Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Yahoo hack victims can sue in the United States, judge rules

Yahoo hack victims can sue in the United States, judge rules

A US federal judge has ruled that victims affected by Yahoo's various data breaches can sue the tech firm. Verizon Communications, which purchased Yahoo's internet business last June, had asked the court to have numerous suit's claims dismissed, Reuters reported.

Judge Koh previously dismissed an earlier attempt by Yahoo to have the lawsuit thrown out, after the company claimed that the hacks it suffered were the result of advanced tactics by attackers rather than a failure of the company's security protocols.

Yahoo and its ownership group have been accused of failing to properly disclose and remedy the 2014 breach which led to the email accounts of three billion customers being exposed to hackers.

Verizon lowered the price it offered for Yahoo to about $4.5 billion after the data breaches were revealed.

A Verizon spokesman had no immediate comment on Monday.

While Yahoo initially reported one billion users were exposed by one hack and 500 million exposed by another, the company revised its figures previous year and disclosed that three billion users in total were put at risk as a result of the hacks.

"Plaintiffs' allegations are sufficient to show that they would have behaved differently had defendants disclosed the security weaknesses of the Yahoo Mail System", Koh wrote in her decision.

"She also said the plaintiffs could try to show that liability limits in Yahoo's terms of service were" unconscionable", given the allegations that Yahoo knew its security was deficient but did little.

Verizon Communications, now Yahoo's parent company, attempted to have the suits brought against them thrown out of court, arguing Yahoo had been targeted by "relentless criminal attacks", according to Reuters, mitigating their responsibility. Reuters reported that, last March, U.S. prosecutors charged four individuals in connection to one of the breaches - including two Russian intelligence agents and a Canadian citizen. One of the accused hackers, Karim Baratov, pleaded guilty in Canada late past year.

In the wake of announcing the breaches, Yahoo sent emails to impacted users forcing password changes and voiding unencrypted security questions.

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