Yahoo users might want to reset their passwords. A hacker claims to have stolen the login information for 200 million Yahoo accounts and is selling them on the black market.
The stolen records are up for sale on TheRealDeal, a darknet marketplace that offers illegal goods. For 3 bitcoins, or US$1,824, anyone can buy them.
The hacker, known as peace_of_mind, has claimed to have previously sold login credentials for LinkedIn and Tumblr users.
In a brief message, peace_of_mind said the Yahoo database came from a Russian group that breached LinkedIn and Tumblr, in addition to MySpace.
In the case of the Yahoo accounts, the database “most likely” comes from 2012, the hacker said. Copies of the stolen Yahoo database have already been bought, peace_of_mind added.
On Monday, Yahoo said it was “aware” that the stolen database was on sale, but it neither confirmed nor denied that the records were real.
“Our security team is working to determine the facts,” the company said in an email.
Back in 2012, Yahoo reported a breach, but of only 450,000 accounts. A hacking group called D33ds Company had claimed responsibility, but Yahoo said that most of the stolen passwords were invalid.
It’s unclear if that hack is connected with this sale of 200 million accounts. Other security researchers have also noticed a Russian hacker known as “the Collector” selling tens of millions of email logins from Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail.
Peace_of_mind has posted a sample of the stolen Yahoo database, which includes user email addresses, along with passwords that have been hashed using the MD5 algorithm.
Those passwords could easily be cracked using a MD5 decrypter available online. The database also contains backup email addresses, as well as the users’ birth dates.
IDG News Service tried several email addresses from the stolen records and noticed that Yahoo’s login page recognized them and then asked for a password. However, other emails addresses were no longer valid.
Although Yahoo hasn’t confirmed the breach, users should still change their passwords, said Adam Levin, chairman of security firm IDT911, in an email.
In addition, users should make sure they aren’t using the same passwords across Internet accounts, he added.
Facebook’s Instagram app just hit a major milestone: It now has more than 200,000 monthly active advertisers, paying to reach its 400-million-plus active users.
That 200,000 number is up from just “hundreds” of advertisers in June. The company, which opened its self-service ad platform in September, said 75 percent of its advertisers are outside the U.S. and the vast majority are small and medium-sized businesses.
And this new scale means a better experience for users, and a better return for advertisers.
“Having 200,000 advertisers gives us an ability to better tailor the ads that people see to their likes and interests,” said James Quarles, Instagram’s global head of business and brand development. “The more advertisers we have, the more relevant the ad, the better the ad experience.”
Perhaps what’s most striking about Instagram’s advertiser numbers is how they compare to Twitter’s.
In its last earnings report, Twitter said it has 130,000 advertisers, four years after the company opened its self-serve ad platform.
Instagram has a built-in advantage in helping it expand its advertiser numbers quickly: Facebook’s massive advertiser base — 2.5 million strong — can easily tack on the purchase of Instagram ads.
Ninety-eight of the top 100 Facebook advertisers are also on Instagram. “We recommend that businesses be both on Facebook and on Instagram — it’s the same back end, but a different storefront,” said Quarles.
Instagram is also sharing statistics showing the effectiveness of its format. About half of its users already follow businesses, making the addition of posts from brands a natural addition to the news feed. The company also said 60 percent of users say they learn about products and services on Instagram, and 75 percent say they take action after being inspired by an Instagram post — like visiting a website, searching, shopping or telling a friend. Plus, there’s the statistic that Facebook has put out there for a while: One in 5 mobile minutes is spent on Facebook and Instagram. And it recently announced that over the last six months, the time people spent watching videos on Instagram increased by more than 40 percent.
With Facebook’s advertiser base, and Instagram’s recently launched 60-second video ads, expect Instagram to make a growing impact on Facebook’s bottom line.