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Yahoo strikes $117.5 million data breach settlement after earlier accord rejected


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(Reuters) - Yahoo has struck a revised $117.5 million settlement with millions of people whose email addresses and other personal information were stolen in the largest data breach in history.

 

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The proposed class-action settlement made public on Tuesday was designed to address criticisms of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California. She rejected an earlier version of the accord on Jan. 28, and her approval is still required.

 

Koh said the original settlement was not "fundamentally fair, adequate and reasonable" because it had no overall dollar value and did not say how much victims might expect to recover. She also said the legal fees appeared to be too high.

 

Yahoo, now part of New York-based Verizon Communications Inc, had been accused of being slow to disclose three data breaches affecting about 3 billion accounts from 2013 to 2016.

 

The new settlement includes at least $55 million for victims' out-of-pocket expenses and other costs, $24 million for two years of credit monitoring, up to $30 million for legal fees, and up to $8.5 million for other expenses.

 

It covers as many as 194 million people in the United States and Israel with roughly 896 million accounts.

 

John Yanchunis, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, in a court filing called the $117.5 million the "biggest common fund ever obtained in a data breach case." He did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.

 

Separately, Verizon agreed to spend $306 million between 2019 and 2022 on information security, five times what Yahoo spent from 2013 to 2016. It also pledged to quadruple Yahoo's staffing in that area.

 

"The settlement demonstrates our strong commitment to security," Verizon said in a statement.

 

Yahoo agreed in July 2016 to sell its internet business to Verizon for $4.83 billion. Only later did it reveal the scope of the breaches, prompting a price cut to $4.48 billion. Verizon wrote off much of Yahoo's value in December.

 

U.S. prosecutors charged two Russian intelligence agents and two hackers in connection with one of the breaches in 2017. One hacker later pleaded guilty.

 

The case is In re: Yahoo Inc Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 16-md-02752.

 

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The AchieVer

Yahoo to Pay $117.5M in Latest Settlement of Massive Breach

Nearly 200 million people ensnared in Yahoo data breach eligible for up to $117.5 million in free services, other potential restitution.

 
 

The Associated Press

 

Nearly 200 million people who had sensitive information snatched from their Yahoo accounts will receive two years of free credit-monitoring services and other potential restitution in a legal settlement valued at $117.5 million. The deal disclosed in documents filed Tuesday, April 9, 2019, revises an earlier agreement struck last October, only to be rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

 Nearly 200 million people who had sensitive information snatched from their Yahoo accounts will receive two years of free credit-monitoring services and other potential restitution in a legal settlement valued at $117.5 million.

The deal revises an earlier agreement struck last October, only to be rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California. The value of that settlement had been pegged at $50 million, but Koh questioned the calculations.

 

A more detailed breakdown used in the revised settlement drove up the estimated cost. The money will be paid by Yahoo's current owner, Verizon, and Altaba, a holdover from Yahoo's past that still owns a stake in Chinese internet company Alibaba Group worth billions of dollars.

 

If approved, the settlement will become part of the financial fallout from digital burglaries that stole personal information from about 3 billion Yahoo accounts in 2013 and 2014 — believed to be the biggest data breach ever.

 

And now the $117.5 million settlement could become largest amount ever doled out for a data breach, a recurring problem in an increasingly digitally driven world. It eclipses a $115 million settlement that Koh approved last year to cover 79 million people who had personal information stolen in a 2015 breach at health insurer Anthem Inc.

 

Yahoo didn't begin to disclose the extent of its security breakdown until 2016 amid an FBI investigation that eventually linked some of the hacking to Russia . The revelations brought a mortifying end to the reign of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, eventually prompting the company to reduce its selling price to Verizon by $350 million.

 

Verizon has since written off much of the nearly $4.5 billion price for the Yahoo acquisition in sign of the eroding value of that business.

 

Lawyers representing the Yahoo accountholders estimate about 194 million people in U.S. and Israel will be eligible to make claims, according to court documents. Those people collectively may have had about 896 million of the Yahoo accounts hit in the break-ins.

 

The biggest piece of the revised Yahoo settlement disclosed in documents filed Tuesday consists of the free credit-monitoring services that will be offered to everyone covered by the deal to protect them from identity theft and other potential problems. The service from AllClear usually costs $14.95 per month, or $359 for two years. People who already have a credit-monitoring service will be eligible for cash payments instead.

 

Yahoo accountholders who paid anywhere for $20 to $50 annually for premium email accounts will be eligible for refunds of up to 25%. People who had to spend time protecting their identities or dealing with other issues caused by the breach can be seek to be paid at a rate of $25 per hour for up to 15 hours.

 

The settlement will also pay up to $32.5 million in fees and other expenses to the lawyers representing Yahoo accountholders, down from the $37.5 million sought in the earlier agreement — another sticking point for Koh.

 

As part of the deal, Verizon also has pledged to continue to expand upon the security that it has already added since taking over Yahoo. The Verizon division that includes Yahoo expects to spend an average of about $81 million annually on security from 2018 to 2022, up from average of about $15 million annually from 2013 to 2016 when Yahoo was still independent, according to court documents.

 

"We believe that the settlement demonstrates our strong commitment to security," Verizon said in a statement. John Yanchunis, a lawyer representing Yahoo accountholders, declined to comment.

A hearing on the revised settlement is scheduled for June 27.

 

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

 

 

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TheEmpathicEar

Ya know, I always loved this term: "massive breach". It makes me feel like someone's underwear ripped or something like that? 😎

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Similar topics merged.

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