Yahoo Accused of Gross Negligence in a Lawsuit over a Data Breach in 2014

Yahoo has been sued in a class action suit for breach of data for over 500 million of its accounts. Despite the breach taking place more than two years ago, the hack was recently discovered when the Yahoo executives were involved in a sale negotiation of the company to Verizon. The class action lawsuit was instituted in Sunnyvale, California by concerned Yahoo users. The users claim that Yahoo displayed gross negligence in the data breach that was recently discovered. They contend that the duration of time within which Yahoo took to learn about the breach affecting its 500 million accounts is just not acceptable.

The claimants have cited a research that shows that a hack is usually identified within an average of 191 days and a further 58 days are sufficient to contain the breach once it is discovered. However, in this case, the 2014 hack was only discovered recently and this was after a new potential data breach in July. This report by Mercury News was based on insider information from an undisclosed source. Although the breach from July went unfounded, this has not brought any good to the company especially at this critical moment when its executives are trying to negotiate its sale to Verizon valued at $4.8 billion.

Yahoo on its part has taken a defense standing claiming that despite the breach, that took place more than two years ago, no financial-related information was stolen from all the 500 million accounts. The claimants countered this argument through claims that the important information i.e. dates of birth, email addresses and the security questions can in future be used by persons who steal other people’s identities. The vital information that was compromised during the breach forms the backbone of the arguments by the claimants. This sensitive information, if it lands in the wrong hands can cause great damage than just the financial information Yahoo claims it was never compromised.

This hack is touted to be the largest in the history of hacks and this class action lawsuit could cite a probable 500,000 participant pool. The claimants on their part are seeking for the matter to go through a jury trial and are demanding for damages whose figure remains unspecified for now. The Federal Bureau of Investigations is leading the investigations to substantiate the claims. Yahoo has shifted the blame from itself by claiming that the attacks could be as a result of a behind-the-scenes “state-sponsored actor”.