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Former Yahoo CEO: Stronger Defense Couldn't Stop Breaches

09 November 2017

Former Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer on Wednesday apologised for a pair of massive data breaches at the internet company and blamed Russian agents at a hearing on the growing number of incidents involving major US companies.

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.

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

Yahoo! didn't disclose the breach until 2016 and initially said one billion accounts were affected.

But details over who pulled off the more serious 2013 hack continue to elude Yahoo, Mayer said during Wednesday's hearing, which was focused on protecting consumers from future data breaches.

While testifying, the 42-year-old said she wants to "sincerely apologize to each and every one of our users.' She said that the company defended itself against a barrage of state-sponsored and private hacks over the years".

But under questioning from the Senate Commerce Committee, she also admitted that Yahoo still doesn't know exactly how hackers managed to steal the usernames and passwords of all of its registered users.

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Lawmakers said rigorous security rules are needed to counter the hacks and that companies need "extreme" limits to protect customers' privacy.

In March, federal prosecutors charged two Russian intelligence agents and two hackers with masterminding the 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts, the first time the US government has criminally charged Russian spies for cyber crimes.

Mayer joined former and current CEOs of Equifax in testifying before the committee examining recent data breaches. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said, "but when". John Thune, chairman of the committee, said.

Mayer volunteered to testify on data breaches, but only after being subpoenaed.

She said Yahoo still has not been able to identify the intrusion that led to that theft.

Nevertheless, Yahoo still does not fully understand "how the act was perpetrated", Mayer admitted.

Former Yahoo CEO: Stronger Defense Couldn't Stop Breaches