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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Comments (44)

44 responses to “It’s (Past) Time to Close That Yahoo Account”

  1. 7156

    I got a message a couple of months ago in my Gmail telling me that my Yahoo account was hacked. I had forgotten I even had a Yahoo account. I can't remember why I ever had it to begin with.

  2. 3025

    It would be great if Flickr spun off into its own thing. It's hard to say if it could survive that way, but it seems like there is still plenty of user activity to make it viable if an organization focused on it. I've recently come back to Flickr, appreciating features there that aren't in other photo sharing services.

    I agree with others on here that the fantasy football is the other thing that gets a lot of use, at least in circles that I am in. There are alternatives, but Yahoo has built up a nice service for this over the years, including historical information for ongoing leagues.

  3. 442

    I don't use my Yahoo account.  But I don't see a reason to delete it if I don't store anything worth my time or money there.  Plus, I've turned on dual mode authentication, and don't use it's password anywhere else. 

  4. 289

    Time to begin the long painful process of migrating everything to Outlook. 

  5. 809

    I had a lot of stuff on flickr but haven't looked at it much lately...deleted. 1 billion is a lot

  6. 5234

    I made a new pic.  I would've posted it here, but there is no photo storage option.

  7. 2564

    Phasers locked on target. And shredded

  8. 5501

    Sigh.  Guess it's about time I do this.  Just now I created a new Outlook e-mail address for myself, and I'm going to migrate to that.  I've been using for such a long time now because I originally got it with AT&T high speed Internet (and that's a Yahoo account), and even though I switched to Comcast a few months ago, I just didn't see a reason to change.  But I've about had it with these security breaches.

  9. 2586

    So what web based email is more secure?  Outlook, gmail, aol?  I betting none. 

  10. 5240

    One billion people had Yahoo accounts? One out of 7 people on the planet? That is actually impressive.

  11. 5477

    I think the best thing to do, for Flickr users, is to enable 2 step authentication and change your password to a strong password. I think deleting your entire Yahoo account, specifically if you use only Flickr, may be too extreme.

    They should spin Flickr off and someone like either Microsoft or Google, should buy it and keep it going. It is a great photo sharing site, and offers excellent storage (1 TB).

  12. 2059

    I actually have yahoo because ATT has some kind of tie in with Yahoo. My email is an domain but it is accessed through yahoo. Even if I go through it says it is powered by Yahoo.  I have all the emails forwarded to my account and don't go to yahoo mail anymore. I don't think I can close my account down for these reasons. 

  13. 5703

    In reply to Chris_Kez:


    What will we use on the moon?

  14. 5553

    Hillary and Yahoo..two turkeys 

  15. 9310

    One billion accounts?? Their one user sure has been busy.

  16. 5432

    I just noticed I still had my Apple ID using my old yahoo account YIKES! Changed and deleted the account.

  17. 1139

    Closed mine. May have lost access to LinkedIn. Oh well.

  18. 3109

    I agree Paul time to nuke it, i have accepted that now :(, the transition is going to be take some pain but got to do it.

  19. 157

    I've terminated mine, too. I've not used it since I was evaluating job opportunities there 10 years ago. Gosh, I'm glad none of those panned-out!

  20. 3958

    I haven't used my Yahoo account in so long that I've forgotten what my username was.

  21. 328

    Everyone I know uses Yahoo Fantasy Football, so lots of people need to keep their Yahoo login for that (and only that).

  22. 766

    Like you Paul, I did not use it but had it for Flickr at one point in time. As I heard about the breach driving in this morning I said, it is time. So I went and closed my account first thing this morning. My only thought when I heard about this was, Over a billion people use yahoo??? Seriously?? It should not surprise me given people use the email provided to them by their ISP. Really, who does that?? Anyway, it is time for Yahoo to fade into the ether!!

  23. 131

    A long time ago, when Google Apps was free, I convinced nearly everyone I knew to buy their own domain and use Google's platform for email (I even still manage that for most of them, cause I'm a nice dude).  I'd never liked the idea of my primary email address being tied to a single provider (especially an ISP-provided email address, blegh).  I don't foresee needing to move my own email from Google Apps anytime soon, but it's nice knowing I have that option.  It's also nice for 3rd party services like Flickr, for example, because I know I won't potentially be forever abandoning the email address associated with it (as Paul notes above).

