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How Yahoo Hacked 3 Billion User Accounts & Caused A Global Health Hazard

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Yahoo holds the 3 time record for the largest cybersecurity breaches in history and is the first confirmed company to willingly agree to let the U.S. government scan and collect information from all users.

  • Reflect On:

    The potential stress that Yahoo and any big email service causes users by deliberately leaving personal data open to infiltration and why they don't implement encryption.

Before you begin...

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The cyber attacks on Yahoo occurred back in 2013 and 2014, but Yahoo first informed the public of these attacks in 2016 and 2017. All of their 3 billion users were affected, some of whom on two occasions, but in between these announcements, another revelation occurred. Incoming emails from all 3 billion Yahoo users’ accounts were also systematically scanned by the U.S. government in 2015. This time with Yahoo’s cooperation.

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According to the World Health Organization:

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“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

The potential stress Yahoo may have caused any number of their 3 billion users around the world, as well as any number of non-Yahoo users who sent emails to Yahoo users, makes them a global public health hazard, but the mainstream narrative focused on Verizon consequently paying less to buy Yahoo, and CEO Marissa Mayer having to forfeit her annual bonus and stock award.

Yahoo announces the largest user data breach in history

Sept 2016 and Yahoo announced that “at least 500 million user accounts” had been hacked in 2014. Having retrieved names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, passwords and security questions and answers, it was hailed by the media as one of the largest cybersecurity breaches of all time. The company said they believed a “state-sponsored actor” was behind the data breach, meaning an individual acting on behalf of a foreign government.

Yahoo collaborates with U.S. government to spy on user emails

October 2016 and Reuters revealed that Yahoo users once again were having their emails accessed without their knowledge. This time by the U.S. government. The FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) approached Yahoo to build a custom software program to read all of their users’ incoming emails. The program was in operation by May 2015 and was designed to search for a specific string or digital ‘signature’. This could be a phrase in an email or an attachment. When that ‘signature’ was found, that email or attachment was then copied and sent to the relevant U.S. intelligence agency server.

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The program spied on every person who emailed a Yahoo! Mail account, implying every Yahoo! Mail user is guilty and violating the privacy of people around the world. Both Reuters and The New York Times stated that this is the first known case of a U.S. internet company agreeing to the systemic scanning of all arriving messages and real-time data collection at an intelligence agency’s request, as well as the first known time that a new program was created to do so.

Yahoo did not need to cooperate

The NSA and FBI used FISA to justify the global top-secret mass surveillance programs tracking foreign nationals and U.S. citizens revealed by Edward Snowdon in 2013; yet these programs remain unconstitutional – which means illegal. FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, can allow the secret national security court to issue an edict, but a specific target should be identified, and section 702 of FISA exclusively applies to agents of a foreign power located outside the USA.

“This is another example of how the government is pushing secretly novel or innovative interpretations of surveillance law” to conduct wiretapping in broader ways than the public realize, said Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society.

“It is deeply disappointing that Yahoo declined to challenge this sweeping surveillance order, because customers are counting on technology companies to stand up to novel spying demands in court” Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

Yahoo announces the (2nd) largest user data breach in history

Two months later, in December 2016, Yahoo announced they had discovered another major cyberattack had taken place in 2013. The Guardian explained that this second “state-sponsored” attack had affected more than 1 billion user accounts, making this one the “biggest data breach in history.”

Yahoo announces the (3rd) largest user data breach in history

October 2017 and Yahoo revealed that every one of their 3 billion accounts had been affected by the 2013 data theft, making this new number “the largest breach in history.”

This means that every Yahoo user’s account information was retrieved, and that means all of their services could have been accessed, including Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Groups, Flickr and Tumblr.

Although Yahoo claims neither of these attacks breached the system where user payment card and bank account details are stored, any private details found in every Yahoo user’s personal emails could have been collected.

“For years I have been urging friends and family to migrate off of Yahoo email, mainly because I watched for years as the company appeared to fall far behind its peers in blocking spam and other email-based attacks” states security researcher Brian Krebs.

