Tuesday, January 24, 2017

YAHOO’S MASSIVE HACKING NIGHTMARE JUST GOT EVEN WORSE


Yahoo’s fire sale to Verizon isn’t a done deal just yet. Shortly after Yahoo sold its core assets for $4.8 billion, the geriatric Internet giant confirmed that it had been hacked and that personal data belonging to “at least” 500 million users had been stolen by a state-sponsored actor. Three months later, Yahoo revealed an even larger cyber-attack, with about 1 billion users affected. Now, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Yahoo should have informed its investors sooner about the two huge data breaches, The Wall Street Journal reports. And while Verizon is still moving forward with closing its acquisition, the latest setback for Yahoo means Verizon could have even more ammo if it seeks to renegotiate the final sale price.


After the first incident, Yahoo admitted that some employees knew about the hack as early as 2014. U.S. securities-industry rules require companies like Yahoo to immediately report and disclose data breaches to investors, and the S.E.C.’s probe is investigating whether Yahoo should have reported its incidents to investors sooner, and whether its disclosures are compliant with federal civil-securities laws, the Journal reports. In September, Democratic senator Mark Warner asked the S.E.C. to complete an investigation into whether Yahoo had appropriately informed investors about the initial data breach, and in December, the S.E.C. requested documents from Yahoo to determine if the company could have done so sooner. “Disclosure is the foundation of federal securities laws, and public companies are required to disclose material events that shareholders should know about,” Warner wrote in a letter to then S.E.C. chairwoman Mary Jo White. Yahoo said in a November filing that it had been cooperating with a number of federal agencies, including the S.E.C., who were investigating the 2014 breach.


The S.E.C. probe is the latest blow to the reputation of embattled Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer, who took on the near-impossible task of turning around Yahoo when she accepted the job of C.E.O. in 2012. She did manage to find an exit for the 1990s-era tech relic in the form of a $4.8 billion deal to sell the company’s assets to Verizon, bringing an end to Yahoo’s 21-year run as an independent entity, though in the wake of the company’s data breaches, it’s unclear whether the agreement will be approved. The deal, which was expected to close by late March according to an S.E.C. filing from earlier this month, has now been delayed to the second quarter of 2017, Yahoo said on Monday. According to the same filing, Mayer and other executives, including Yahoo co-founder David Filo, will resign from the company’s board of directors after the sale. It’s not clear what role, if any, Mayer will have at Verizon, should the sale be approved.

Jeff Bezos: The C.E.O. of e-commerce and delivery giant Amazon and the owner of The Washington Post has already sparred with Trump. But Trump could come after Bezos for anti-trust issues, too: Trump is on the record as saying Amazon “is controlling so much of what they are doing.” The fact that The Washington Post has been reporting on Trump, often critically, probably does not endear Bezos to Trump, either.

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