Several days ago, Yahoo revealed that its service has suffered a massive security breach in 2014 during which no less than 500 million user accounts were stolen. To make matters even worse, the tech giant's representatives went on record to state that they firmly believe this hacking was "state-sponsored". While not pointing fingers at any particular government, Yahoo asserted that it's currently working with law enforcement agencies and will get to the bottom of the incident. Several days later, the shock still hasn't completely worn off and numerous debates on the subject are being led all over the US, as well as the rest of the world.
While affected and interested parties are speculating about the foreign government which may be behind this massive hack and are in fear of consequences, several experts have now stated that the reasons behind this incident may not be as clear-cut as they appear to. As NDTV reports, certain people with decades of experience in the cyber security industry are speculating that the 2014 Yahoo attack wasn't motivated by financial gain, at least not primarily. Lance Hoffman from the Washington-based Cyberspace Security and Privacy Institute claims that while these types of attacks can definitely be profitable for hackers willing to dabble into identity theft and similar crimes, state-sponsored hacks are usually primarily conducted for the purposes of gathering intelligence. Hoffman speculates that if Yahoo claims are correct and a foreign government actually funded the attack on the company's services, it may have done so in an attempt to build a database of dossiers on important people in the country or enrich an existing one.
Of course, this is still pure speculation and Yahoo and the US government have yet to prove that the hacking of the tech giant's service was even funded by another country, let alone that it was conducted with motives more convoluted than simple financial gain. However, the circumstances surrounding the incident definitely suggest that a well-funded actor was responsible for the hacking as Yahoo claims that it wasn't until a few weeks ago that the attack was even discovered. In other words, the perpetrators were not only equipped to conduct such a high-profile attack but even had the know-how and the resources to mask their traces as the Californian company still doesn't know how exactly the attack was conducted. Whatever the truth ends up being, this latest scandal definitely won't facilitate the upcoming sale of Yahoo's core business.