Yahoo is responsible for jeopardizing their own users’ safety

March 2017 and Yahoo! disclosed the results of an internal investigation which found that CEO Marissa Mayer had reacted too slowly, other executives had “failed to act sufficiently” and the companies legal department had also been negligent. It was revealed that the company’s security team had identified that a hacker had accessed at least 500 million user accounts back in 2014, yet Yahoo chose to notify only 26 users.

In October 2017, when Yahoo announced that all 3 billion of their users were hacked in 2013, the company said they will begin alerting accounts. They also stated that “in connection with Yahoo’s December 2016 announcement of the August 2013 theft, Yahoo took action to protect all accounts.” The action that they took was to ask 1 billion of 3 billion affected users to change their passwords. This does not protect users from being hacked. All users had passwords before.

The Takeaway

The revelation that all 3 billion Yahoo users had been hacked by an alleged “state-sponsor actor” caused media outrage, two FBI investigations, and some 43 consumer class-action lawsuits against the company. The revelation that all 3 billion Yahoo users’ emails have also been unknowingly scanned systemically by the U.S. government warrants a similar reaction.

Yahoo’s cooperation was not necessary. The company could have contested the request to create a custom software program to spy on their own customers in court. Instead, Yahoo users were not only spied on in 2013 and 2014, but again in 2015, and all of their users were not informed until 2017, leaving the safety of millions then billions of users at jeopardy.

In 2018, Yahoo still state in their Privacy Policy that “Once you register with Yahoo and sign in to our services, you are no longer anonymous.” The only way any big email service like Yahoo! Mail, Gmail or Apple Mail can successfully protect your personal data and online privacy as an internet user is by encryption as standard.

The only reason big companies do not want to do this is because they want to have access to your personal information. The solution is simple. Choose a different narrative to the ongoing infiltration of your personal and private information.

Cybersecurity is available to everyone, and it starts with a simple-to-use encrypted email account elsewhere, such as Tutanota or Protonmail.

Article by Wake Up World Education founder, Robito Chatwin.

Sign up for the latest from Wake Up World Education, an academic, science-supported, independent online educational platform that provides free Personal & Global Wellness Training.

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Attention Readers: We’ve Moved Our Journalism To The Pulse

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CE Staff Writer 1 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

A large portion of our journalism that you’re used to seeing on our Collective Evolution platform has now moved over to The Pulse. We will be publishing most of our news articles there, while Collective Evolution focuses more on personal development.

You can follow The Pulse on Telegram, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  

We’ve done this for a number of reasons, mainly due to the struggles we’ve had with regards to extreme censorship at Collective Evolution. We hope you join us over at The Pulse in our quest to keep doing what we do!

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Abductions & Car Vandalism – Startling Australian UFO Report Unclassified

Gautam Peddada

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

An uncovered Australian report performed by their Department of Defence. “Scientific Intelligence — General — Unidentified Flying Objects” is trending again. Those who have done extensive research on UFOs will find the Australian version of disclosure to be far more intellectually honest than the American version. Albeit it was conducted decades ago.

According to ex-US intelligence official Luis Elizondo, the Defense Department’s Inspector General is presently conducting three reviews. The inquiries vary from the Department of Defense’s handling of UFO claims to Elizondo’s alleged whistleblower retribution. The open IG cases are crucial to Australia’s report because they establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that the US Department of Defense is being dishonest and shady when it comes to the UFO subject. For decades, Australia has been a loyal friend of the United States. Within Australia’s boundaries, they share a military installation (Pine Gap). When a close defense ally’s intelligence agencies determined that the US was not being intellectually honest in its approach, perhaps it is reasonable to conclude that there is more to the tale than the 144 incidents studied since 2004 by the UAPTF.

The CIA became alarmed at the overloading of military communications during the mass sightings of 1952 and considered the possibility that the USSR may take advantage of such a situation.

Australian UFO study.

