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Some Furious Yahoo Users Close Accounts After Data Breach

September 23, 2016, 6:47 PM UTC

(Reuters) – Many Yahoo users rushed on Friday to close accounts, some of which they had not used in years, after the internet company announced it suffered one of the world’s largest cyber breaches.

After Yahoo disclosed on Thursday that hackers had accessed the encrypted passwords and personal details of more than 500 million accounts in 2014, thousands of users took to social media to express anger that it had taken the company two years to uncover the data breach.

Several users said the hacking was prompting them to close Yahoo email accounts. “We’re probably just going to dump Yahoo altogether,” said Rick Hollister, who owns a private investigation firm in Tallahassee, Florida.

“They should have been more on top of this,” said Hollister, 56. “I’m guessing a lot of people are going to be pissed off because they don’t know what’s out there.”

In a notice sent to customers on Thursday, Yahoo @yahoo (YHOO) urged users to change their passwords and security questions, but some users said it would be easier to give up their accounts altogether because they barely used them.

The company has been losing users, traffic and ad revenue in recent years and over the summer agreed to sell its core internet business for $4.8 billion to Verizon.

Rachel, a 33-year-old from Newcastle, in England, who asked Reuters not to use her last name, said she would be shutting down the Yahoo account she opened in 1999.

Furious that the company had not protected its customers’ data better, she said she thought this could be yet another blow for the email service, which has been overtaken in popularity by Google’s Gmail over the last decade.

“I imagine this will be the end of Yahoo, not that it was thriving to begin with,” she said.

Others said they were scrambling to change log-in information, not just for Yahoo but for multiple internet accounts that used the same passwords.

“I suppose a hacker could make the connection between my Yahoo and Gmail,” said Scott Braun, 47, who created a Yahoo email when he was setting up a shop on online retailer Etsy. “They both use my first and last name.”

Echoing the confusion of many Yahoo users about the ramifications of the data breach, he added: “Not being a hacker, I don’t know what their capabilities are.”

But Cody Littlewood, who owns a start-up incubator in Miami Beach, was one of several users who said that they were not worried about the fallout.

“Both of my NFL fantasy leagues use Yahoo because the only thing that Yahoo does well is the fantasy league. Worst case scenario, they get into my account and drop Jamaal Charles,” he said, making a quip about the star Kansas City running back.

“If this breach was Gmail, that would be a different story because I have my bank accounts, brokerage accounts, Linkedin accounts all connected. But because it is Yahoo, it’s not as serious.”