It’s (Past) Time to Close That Yahoo Account

Posted on December 15, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud with 44 Comments

It's (Past) Time to Close That Yahoo Account

Like many others, I still have an old Yahoo account kicking around, mostly because I’m too lazy to close it. But with the revelation this week that a further one billion accounts were hacked, it’s time to close that Yahoo account.

Actually, it’s past time.

Yahoo revealed earlier this year that over 500 million user accounts had been compromised by electronic attacks dating back to 2014. Why it waited two years to disclose this information, and why it waited until after Verizon had agreed to purchase the company for $4.8 billion, is both mysterious and infuriating.

But things just got worse.

And if you take a bitter glee in the fact that one-time Internet darling Yahoo, which was once worth over $125 billion and actually spurned a $44.6 billion Microsoft takeover in 2007, well then. You’re going to love this one.

Yahoo announced last night that it has discovered that an additional 1 billion user accounts were compromised in electronic attacks dating back to 2013.

Yes, one billion. One billion more, on top of the 500 million it previously disclosed.

“We believe an unauthorized third party, in August 2013, stole data associated with more than one billion user accounts,” the firm revealed. “We have not been able to identify the intrusion associated with this theft. We believe this incident is likely distinct from the incident we disclosed on September 22, 2016.”

This company isn’t worth $4.80, let alone $4.8 billion. But we can all do our part to hasten its overdue demise, by closing our accounts.

Before doing so, make sure this won’t impact anything else. For example, if you’re actually using your Yahoo account for email, God help you, then you’re going to need to migrate the account. I can’t help you with that, per se. Changing email accounts is as painful as changing phone numbers, but anyone still using a Yahoo email account in 2016 … I mean, seriously?

For me, the only potential issue was Flickr. I don’t actually use this service in any meaningful way, but I did use it on and off over the years, and it’s tied to my Yahoo account because Yahoo owns Flickr and I don’t know, I never use it. So I checked to see if I could change that.

I could not. “You must always log in to Flickr with this email address,” account settings states. That’s clear enough, so I looked to make sure there was nothing interesting (or at least non-duplicated) in my account. There wasn’t. So I nuked it from orbit.


(See that little “edit your email address” link? That won’t really work, as “changing your primary email address on Flickr will not change your Yahoo! log in.” Seriously, I just don’t care.

From there, it was time to strike at the heart of this disaster: I visited, selected my account picture in the top right, and chose Account Info. To be fair to Yahoo, fairer than, say, they’ve been to their customers, the service does offer two-factor authentication options (which I enabled back whenever), app passwords, and other security methods. But I’m done.

I didn’t see a way to close the account from this interface, but a quick web search revealed Yahoo’s instructions: You just need to visit the Terminating your Yahoo account” page and follow the steps.


This process could take “approximately 90 days,” Yahoo says, perhaps the best example yet why this supposed Internet company is worthless. Whatever.

Goodbye, Yahoo. Sorry I waited so long.


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