Former Yahoo CEO apologises for data breaches, blames Russians

Former Yahoo CEO subpoenaed to appear before Congress

Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which held the hearing, said: "That's an admission you are not protected against state actors", prompting the senator to ask what Yahoo is doing about it.

Congress grilled Mayer on why it took so long to let users know about the breach and why Yahoo! underestimated the number of accounts affected.

"Unfortunately, while all our measures helped Yahoo successfully defend against the barrage of attacks by both private and state-sponsored hackers, Russian agents intruded on our systems and stole our users' data", she said. She said "really aggressive" pursuit of hackers was needed to discourage the efforts, and that even the most well-defended companies "could fall victim to these crimes".

"Yahoo worked closely with law enforcement, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who were ultimately able to identify and expose the hackers responsible for the attacks", she said.

Marissa Mayer Testifies on the Challenges of Halting State-Backed Persistent AttacksEric Chabrow (GovInfoSecurity) • November 8, 2017 Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer testifies before a Senate panel on Wednesday.

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Mayer said Yahoo has not been able to identify how the 2013 intrusion occurred and that the company did not learn of the incident until the USA government presented data to Yahoo in November 2016. Thune also pressed Equifax's former CEO Richard Smith and interim CEO Paulino Barros on Equifax's known security vulnerabilities that led to its recent data breach and how the company is now addressing these issues.

Barros told the committee he has focused on improving customer service and revising the company's structure so that the company's chief security officer reports directly to him.

"Massive data breaches have touched the vast majority of American consumers", said Thune. Six months earlier, Yahoo was targeted for the second time in four years in an attack that compromised more than 3 billion email accounts.

During her tenure as CEO, she said, Yahoo roughly doubled its internal security staff and made significant investments in its leadership and team.

"We verified that it came from Yahoo, but we don't exactly understand how the act was perpetrated", she told the committee.

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