t mean you’re safe. Sometimes hackers themselves or people who buy hacked account info hoard the data for years before taking action.

So, if you had a Yahoo account anytime before the beginning of 2015, there are several steps you should take to be prudent, whether or not you use your Yahoo account now.

A general warning: Before you start to change passwords or anything else with your accounts, be very careful with any email you receive about the Yahoo security issue. Nothing Yahoo sends will ask you to click links or download attachments. Yahoo will not ask you to supply personal information via email. Even if you receive an email that looks like it’s from Yahoo, if you are asked to click a link, download an attachment, or provide personal information, the email was not actually sent by Yahoo and may be from someone trying to steal your personal information.

Change your password

Now let’s start with the different actions levels to take, from immediate to very soon.

If you have a Yahoo account, change your password and disable your security questions today. How do you do that? To start, be sure you know your current password – you’ll need it to make changes in any security settings.

In the upper right-hand corner of the Yahoo screen click on the little gear icon. If you see a menu item for “Settings,” that’s not it. Look for “Account Info,” which will probably be at the bottom of the menu. Next, click “Account Security.” At this point you will likely be required to enter your current password.

In the Account Security screen that comes up next, you will see “Change password” and “Disable security questions” in blue type while the other options are in black type. Yahoo has highlighted those two with blue letters because both were potentially compromised. Passwords were taken from all hacked accounts and unencrypted security questions and answers were stolen from many accounts.

When you click Change Password, you’ll see a new screen on which to enter a new password twice. Be sure to make up a brand new password, not one you use on any other account. More on that below.

Also remember you will need to reset your password on other devices where your old password — which will no longer work — may be stored. For example, you may check your email on a smartphone, tablet, or an e-reader – if so you’ll need to reset each one.

Disable security questions

After changing your password, click “Disable security questions” on the Account Security screen. You’ll see what your questions were, and you’ll be prompted to disable them to protect your account. You can reset your security questions later.

The next screen after disabling your security questions will present any currently listed account recovery email addresses and phone numbers. If you don’t have either, it’s a good idea to set at least one of each so you won’t be locked out of your account.

When you’ve changed your password and disabled your security settings, your Yahoo account is protected. But there’s more to do.

by Bruce Brown, Digital Trends |  Read more:
Image: uncredited