Yahoo email hack 'was a Russian cascade'

FBI posters carry details of what the agency claims are Russian hackers who penetrated Yahoo, possibly for years.

SAN FRANCISCO - Russian hackers working with Russian spies didn't crack Yahoo security all at once.

Instead, according to an account offered by US officials, they methodically made their way deeper into Yahoo's network over the space of months - maybe years. That allowed them to forge technological skeleton keys that would unlock many Yahoo accounts, steal personal information and then use that data to break into other email services used by their targets, US officials said in announcing charges against four Russians .

That Department of Justice indictment fills in some of the blanks surrounding a massive security breach that occurred in 2014, but Yahoo didn't reveal until six months ago. But it doesn't answer why it took Yahoo so long to grasp its seriousness or why it waited so long to tell its users - or Verizon, which is paying $4.5 billion for Yahoo operations now tainted by the biggest security lapses in internet history.

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