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About 500 million Yahoo users were hit by the 2014 hacking attack, the tech giant has confirmed.

The breach, the largest publicly disclosed in history, included swathes of personal information including names and emails as well as “unencrypted security questions and answers”.

According to Yahoo, the breach did not include any credit card data. The site said it believed the attack was state-sponsored.

Yahoo has announced it will buy digital video advertising service BrightRoll for $640 million

In July, Yahoo was sold to Verizon for $4.8 billion.

News of a possible major attack on Yahoo emerged in August when a hacker known as “Peace” was apparently attempting to sell information on 200 million accounts.

On September 22, Yahoo confirmed the breach was far bigger than first thought.

The data taken includes names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth and encrypted passwords.

Yahoo recommended all users should change their passwords if they had not done so since 2014.

It said in a statement: “Online intrusions and thefts by state-sponsored actors have become increasingly common across the technology industry.”

Reuters reported three unnamed US intelligence officials as saying they believed the attack was state-sponsored because it was similar to previous hacks linked to Russian intelligence agencies.

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Yahoo’s internet business has been sold to Verizon Communications for nearly $5 billion in cash.

It will be combined with AOL, another faded internet star, which Verizon bought in 2015.

The deal does not include Yahoo’s valuable stake in Chinese firm Alibaba.

The price tag for the deal is well below the $44 billion Microsoft offered for Yahoo in 2008 or the $125 billion it was worth during the dot.com boom.Verizon buys Yahoo

Verizon said the deal for Yahoo’s core internet business, which has more than a billion active users a month, would make it a global mobile media company.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said: “Yahoo is a company that has changed the world, and will continue to do so through this combination with Verizon and AOL.”

In an email to staff, Marissa Mayer said she was “planning to stay”, adding: “I love Yahoo, and I believe in all of you. It’s important to me to see Yahoo into its next chapter.”

However, the takeover, which is due to be completed in early 2017, raises questions about whether the Yahoo brand could disappear.

AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong said the deal was about “unleashing Yahoo’s full potential”, and creating a major player in mobile media.

Together AOL and Yahoo will have more than 25 brands, including Yahoo Mail, Flickr and Tumblr as well as AOL’s Huffington Post and Techcrunch news sites.

Marissa Mayer, who took the helm at Yahoo in 2012, has made little progress in returning the company to profit.

Last week Yahoo reported a $440 million loss in Q2, but said the board had made “great progress on strategic alternatives”.

 

 

Yahoo has announced it will buy digital video advertising service BrightRoll for $640 million.

The move would allow Yahoo to grow its video advertising platform, “making it the largest in the US”, the giant tech said.

BrightRoll does automated online video advertising for some of the world’s biggest brands and its net revenue is expected to exceed $100 million this year.

A jump in video advertising would also help offset Yahoo’s slowing growth and boost declining display ad revenues.

Yahoo has announced it will buy digital video advertising service BrightRoll for $640 million

Yahoo has announced it will buy digital video advertising service BrightRoll for $640 million (photo Reuters)

“Here at Yahoo, video is one of the largest growth opportunities, and BrightRoll is a terrific, strategic and financially compelling fit for our video advertising business,” said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in a statement on November 11.

Last month, Yahoo had reported that its Q3 revenue from ads fell by 5% from a year earlier. It has struggled to keep up with rivals like Google that have seen ad revenue grow by 17% in third quarter from a year ago.

The acquisition is also Yahoo’s first major purchase since receiving $9.4 billion in September from selling part of its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

News of the takeover comes after reports in October that said Yahoo was close to investing millions of dollars in mobile messaging startup Snapchat.

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Yahoo is planning to invest millions of dollars in mobile messaging service Snapchat, which may value the start-up at about $10 billion, reports say.

Snapchat allows users to send images and videos that “disappear” seconds after being viewed.

The company is said to have rejected a $3 billion takeover offer from Facebook and other tech behemoths, including China’s Alibaba and Tencent groups in recent years.

Yahoo and Snapchat refused to comment.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo may invest about $20 million in Snapchat’s next funding round after cashing in from its stake in e-commerce giant Alibaba.

In 2005, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang bought a 40% stake in Alibaba for about $1 billion. It sold part of that stake during last month’s initial public offering, earning more than $9 billion before taxes.

