German infosec agency urges security review after Yahoo! flensing

Local companies take security seriously, says BSI head, but give 'em fake phone numbers and addresses anyway

Germany's Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (Federal Office for Information Security or BSI) has warned users to reconsider the security chops of their email providers and plugged local services in response to news a billion credentials were stolen from Yahoo!

The oft-raided web concern revealed yesterday that hackers of unknown identity raided its servers and made off with a mind-bogglingly large horde of phone numbers, addresses, weak-MD5 hashed passwords, and security question and answers.

President of BSI Arne Schönbohm issued a statement slapping email providers, though not naming Yahoo!, for poor security form, and advised Germans to consider local providers with strong infosec credentials.

"There are a number of providers in Germany who take security seriously," Schönbohm says in the statement (in German, shoved through an online translator).

"Providers should take care of data and use the latest security technology.

"In the face of repeated incidents of data theft users should look more carefully at the services they use."

Schönbohm says users should only fill out their real personal information such as address and phone numbers when it is essential.

"In order to receive a newsletter by email, you should not need to specify your postal address or phone number because personal information is a valuable asset to be used sparingly," he says.

The agency expects the Yahoo! breach to impact many Germans.

It recommends users reset their passwords along with security questions and answers across all sites.

News of the massive breaking breach follows Yahoo!'s admission it parted ways with 500 million records in a separate compromise in 2014.

It also brings Yahoo!'s acquisition by Verizon into question, as the much smaller September breach prompted questions about whether the purchase price Verizon will pay for the company should be reduced. Financial news outlets have today reported Verizon is again considering its options and could even call off the deal. ®

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