    On the Yahoo thing, though, I do have an account that I'll keep active.  I have literally never used it and only created one to do some cross-domain email testing way back when, but it's just one of those nostalgia things.

    • 5234

      In reply to wbhite:

      Do you use the same password on that account that you use on other accounts?

      Do you have personal information tied to that account?


      Calendar information?

      Do people still send you stuff to that address?

      All of that information is up for grabs for hackers.

  24. 1001

    Glad I deleted my account 2 months ago. I also had a feeling it was somehow compromised, had some strange spam mailes in there that were send by my own account apparently. 

  25. 5234

    I'm putting a bulletin out in my store to tell people to junk Yahoo.

  26. 137

    Can't you just change the account password, or is there some caveat?

  27. 6525

    Login fails. Yahoo does not recognise my email address or phone number but outputs an error. I have subscribed a useful mailing list but cannot access my account to change my password or, if I wanted, delete the account. Customer service does not exist. So I can do exactly nothing. Yahoo has never informed me of the hacks.

    • 688

      In reply to RobertJasiek:

      I have the same problem - haven't used it for 10 years and they are less then helpful in allowing me to change credentials so I can kill it.

    • 6525

      Now I could login successfully to my Yahoo groups account. In the login field "email address" of Yahoo groups, instead enter your Yahoo groups user name! On the next login page, enter your Yahoo groups password.
      Meanwhile, Yahoo has sent me an email requesting a password change, so I did after manually typing the Yahoo URL in my browser (a standard security procedure). Related information is available on the Yahoo webpages. Maybe even help is starting to work? It looks as if suddenly Yahoo is starting to improve. 1.5 billion hacked email addresses might have been motivation after all.
  28. 206

    Yep, closed mine about 3 mos. ago when the earlier breaches were discovered.  She's Dead Jim.

  29. 7501

    "Changing email accounts is as painful as changing phone numbers, but anyone still using a Yahoo email account in 2016 … I mean, seriously?"

    Not sure why such bile here. Which email provider you use makes little difference if you use an email client of some kind. So I could see many people using it, especially give hotmail is sooo slow and lots of people have many privacy concerns about gmail. 

    Even with the hacked credentials, if you have a two factor authentication related to say your phone, and you have changed your passwords, then I fail to see how this is any different to any other hack out there. Yes it is a massive number....but I am sure lots of those are dormant/not actively used accounts. 

    I have had more problems with Windows Updates breaking my machine, than I have ever had with Yahoo Mail. I imagine most people feel the same. More hate towards Microsoft than Yahoo.



    • 5234

      In reply to chump2010:

      What do you have to gain by defending Yahoo, anyway?

    • 5234

      In reply to chump2010:

      Yahoo broke their POP clients long ago, and SMTP hasn't worked right since the beginning when they were forced to implement it when Microsoft said they would only support it in Windows 8.0's mail app.

      Yahoo wants you using webmail.  Why?  Because of ads.  And now they prevent you from using ad-blockers, and mail forwarding is being turned off.  They are a hostile anti-user company.

    • 8051

      In reply to chump2010:

      I created a Yahoo account as an alias for having a music artist page on MySpace years ago. I don't use the email, but I have been using that same Yahoo account for fantasy football for the past few years. I'd imagine that Yahoo is more popular for their free fantasy football leagues than they are for anything else at this point.

      I've been using 2 factor authentication for a couple years and have changed my password since this data breach, so I'm not worried despite receiving an email from Yahoo stating that my account was one of the compromised.

  30. 2753

    omg - i delete my old yahoo account now - it's very bad for yahoo, but the security of my digital life has an Primary Level.

  31. 412

    Wow...what am I going to do with my Fantasy Football Trophies I've earned over the years? :( 

  32. 4800

    So how many user accounts does Yahoo have?

  33. 1816

    "nuked it from orbit". I'm going to use that one!

  34. 1775

    I'd love to nuke my account, but I'm heavily invested in Flickr.  Unfortunately, no other service I know of offers the same capacity of free space.