Yahoo has been on an acquisition spree under chief executive Marissa Mayer, who has been looking to move it away from its reliance on search and make it more of a content provider.

Since joining in 2012, Marissa Mayer has overseen more than two dozen deals aimed at turning the company around.

Yahoo is planning to invest millions of dollars in mobile messaging service Snapchat

Yahoo is planning to invest millions of dollars in mobile messaging service Snapchat

However, she has recently come under pressure from activist investor Starboard Value.

Starboard Value has been calling on Yahoo to halt its spending and consider combining with online rival AOL.

Last week, Yahoo bought mobile-chat application MessageMe, which allows users to ping one or many friends on their smartphone using emoticons and stickers.

Marissa Mayer also acquired blogging service Tumblr for about $1 billion last year.

MessageMe has said it will shut down in November, so that its eight-person team can work on mobile products for Yahoo.

Snapchat was created by a group of students at Stanford University in 2011 and quickly became popular among teens.

Facebook is now testing a similar feature that allows users to schedule the automatic deletion of their posts ranging from one hour to seven days.

Snapchat, which has little to no revenue, reportedly rejected Facebook’s $3 billion offer last year for being too low.

However, a tech boom in Silicon Valley has seen several privately owned start-ups receive eleven-digit valuations, including house-sharing company Airbnb and private car-booking application Uber.

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Yahoo has bought app analytics company Flurry to help boost its advertising revenue from smartphones.

San Francisco-based Flurry helps app developers analyze data about their users and deliver more personalized ads to them.

Some of Yahoo’s rivals have also bought mobile advertising technology companies in an attempt to lure marketers to their apps, as well as generate revenue from ads on other company’s apps.

Yahoo and Flurry did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

However, some reports indicated that Yahoo paid between $200 million and $300 million to acquire Flurry, making it one of Yahoo’s biggest acquisitions since it acquired blogging platform Tumblr in 2012.

Yahoo’s deal comes just days after it reported that its profit fell by 18% to $270 million during the three months to the end of June.

Yahoo has bought app analytics company Flurry to help boost its advertising revenue from smartphones

Yahoo has bought app analytics company Flurry to help boost its advertising revenue from smartphones

Its revenues also fell 3% to $1.08 billion.

Most of the decline was due to a sharp drop in digital display advertising, which plunged 8% in the second quarter.

However, Yahoo said that its mobile display and search revenue each grew more than 100% during the period, from a year ago.

On Monday, Yahoo and Flurry said that by joining forces they will be able to better serve their customers and boost mobile revenues further.

“With Yahoo, we will have access to more resources to speed up the delivery of great products that can help app developers build better apps, reach the right users, and explore new revenue opportunities,” Simon Khalaf, chief executive of Flurry, said in a statement.

“Over the last six years we have accomplished a lot on our own, but with Yahoo we are in an even better position to achieve our joint goals.”

Flurry works with more than 170,000 developers, picking up data from 150 billion app sessions each month, to provide information to app publishers about their audiences, app usage and performance.

The global demand for smartphones has surged in recent years and an increasing number of people are accessing the internet via handheld devices, rather than the traditional desktop computers.

That has prompted internet firms such as Yahoo, Twitter, Google and Facebook to come up with strategies to increase their revenues from mobile devices.

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Yahoo has bought self-destructing mobile messaging app Blink in order to poach the talent behind it.

Blink is a mobile application that allows users to share messages that self-destruct.

The app will reportedly be shut down in the coming weeks so that Blink’s seven-person team can work on Yahoo’s “smart communication” products.

This includes former Google employees Kevin Stephens and Michelle Norgan, who founded Meh Labs, the start-up that created Blink.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Yahoo has bought self-destructing mobile messaging app Blink in order to poach the talent behind it

Yahoo has bought self-destructing mobile messaging app Blink in order to poach the talent behind it

Blink made the announcement on their website, saying they “look forward to the possibilities that will come from bringing the Blink vision to Yahoo”.

“We built Blink because we believe everyone should be free to show the same honesty and spontaneity in their online conversations as they can in person.”

Yahoo has reportedly bought 40 start-ups since chief executive Marissa Mayer took over two years ago in an attempt to revamp the internet company.

It has been looking to generate more mobile content and advertising revenues as an increasing number of people use tablets and smartphones.

