Hackers Get Into Millions of Yahoo Accounts
Ever since the President, Donald Trump, was elected into office during October of 2016, there has been mass speculation about the involvement of Russian hackers in the election. The power to sway the election of the US president in something to be worried about. Hackers are making the news again, this time breaking into millions of Yahoo accounts, looting information. The U.S. Department of Justice states, “The defendants used unauthorized access to Yahoo’s systems to steal information from about 500 million Yahoo accounts and then used some of that stolen information to obtain unauthorized access to the contents of accounts at Yahoo, Google and other webmail providers.”
500 million users of Yahoo accounts have had their private information compromised. Photo courtesy of acnnectotelecom.com.
So how did they do it? It’s not as difficult as a Hollywood heist film makes it seem. To start, the hackers found Yahoo’s user database, then made a copy. The database is like a phone book. It contains every Yahoo username and password, but the value for the hackers was guide on how to make authentic browser cookies. A browser cookie is a small piece of information your computer take whenever you visit a site. Then when you revisit that same site the computer authenticates that you have the same cookie. Hackers found the cookie recipe. Now, the hackers can create cookies to trick the website into thinking any specific user has already logged in.
After obtaining information from all these accounts, hackers proceed to target specific figures. Most of these were Russian and American journalists and government officials looking for further information. They also targeted the mass public, looking for credit card info, gift cards and setting up various scams for profit. On the lighter side, the FBI has learned a lot from this attack and may be more fit to stop cybercrime in the future.