According to the summary, OSI, acting through the Robertson-Panel, encouraged the USAF to use Project Blue Book to publicly “debunk” UFOs. In a tragic twist of fate, when Australian authorities sought explanations from the US Air Force, the allegation was debunked. The authors of the study were depicted as conspiratorial and even crazy by the US Air Force. Ross Coulthart reported this, and it may be heard in a recent Project Unity interview. Courthart is an award-winning investigative journalist who is drawn to forbidden subjects. He also stated on the same podcast that a senior US Navy official identified as Nat Kobitz told him that the US had been in the midst of reverse-engineering numerous non-human craft. According to his obituary, Mr. Kobitz was a former Director of Research and Development at Naval Sea Systems Command.

Continue reading the entire article at The Pulse. 

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PGA Tour To End COVID Testing For Both Vaccinated & Non-Vaccinated Players

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CE Staff Writer 4 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The PGA Tour has announced that it will stop testing players every week, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.

  • Reflect On:

    Are PCR tests appropriate to identify infectious people? Should people who are healthy and not sick be tested at all, anywhere?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The picture you see above is of John Rahm, a professional golfer on the PGA tour being carted off the golf course after tournament officials told him he had COVID. He was healthy and had no symptoms, yet was forced to withdraw from the tournament. He was told in front of the camera’s, and a big scene was made out of the event. You would think something like that, especially when you are a big time sports figure, would be done behind closed doors with some privacy.

Earlier on in June a spokesperson for the PGA Tour said that more than 50 percent of players on the PGA tour have been vaccinated. Although it seems that the majority of players on the tour will be fully vaccinated judging by this statement, it does leave a fairly large minority who won’t be, and that’s something we’re seeing across the globe as COVID vaccine hesitancy remains high for multiple reasons.

We are pleased to announce, after consultation with PGA Tour medical advisors, that due to the high rate of vaccination among all constituents on the PGA Tour, as well as other positively trending factors across the country, testing for COVID-19 will no longer be required as a condition of competition beginning with the 3M Open. – PGA tour Senior VP Tyler Dennis

The tour recently announced that the testing of players every week will stop starting in July for both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. This was an unexpected announcement given the fact that, at least it seems in some countries, vaccinated individuals will enjoy previous rights and freedoms that everyone did before the pandemic. Travelling without need to quarantine and possibly in the future not having to be tested could be a few of those privileges. Others may include attending concerts, sporting events, or perhaps even keeping their job depending on whether or not their employer deems it to be mandatory, if that’s even legally possible. We will see what happens.

Luckily for professional golfers, regardless of their vaccination status they won’t have to worry about testing positive for COVID, especially if they’re not sick. This is the appropriate move by the PGA tour, who is represented by their players and it’s a move that the players themselves may have had a say in. It’s important because PCR tests are not designed nor are they appropriate for identifying infectious people. A number of scientists have been emphasizing this since the beginning of the pandemic. More recently, a letter to the editor published in the Journal of infection explain why more than half of al “positive” PCR tests are likely to have been people who are not infectious, otherwise known as “false positives.”

This is why the Swedish Public Health agency has a notice on their website explaining how and why polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are not useful for determining if someone is infected with COVID or if someone can transmit it to others, and it’s better to use someone who is actually showing symptoms as a judgement call of whether or not they could be infected or free from infection.

PCR tests using a high cycle threshold are extremely sensitive. An article published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that among positive PCR samples with a cycle count over 35, only 3 percent of the samples showed viral replication. This can be interpreted as, if someone tests positive via PCR when a Ct of 35 or higher is used, the probability that said person is actually infected is less than 3%, and the probability that said result is a false positive is 97 percent. This begs the question, why has Manitoba, Canada, for example, using cycle thresholds of up to 45 to identify “positive” people?

When it comes to golf, the fact that spread occurring in an outdoor setting is highly unlikely could have been a factor, but it’s also important to mention that asymptomatic spread within one’s own household is also considerably rare. It really makes you wonder what’s going on here, doesn’t it?

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If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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