Blink has been competing against established rivals in private messaging such as Snapchat, and newer entrants like Confide and Wickr.

Its users can exchange texts, photos and videos that can only be viewed within a certain period of time before it self-deletes. A timer starts after the recipient taps their screen to open the message.

Messaging applications have been a popular target for larger, established internet companies looking to expand their product offerings.

Snapchat, which specializes in disappearing photos, reportedly received a multi-billion dollar offer from Facebook last year.

Facebook went on to create a similar app called Poke, which was discontinued last week.

Yahoo will show two original TV series on its website and mobile app.

The move makes Yahoo the latest technology company to join the fast-growing market for digital video content.

Companies such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Microsoft have been looking to compete with traditional TV programming to attract viewers to their platforms.

Some have even been signing deals with internet service providers to stream videos faster and more smoothly.

On Monday, Netflix announced a deal with Verizon – one of the biggest internet service providers in the US – which will see Netflix servers connected directly to Verizon’s network, resulting in faster speeds.

“We have reached an interconnect arrangement with Verizon that we hope will improve performance for our joint customers over the coming months,” Joris Evers, spokesman for Netflix, said in a statement.

Yahoo will show two original TV series on its website and mobile app

Yahoo will show two original TV series on its website and mobile app

Yahoo had agreed a similar deal with Comcast earlier this year.

The company said its first two original series will be comedies titled: Other Space and Sin City Saints.

It said it has got 500 million streams on Yahoo Screen in the US since it launched its comedy lineup on the website seven months ago.

“We are continuing to build our library with universally loved comedy such as Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central,” Kathy Savitt, chief marketing officer on Yahoo, said in a statement.

Yahoo said its two original series will also be available to viewers on Apple TV and Roku.

However, the company is likely to face growing competition.

Earlier this month, Amazon agreed a deal with HBO that will allow US customers of its streaming service, Amazon Prime, to watch HBO’s TV shows, including The Sopranos.

It is the first time HBO programming has been licensed to an online-only subscription streaming service.

Amazon Instant Video has also announced a series called The After – a post-apocalyptic drama by X-files creator Chris Carter – among other commissions.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to launch two sci-fi series – Halo and Humans – on its Xbox Live service over the coming months.

Sony is developing Powers, a series about detectives investigating people with superhuman abilities, for the PlayStation Network.

Yahoo Chief Operating Officer Henrique de Castro has unexpectedly departed the company just over a year after he was hired to turn its advertising business around.

Henrique de Castro, Yahoo’s second most senior executive, is leaving this week. No reason was given.

His departure deals a blow to Yahoo’s efforts to revive flagging sales and internet traffic in the face of increased competition from rival sites.

It may also be an expensive loss for chief executive Marissa Mayer.

Henrique de Castro is one of Silicon Valley’s most highly-paid executives and may receive a multi-million-dollar severance package.

Henrique de Castro is one of Silicon Valley's most highly-paid executives

Henrique de Castro is one of Silicon Valley’s most highly-paid executives

According to reports, there were tensions between Henrique de Castro and Marissa Mayer, who had poached him from Google shortly after she took over at the company.

Henrique de Castro’s main role was to act as Yahoo’s top sales executive and build relationships with key advertising clients.

However, Yahoo has failed to significantly increase advertising revenues for its website and mobile applications.

Display-advertising revenue, which accounts for about 40% of the company’s sales, fell 7% to $421 million from a year ago in the third quarter.

Yahoo also lowered its profit outlook for fiscal 2013 during its last earnings release in October.

On Wednesday, Yahoo shares fell 0.6% in extended US trading.

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It was revealed that Yahoo’s top lawyers had a courtroom showdown with the National Security Agency after it had demanded information on certain foreign users without a warrant, but the tech giant lost and was forced to hand over the data.

Court documents obtained by the New York Times show that Yahoo had initially refused to join the PRISM spying program, insisting that the broad national security requests seeking users’ personal information were unconstitutional.

However, the secret court operating under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) sided with the NSA and forced Yahoo’s hand.

Information about Yahoo’s legal battle against the NSA first emerged in a heavily redacted court order, but the name of the company involved had not been released until now.

