How much is the hacked Yahoo database worth? Try $300,000

It’s been yet another bad week for Yahoo, the perpetually beleaguered internet giant based in Sunnyvale, California. This past September, we learned of an enormous 2014 hack into its user database that compromised 500 million accounts. That would be the tip of the iceberg, as this week another larger hack came to light — a staggering billion accounts were hacked in 2013.

When you’re dealing with numbers of this size, a lot of money goes along with it. The New York Times says that last August, a shadowy “hacking collective in Eastern Europe” began offering the hacked data for sale — this from Andrew Komarov, who is chief intelligence officer at InfoArmor, a cybersecurity outfit out of Arizona that deals in “advanced threat intelligence” and monitors the seamy areas of the internet that are populated by crooks, scammers, spammers, and spies. The Times says that “two known spammers and an entity that appeared more interested in espionage paid about $300,000 each for a complete copy of the database.”

Komarov also noted that his company got a copy of the database and informed various military and law enforcement authorities in various countries of the incident, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Britain, and the EU “After those parties verified the authenticity of the stolen records, he said, some of them went to Yahoo with their concerns.”

He also said in the interview that he didn’t approach Yahoo directly “because the internet giant was dismissive of the security firm when approached by an intermediary. He also said he “did not trust Yahoo to thoroughly investigate the breach since it could threaten the sale to Verizon.”

Komarov’s claims first surfaced in this Bloomberg article, which states that Komarov watched the hacker group he calls “Group E” sell the database three times, and “was able to intercept the database during the sales. ” Two buyers were large spammers on the Spamhaus Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO) list. And here’s where it gets even trickier. Bloomberg adds the the other buyer “gave the sellers a list of ten names of U.S. and foreign government officials and business executives, to verify their logins were part of the database. That led Komarov to speculate the buyer was a foreign intelligence agency.”

Ah, and let’s not forget that sale to Verizon. Besides the ongoing questions of how this could happen — twice that we know of — and why did it take so long for the information to come to light, the bigger issue of Verizon looms. Do they want to move forward with their purchase of the net behemoth with a discounted price, or wash their collective hands of the entire proposed $4.83 billion acquisition?

In the Times, Verizon spokesman Bob Varettoni offered nothing new on his company’s stance, and offered a conservative boilerplate comment. “’As we’ve said all along, we will evaluate the situation as Yahoo continues its investigation,’” he said. “’We will review the impact of this new development before reaching any final conclusions.’”

Business

Marriott asking guests for data to see if they were victims of the Starwood hack

Marriott has created an online form to help you find out if your data was stolen in the massive Starwood hack that came to light toward the end of 2018. But take note, it requires you to submit a bunch of personal details.
Smart Home

Consumer groups call out retailers in a bid for better IoT security

Consumer groups posted a "Dear retailer" letter on February 12 that called out Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, and Target, shaming the companies for selling insecure smart home devices.
Mobile

Happy Valentine’s Day! Coffee Meets Bagel dating app data may have been breached

Are you planning on using Coffee Meets Bagel to find love on Valentine's Day? If you've been using the app for a while, you'll probably want to change your password -- the company said a data breach may have taken place before May 2018.
Business

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Computing

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Computing

Don't use streaming apps? Try the best free media players for your local music

Rather than using music-streaming apps, you may want something for playing your local music. Good news! There are some good alternatives. These are the best media players you can download for free on Windows.
Mobile

Need speed? Qualcomm unveils the Snapdragon X55, the world’s fastest 5G modem

Qualcomm is preparing for an even faster future: The silicon giant just unveiled a second generation 5G modem for smartphones, promising blistering download speeds as high as 7Gbps.
Mobile

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…
Photography

Luminar’s libraries gain speed, drop need for you to manually import images

Luminar 3 just got a performance boost. Skylum Luminar 3.0.2 has improved speed over December's update, which added the long-promised libraries feature giving editors a Lightroom alternative.
Computing

Keep your portable computer safe and shiny with the best laptop bags for 2019

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.
Computing

Like to be brand loyal? These tech titans make some of our favorite laptops

If you want to buy your next laptop based around a specific brand, it helps to know which the best brands of laptops are. This list will give you a good grounding in the most reliable, quality laptop manufacturers today.
Computing

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Computing

Microsoft extension adds Google Chrome support for Windows Timeline

The Windows Timeline feature is now much more versatile thanks to the added support for Google's Chrome browser. All you need to do to increase its functionality is to download the official Chrome extension.
Computing

Google Earth spills the beans, reveals Taiwan’s secret military bases

Google Earth 3D Maps has spilled the beans on Taiwan's deepest secrets. The locations available in full three-dimensional detail include a facility which houses Patriot missiles and the country's National Security Bureau.