A report from the Reuters news agency claims that Yahoo scanned millions of customer emails for information – and not because they wanted to. The company was answering a demand by the U.S. government to scan hundreds of millions of mail accounts. They even built a special software program to go through every single customer’s incoming emails.
These messages were scanned for specific pieces of information (what they were looking for has not been revealed) as they came into the user’s inbox. So basically, the government knew what was coming into your inbox before you did.
The company’s only comment was to say that they were a law-abiding company that complies with the laws of the United States. Apparently, engineers at the company built the special tool that pulled out messages with the suspect content as they came in.
Other major email providers like Gmail, Outlook.com, and Apple denied that they’d ever received similar demands.
Apparently, Yahoo’s security team was unaware of the program. They discovered it shortly after it was put it place and thought that the company had been hacked. This is believed to be the reason that Yahoo’s chief security officer resigned back in 2015.
This is unrelated to the “state-sponsored” attack that saw a foreign entity get into 500 million customer accounts back in 2014.
Yahoo has agreed to sell off its email and Internet portal business to Verizon. The company wants to instead concentrate on its share in the Chinese import company Alibaba.