Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Former CEO of Yahoo testifies before Congress

Former Yahoo CEO subpoenaed to appear before Congress Getty Images
Mae Harvey | 09 November, 2017, 01:24

Yahoo and USA federal agents have blamed a separate 2014 company data breach involving 500 million accounts on Russian state-sponsored hackers.

But under questioning from the Senate Commerce Committee, she also admitted that Yahoo still doesn't know exactly how hackers managed to steal the usernames and passwords of all of its registered users.

"Even robust defenses and prosecutors aren't sufficient to protect against the state-sponsored attack, especially when they're extremely sophisticated and persistent", Marissa Mayer testified.

Although Mayer testified that the 2014 breach was state-sponsored, Yahoo still hasn't concluded who was responsible for the 2013 hack.

A few minutes later, Sen. Thune also pressed Equifax's former CEO Richard Smith and interim CEO Paulino Barros on Equifax's known security vulnerabilities that led to its recent data breach and how the company is now addressing these issues. The executives remained mute.

"Unfortunately, while all our measures helped Yahoo successfully defend against the barrage of attacks by both private and state-sponsored hackers, Russian agents intruded on our systems and stole our users' data", she said.

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A breach in 2014 affected 500 million Yahoo accounts and, in a first, led to the U.S. government criminally charging two Russian spies for cyber crimes.

The digital diva - who left the helm of Yahoo earlier this year after it was acquired by Verizon - was forced to testify with a subpoena after she refused several requests to testify voluntarily, according to a Tuesday report.

Mayer joined former and current CEOs of Equifax in testifying before the committee examining recent data breaches.

She said Yahoo still has not been able to identify the intrusion that led to that theft. Among those hired, she said: security specialists focused on threat investigations, e-crimes, product security, risk management and offensive engineering. Mayer answered that such attacks are complex and persistent and the understanding of the facts behind them evolve over time.

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

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