Business Leaders Speak At Fortune Global Forum In San Francisco
Yahoo president and CEO Marissa Mayer speaks during the Fortune Global Forum on November 3, 2015 in San Francisco. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Forecasting Yahoo’s Foggy Fate

Oct 01, 2016

A version of this post titled “Forecasting Yahoo's foggy fate” originally appeared in the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter.

Fog rolled in and coated San Francisco in clouds during the Structure Security conference this week. The weather served as an appropriate meteorological metaphor for the event's theme: dealing with cyber threats—and the fallout from them.

Bob Lord, chief information security officer at Yahoo, was easily the two-day event's highlight when he appeared on stage to chat about the mega security breach that his company is facing. Although he didn't reveal much new information, Lord did reiterate key details about the data heist at Yahoo involving 500 million user accounts. Among them, he said he strongly believed that the attack was state sponsored (despite some speculation to the contrary); it happened in late 2014 (before he took a job there); and no, it was not part of an alleged compromise of user login credentials that news site Motherboard reported on earlier this year.

For more on the Yahoo breach, watch:

That earlier breach claim—which Lord described as "independent," "unrelated," and "unsubstantiated"—did have an effect though. It provoked the investigation that would ultimately uncover the far bigger theft of information, he said. Looking poised and professional, Lord took questions from the audience during his session, including one about a New York Times report that Yahoo had a lackadaisical attitude about security, in general. Lord dismissed the claim, and added that he joined "the Paranoids," as the security team at Yahoo is known, because of its exceptional reputation.

Kudos to Yahoo for letting Lord speak at the event. There’s no telling what the impact of the breach will be on its pending $4.8 billion acquisition by Verizon. With many details still to be disclosed about the attack, we’ll just have to wait, like the Bay Area's residents, for the fog to clear.

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