Yahoo's Mayer points to Russians in data-breach apology

Yahoo's Mayer points to Russians in data-breach apology

Former Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer apologised on Wednesday for two massive data breaches at the internet company, blaming Russian agents for at least one of them, at a hearing on the growing number of cyber attacks on major US companies.

During the hearing, Thune questioned Yahoo!'s former CEO Marissa Mayer on Yahoo!'s security collapses and its failure to effectively respond to those collapses in a timely matter.

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

In an opening statement to the Senate Commerce Committee, Mayer apologized to Yahoo's users, blamed "Russian agents" for the breach and said that Yahoo quickly worked to protect user accounts and contact law enforcement. 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.

Verizon acquired most of Yahoo's assets in June, the same month Mayer stepped down.

Mayer and Smith were flanked by officials from their former companies, as Congress sought to get to the bottom of how three billion global user accounts at Yahoo and 146 million American Social Security numbers and more at Equifax were stolen by hackers.

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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.

A representative for Mayer said on Tuesday she was appearing voluntarily. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., asked all of those testifying, including the interim and former CEOs of Equifax, Paulino de Rego Barros Jr. and Richard Smith, as well as Entrust Datacard CEO Todd Wilkinson, if they took issue with Nelson's contention that a "mere company" can not withstand persistent attacks from state-backed hackers without the help of the National Security Agency.

'We don't exactly understand how the act was perpetrated, ' which explains why there are some gaps in information, she said.

'A single federal standard would ensure all consumers are treated the same with regard to notification of data breaches that might cause them harm, ' Thune said.

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

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