It was claimed that besides Yahoo, a number of major Silicon Valley companies became part of PRISM, among them Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, YouTube, Skype, AOL and the lesser known Internet company PalTalk, which has hosted a lot of traffic during the Arab Spring and the on-going Syrian civil war.

However, only Facebook and Google have been shown to have worked toward creating “online rooms” in which to share data with the government.

Information about the classified program was leaked last week by NSA systems administrator Edward Snowden, 29, who smuggled the files concerning PRISM on a thumb drive.

Yahoo fought against NSA's warrantless spying program but lost and was forced by secret court to join PRISM

Yahoo fought against NSA’s warrantless spying program but lost and was forced by secret court to join PRISM

In 2008, Yahoo argued that NSA’s requests seeking to obtain its users’ private data violated their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, but the judges on the FISA court disagreed with the company’s assessment, calling their concerns “overblown”, the Times reported.

“Notwithstanding the parade of horrible trotted out by the petitioner, it has presented no evidence of any actual harm, any egregious risk of error, or any broad potential for abuse,” the court said, adding that the government’s “efforts to protect national security should not be frustrated by the courts”.

Yahoo’s defeat in court reportedly left other top players in the industry more reluctant to challenge the NSA on surveillance request.

So far, Yahoo, Google and Facebook have all denied their involvement in PRISM.

“Yahoo! has not joined any program in which we volunteer to share user data with the U.S. government,” Yahoo General Counsel Ron Bell wrote in a Tumblr post Saturday.

“We do not voluntarily disclose user information. The only disclosures that occur are in response to specific demands.”

In the wake of the unwarranted spying scandal, a number of top Silicon Valley companies, among them Facebook, Google and Microsoft, have asked the government to overturn a gag order allowing them to publicly disclose national security requests.

Google Inc was the first to go public with its demand for greater transparency, releasing an open letter asking the U.S. Department of Justice for permission to disclose the number and scope of data requests each receives from security agencies, including confidential FISA requests.

Microsoft Corp and Facebook Inc soon followed with similarly worded statements in support of Google.

Last year, the US government issued more than 1,850 FISA requests and 15,000 National Security Letters, which refers to requests filed by the FBI to collect information about Americans.

Between 2008 and 2012, only two of more than 8,500 FISA requests were rejected by the secret court, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a non-profit research group.

Yahoo’s board has approved a deal to buy New York-based blogging service Tumblr for $1.1 billion, US media reports say.

The acquisition is expected to be announced as early as Monday.

The deal was a “foregone conclusion” and was a unanimous vote by the board, tech blog AllThingsD reported, citing sources close to the matter.

If confirmed, it will be CEO Marissa Mayer’s largest deal since taking the helm of Yahoo in July 2012.

Yahoo's board has approved a deal to buy New York-based blogging service Tumblr for $1.1 billion

Yahoo’s board has approved a deal to buy New York-based blogging service Tumblr for $1.1 billion

Analysts say that by acquiring Tumblr, Yahoo would gain a larger social media presence and enhance its ability to attract younger audiences. It will also help Tumblr generate more revenue from advertisements.

On its home page, Tumblr says it hosts 108 million blogs, with 50.7 billion posts between them.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Tumblr would continue to operate as an independent business, the Wall Street Journal said, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

About 700 million web surfers visit Yahoo’s website every month, ranking it among the top in the global industry.

However, it shed more than 1,000 jobs during 2012 and has long been divided over whether it should focus on media content or on tools and technologies.

Marissa Mayer was brought to Yahoo in last July from Google to turn the company round, and has been focusing on building better mobile and social networking services.

Yahoo group has been ordered to pay $2.7 billion by a Mexican court following a lawsuit stemming from allegations of breach of contract and lost profits related to a yellow pages listing service.

Yahoo said it “believes the plaintiffs’ claims are without merit and will vigorously pursue all appeals”.

The lawsuit had been brought by Worldwide Directories SA de CV and Ideas Interactivas SA de CV.

Yahoo has been ordered to pay $2.7 billion by a Mexican court following a lawsuit stemming from allegations of breach of contract and lost profits related to a yellow pages listing service

Yahoo has been ordered to pay $2.7 billion by a Mexican court following a lawsuit stemming from allegations of breach of contract and lost profits related to a yellow pages listing service

In a statement on its website Yahoo said the 49th Civil Court of the Federal District of Mexico City had “entered a non-final judgment of US $2.7 billion against Yahoo! Inc. and Yahoo de Mexico” in the case.

