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Senate panel grills Equifax, Yahoo execs over recent cyberattacks

Senate panel grills Equifax, Yahoo execs over recent cyberattacks

Although Mayer testified that the 2014 breach was state-sponsored, Yahoo still hasn't concluded who was responsible for the 2013 hack.

Verizon, the largest US wireless operator, acquired most of Yahoo Inc's assets in June, the same month Mayer stepped down.

Mayer testified in front of the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday regarding two massive data breaches at Yahoo.

In September, Equifax revealed that hackers had stolen the personal information of over 140 million USA consumers from its website.

The 42-year-old, who testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, said the thefts occurred during her almost five-year tenure and she wants to 'sincerely apologize to each and every one of our users'.

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.

In the end, she said "Russian agents intruded on our systems and stole our users" data'.

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Yahoo had bumped its estimate of affected accounts from a previous 1B to all of them (3B in total). But the suspected involvement of Russian agents in its breach shows companies still face a formidable challenge, she said.

She told lawmakers that the threat from state-sponsored hackers has changed the playing field so dramatically that even the best-defended companies can fall victim. 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. A breach at the credit-reporting company earlier this year exposed personal data for 145 million consumers.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said lawmakers need to have the political will to hold corporations more accountable for breaches.

"We work according to the law and use the tools that the industry uses to have arbitration in place", Barros said, referring to consumers' ability to sue Equifax.

"To this day, we have still not been able to identify the intrusion that led to the attack".

Senators questioning the CEOs were not optimistic about future security breaches.

The Senate Commerce Committee took the unusual step of subpoenaing Mayer to testify on October 25 after a representative for Mayer declined multiple requests for her voluntarily testimony.


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