Shares in Yahoo, which is based in Sunnyvale, California, fell by 1.4% in after-the-bell trading following the news.

Marissa Mayer, a former leading Google executive, has been appointed as Yahoo next chief executive.

Marissa Mayer, 37, will become the firm’s third CEO in the space of a year.

In a statement released by Yahoo, Marissa Mayer said she was “honored and delighted” to lead the company.

In May CEO Scott Thompson stepped down after accusations that he put a fake computer degree on his CV. In September 2011, CEO Carol Bartz was fired after two-and-a-half years in the post.

Yahoo has struggled in the face of increased competition from search rivals including Google and the emergence of social giants such as Facebook.

Although it remains the US’ largest web portal, correspondents say Yahoo’s failure to become more “social” has hurt the firm.

Its stock is now worth less than half its peak value.

Marissa Mayer, a former leading Google executive, has been appointed as Yahoo next chief executive

Marissa Mayer, a former leading Google executive, has been appointed as Yahoo next chief executive

Yahoo’s news service still attracts very large volumes of traffic. But other products, such as its search engine and email, have suffered. The company’s revenue from display advertising has also dwindled.

Interim CEO Ross Levinsohn was thought to have been the favorite for the job before Monday’s announcement that Marissa Mayer was to take the helm.

Correspondents say the selection of Marissa Mayer to head the company suggests a renewed focus on technology and products, over online content.

“I look forward to working with the company’s dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world,” Marissa Mayer said.

She becomes one of very few women in Silicon Valley to rise to the top of a major technology firm.

“A lot of people did not believe that Yahoo could get someone of the caliber of a Marissa Mayer to become the CEO at this stage,” Standard and Poor’s equity analyst Scott Kessler told Reuters news agency.

Marissa Mayer, who takes up her post at Yahoo on Tuesday, joined Google in 1999 as the company’s first female engineer.

A former computer science student at California’s Stanford University, she was the fledgling company’s 20th employee.

She worked on creating the Google search engine and the company’s widely-recognised home page.

More recently, Marissa Mayer has been in charge of the technology giant’s location and mapping services, which include Google Maps, Earth, Local and Street View.

She has been credited with shaping much of the “look and feel” of Google’s user experience.

Marissa Mayer currently serves on the boards of Walmart, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Ballet and New York City Ballet. She will also join Yahoo’s board.

 

 

Facebook and Yahoo have settled their patent row and formed an advertising alliance.

Yahoo had sued Facebook in March claiming 10 of its intellectual properties had been infringed.

Facebook subsequently bought 750 patents from IBM and counter-sued. It later bought hundreds more patents from Microsoft to strengthen its defense.

 

Facebook and Yahoo have settled their patent row and formed an advertising alliance

Facebook and Yahoo have settled their patent row and formed an advertising alliance

The firms said they would now cross-license innovations from each other and collaborate on future projects.

The AllThingsD blog – which broke the news ahead of the official announcement – reported that Yahoo’s interim chief executive Ross Levinsohn had begun moves to resolve the dispute immediately after taking over from his ousted predecessor.

It added that Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg soon became involved in the resulting negotiations.

A press release quoted Ross Levinsohn as saying: “We are excited to develop a deeper partnership with Facebook, and I’m grateful to Sheryl and her team for working hard together with our team to develop this dynamic agreement… Combining the premium content and reach of Yahoo as the world’s leading digital media company with Facebook provides branded advertisers with unmatched opportunity.”

Sheryl Sandberg added: “Yahoo’s new leaders are driven by a renewed focus on innovation and providing great products to users. Together, we can provide users with engaging social experiences while creating value for marketers.”

The move may help secure Yahoo’s top job for Ross Levinsohn. He had been competing for the role against Hulu’s boss Jason Kilar.

But, the video streaming service announced Jason Kilar had “graciously declined” to be considered for the role shortly after news of the patent agreement leaked.

Although no money appears to have exchanged hands, the row has still proven to be expensive.

Facebook had paid Microsoft $550 million to buy 650 patents and license a further 275. It has not disclosed the cost of its deal with IBM, although the tech site Cnet has suggested the sum was $83 million.